David Blank fought nearly two years to save his name.
In 2014, a Nashville attorney who had won financial settlements by making similar claims about other jewelers accused Blank’s business, the Diamond Doctor, of defrauding customers. Blank decided to fight.
“It took almost every ounce of my energy [not to settle],” Blank said. “Every single category of people that I had in my life were harassed.”
In August, a federal judge approved an injunction to dismiss the case. The attacks stopped. And while Blank ended up spending millions of dollars defending himself, none of the money went to his accuser and no court found Diamond Doctor guilty of fraudulent activities, Blank said.
“You have to fight for what you believe in,” he said. “Money comes and goes, but you only have one character and one reputation.”
Now that the situation is behind him, Blank is hoping to help others fight cyberbullying and character attacks. His experience has taught him that small businesses are particularly at-risk from attacks like the ones he faced. He found that even professional reputation management companies could not stop the damage his company endured.
[pullquote-left]“Money comes and goes, but you only have one character and one reputation.” -David Blank[/pullquote-left]
“We’re not talking about a bad Yelp review. We’re talking about something on a much larger scale,” Blank said. “I don’t think people are prepared in any way, shape, or form for something like this.”
He said the issue often comes down to the line between free speech and what he calls “reputation assassination.”
It is often up to the business owners themselves to take proactive steps to combat potential threats, he said. Small things like the structure of the company or securing relevant domain names may pay enormous dividends down the road.
Blank often hosted events for philanthropies such as the Crystal Charity Ball, Côtes du Coeur Gala, and Fashion Stars for a Cause – which benefits the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, a cause especially close to Blank’s heart. His own father, a physician who inspired the Diamond Doctor name, committed suicide.
Charity is something that will continue to hold value in his life.
“I’m looking forward to working with causes that are near and dear to me,” he said.
As for the business, Blank sold the Diamond Doctor to Blackstone Group-owned Diamonds Direct in November 2016. Selling it had been part of his plan since he founded it 13 years before. Despite the stress of the past couple of years, he says he is happy with where he is now.
“I’ve come out stronger,” he said.