The blog itself is devoted to smearing Cohen. Its five posts attack her as a "skank," "old hag," and the like. While it's debatable whether those posts are libelous -- as opposed to expressions of opinion -- they're certainly mean-spirited. The blog also arguably is a form of cyberbullying, which is increasingly viewed as a problem in its own right.
Clearly, Cohen has cause to wish the site would vanish before any other potential clients view it. Unfortunately for her, filing a lawsuit is probably the worst strategy for accomplishing that.
After the New York Daily Newswrote about the lawsuit, blogs like Gawker and Gothamist, as well as mainstream media outlets, followed suit, generating a storm of publicity. By Tuesday afternoon, the model's name had risen to the top of Google Trends, according to Cnet.
Those events shouldn't be surprising to industry watchers who have seen the "Streisand Effect" in action before. Attempts to harness the legal system to get offensive material removed have often backfired, as the court proceedings themselves generate far more interest in the dispute than if everyone had kept silent.
In her legal papers, Cohen is asking a judge to order Google to reveal the identity of the blogger behind the site. In New York, bloggers are entitled to anonymity unless courts find reason to believe the bloggers have libeled someone. This means that a court won't order the blogger unmasked unless it first finds that the posts allege facts about Cohen, as opposed to opinions.
Technically speaking, the cyberbullying aspect of the posts might be irrelevant to that determination. But surely the judge will be aware that cyberbullying has resulted in tragedy on at least one well-publicized occasion -- the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier, who killed herself after receiving hurtful messages on MySpace. Given the backlash against cyberbullying as a result of that case, it wouldn't be surprising if the judge in this case orders Google to disclose the blogger's identity regardless of whether Cohen will actually be able to prove she was defamed.