Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management has been receiving a lot of attention lately. Many people are calling it the new digital extortion. I’ll explain…
As the internet continues to grow, so will the number of people who post negative reviews about your business. I I’ve been researching Online Reputation Management for the last few months. So I thought I would outline some key factors to help you get an idea of what to expect if your business gets attacked by bad reviews.
How it works
Websites like www.ripoffreport.com, typically rank extremely well in the search engines. These complaint sites are in place to specifically expose companies or individuals who mistreat their customers, or who are simply unethical in the way they do business. The content that is posted on these review sites is by their members. All of their content is protected by the Communications Decency Act established in 1996.
Social Media Feuds
Let’s not forget about social networks. Social networks can have an upwards of thousands of active people who are more than willing to listen to your story and most likely comment on it. As this is a powerful avenue, the real question is, do you really want to roll the dice in a Social Media war?
Don’t Ignore The Problem
In some cases, it may be in your best interest to ignore an irate customer. When it comes to your Online Reputation, it’s typically best to be proactive. The more time you spend managing reviews, posts or comments about your business, the more likely you are to blanket your negative image from the public eye. If you are successful at convincing angry customers to delete negative reviews, otherwise this can be a long and drawn out process.
Don’t Threaten Or Argue
If your goal is to clean up your bad reputation, anger will not help. Never threaten or argue with an angry customer. This will only force them to post more ugly reviews. Arguing with your customers is never a good look for your business. Nobody wants to do business with an angry person. Even if you are correct, it is to your benefit to use reverse psychology and accept the criticism and admit you may have made an error. Turn things around, ask the customer how you can make them happy. This will cause your readers to take a step back, making you look like the good guy.
Don’t Write Fake Reviews
SEO companies are trying to cash in on ORM by spamming positive reviews that are fake. posts and comments in hopes of eventually blanketing your negative image. Many review sites strongly discourage business owners and SEO companies from writing fake reviews. This is morally and ethically wrong, not to mention some of your readers / customers will see through it. This kind of practice often back-fires, even if you are an expert at writing compelling stories. Review sites have protocols and algorithms designed to sniff out fakes, just like Google.
Don’t Bribe Customers
Offering small incentives to your customers to get them to write reviews may seem like a harmless way to fix the problem. Avoid any kind of tactic that involves bribing customers, friends or family to help you generate positive reviews, posts, or comments. Some may even take offense and could post negative reviews in retaliation when you least expect it, especially now that they know how valuable it is to you.
Don’t Ask For 5 Stars
I don’t know anyone who enjoys feeling manipulated or pressured. Asking customers to review your business because you value their genuine feedback is one thing. Asking your customers to leave a 5 star review is not a good idea. Be careful what you ask for and how you ask for it. It may end up back firing on you.
Customers who will not budge
If you are unable to reason with the disgruntled customer, be prepared to cover up those complaints yourself writing positive reviews. The last thing you could try, contact an SEO company and ask them if there is anything they can do. Some SEO companies have relationships with complaint sites and are able to workout a deal that you would not be able to.
Legal action against companies like Rip Off Report and many others, is complex. They are protected by two federal laws, the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). American Internet Service Providers and these types of review sites, currently have a Teflon coating to protect them. Responsible companies who meet the provisions of these two laws can repel lawsuits based upon claims of copyright infringement, defamation, or related claims. And for that reason, lawyers won’t touch it, nor any lawyer take the job on contingency unless they know it has potential to compensate them for their time.
Consumer Complaint Resources
Ripoff Report has the world’s largest consumer complaint database. Ripoff Report enables the consumer to be armed with the opinions and comments of your fellow consumers. This website will help you exercise your first amendment right to freedom of speech. By using their forum, you will have an opportunity to speak out against businesses, governments, and individuals that have treated you unfairly. Once a report is posted, millions of consumers worldwide will have access to your information.
The most trusted and popular consumer complaints website. Similar to Rip Off Report.
The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states. It was established by the Communications Act in 1934 and operates as an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress.
USA.gov’s objective is to provide a free service, for global communities to easily find U.S. government information that has been posted on the Internet. They offer a powerful search engine and web-accessible government information and services to help you find what you need.
ConsumerAffairs is a consumer news and advocacy organization founded in 1998 by James R. Hood, a veteran Washington, D.C. journalist and public affairs executive. Their website includes consumer news, recall information and tens of thousands of pages of consumer reviews.
Designed to Resolve Consumer Disputes
PeopleClaim.com is a user-supported online dispute resolution system. It’s designed to settle most common disputes quickly and efficiently, without mediation, arbitration, or litigation. We provide a secure, confidential negotiation channel where both sides can review facts, communicate with each other, propose terms, make counteroffers, and reach resolution. Both parties control their side of the process and avoid the uncertain outcome and costs of legal action.
Angry customers will post negative reviews and lengthy complaints. Websites like ripoffreport.com and complaintsboard.com welcome it. There’s not much that can be done to stop them once it’s in their head. The best thing to do is reach out to the customer. Apologize and ask them politely to remove it. If no luck, reach out to the site the complaint was posted on. Tell them your story, ask them about policy and what you need to do. This rarely works because without bad reviews these companies would not exist. If that doesn’t work, hire an SEO company to blanket the complaints with positive ones.