New York, NY (PRWEB) September 19, 2012
According to a recent NPR report, the Internet makes it easy for consumers to locate the best, most popular restaurants and eating establishments in their area. It is a simple matter of conducting an online search, or else consulting a review site, like Yelp.com. These tools make it easy for the consumer to quickly and conveniently locate ratings and recommendations of local eateries. As such, online reviews hold tremendous sway over consumer opinion—a decidedly mixed blessing, as NPR notes that there exists a “powerful incentive” for businesses to cheat. Indeed, the article notes that the latest trend among restaurants and other businesses is to write and publish fake reviews, artificially inflating their own online reputation via unscrupulous methods. This trend has won the attention of Cliff Stein, Reputation Changer’s Chief Executive Officer.
Reputation Changer is an industry-leading reputation defense company; it has responded to the NPR story with a new statement to the press, in which Stein explains just how dangerous online reviews can be, both to consumers as well as to business owners. “This trend toward fake online reviews is illuminating,” says Stein, in his new press statement. “It goes a long way toward showing just how influential these online review sites, such as Yelp, really are. Businesses would not waste time and money penning fake reviews if these reviews did not carry tremendous influence among consumers.”
Stein ultimately agrees with NPR’s cautions to consumers. “Dishonest reviews obviously do not do the consumer any favors,” he explains. “You may find an online review that raves about a restaurant, then go there and find a building that’s ratty and unclean, service that is lacking, and food that simply does not taste very good. In cases like that, you have to wonder whether that positive review you read was real, or whether the company planted it to entice consumers to visit and spend money.”
The ramifications of fake online reviews are not just for consumers, however. According to Cliff Stein, Reputation Changer has dealt with many businesses that have been burned by fake reviews. “Recently, there has been a lot of press for fake, positive reviews,” he explains. “However, the inverse is also true. Some businesses find their reputations besieged by false reviews that demean and defame.” Stein says that fake reviews that run down a restaurant or business, rather than build it up, are just as common as fake positive reviews.
He also says that no restaurant or business is immune to these fake, disparaging reviews. “Maybe the fake review is planted by a disgruntled employee, or even an ex-employee who wants some kind of revenge,” Stein explains. “Maybe it comes from a business rival. Maybe it comes from a consumer who is simply unreasonable and cannot be pleased. The point is, no business is totally safe from damaging fake reviews.”
The damage done by these reviews can be severe. “Given how influential online reviews are, it goes without saying that even a single bad one can have big consequences,” says Stein. “Those consequences might include lost customers and lost sales, to say nothing of an increase in refund requests.”
According to Cliff Stein, Reputation Changer offers services that can help restaurants and other businesses protect themselves from bad reviews. “We cannot prevent people from writing bad reviews, but we can help to ensure that they do virtually no damage,” he explains. “We can help businesses insulate themselves against bad reviews, using positive, brand-enhancing content to protect them and ultimately help them to shine in the eyes of consumers.”
Cliff Stein is the Chief Executive Officer of Reputation Changer, widely considered to be the #1 reputation monitoring and management agency in the world. Reputation Changer was founded in 2009 by an elite team of online marketing professionals, all of them united by a vision for helping individuals and companies protect themselves against online defamation. The company has provided reputation management services for private citizens and public figures, including politicians; Reputation Changer also offers extensive services to Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike.