New York, New York (PRWEB) July 12, 2012
By now it is widely known that negative online reviews come with severe consequences, particularly for small business owners. If a company’s online reputation is defined by the presence of bad reviews, or even a single piece of negative publicity, it can cause immediate damage, and the company can lose clients and ultimately experience sharp declines in sales. According to a recent Fox News report, however, the negative effects of online reviews do not end there. The report claims that many restaurant patrons have threatened restaurant owners with unfavorable reviews, requesting discounts or payoffs in exchange for their online silence. This report has won the attention of industry-leading reputation management firm, ReputationChanger.com.
“It amounts to an act of online extortion,” says ReputationChanger.com CEO Cliff Stein, in a new statement to the press. “This is not the first time we have heard of this, either, though it seems like the trend is only gaining momentum. Consumers are well aware of how damaging a negative online review can be—and how much business or restaurant owners wish to avoid them. Some of the more duplicitous consumers in our midst are leveraging that power for handouts. Basically, they’re blackmailing business owners, using review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to help them.”
Stein says that some small business or restaurant owners have attempted to take legal action against these online review sites, but, as the Fox report makes clear, this is typically an uphill battle, and one that most business owners do not win. “[Victims] of cyber-extortion can't blame the websites,” notes the Fox report. “Yelp, Angie's List, and other review sites are not legally responsible for what their users do.”
Restaurant and business owners do have the option of taking legal action against the individuals who post bad reviews, but this requires the careful tracking and collection of these defamatory posts. In addition, Stein says that it can be a long and rigorous process, and one that is not guaranteed to work. “Suing these negative review writers is tempting, but seldom is it effective,” Stein notes.
The alternative, for the owners of restaurants or other small businesses, is to enlist the service of a professional reputation management firm, such as ReputationChanger.com. “Our company is passionate about helping small business owners take control of how their brand is presented on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, to say nothing of these online review sites,” offers Stein. “We know that unreasonable or defamatory reviews have huge consequences for business owners of all kinds, and so we seek to provide solutions.”
Stein makes it clear that ReputationChanger.com cannot erase or undo negative reviews once they are posted. “There is no way to keep people from posting negative reviews, but we can minimize the effect of those reviews by ensuring that not many people ever see them,” he continues. Stein notes that more than 90 percent of online search engine users never click beyond the first page of search results. A negative review on page one is ruinous for business owners; but a negative review on the third or fourth page is “virtually non-existent.”
The ReputationChanger.com CEO refers to his company’s strategy as “review suppression.” “It’s what we do, all day and every day, for so many business clients,” says Stein. “We effectively bury those negative Yelp or Angie’s List reviews under a pile of positive content. When someone conducts a search for the brand, what they see is the positive stuff. The negative reviews are pushed off of page one.”
Stein concludes by noting that ReputationChanger.com has offered its review suppression services to small businesses and Fortune 500 brands alike. “Bad reviews hurt businesses of all kinds,” he observes, “but ReputationChanger.com allows business owners to fight back.”
Founded in 2009 by an elite team of online marketing, search engine optimization, and sales experts, ReputationChanger.com is a pioneering company within the field of online reputation management. The company’s services include review suppression, brand enhancement, and basic privacy protection services, all designed to provide clients with control over how they are portrayed on the Internet. ReputationChanger.com is known for its innovative use of the latest technology, as well as its savvy implementation of the most effective content development strategies. The company works around the clock to provide extensive reputation repair strategies to its clients, which have included a variety of small and large businesses, as well as individuals and public officials.