New York, New York (PRWEB) April 18, 2013
Far from a novelty or a passing fad, the online review site has proven to be an enduring fixture on the digital landscape, and a permanent part of the consumer experience—something that Reputation Changer says is a mixed blessing for consumers and for businesses alike. While online reviews can prove helpful for consumers seeking to make informed purchasing decisions, the preponderance of false information that plagues many review sites makes them unreliable and potentially misleading. At the same time, businesses can benefit from positive online notices, but negative reviews can have crippling effects on enterprises of all kinds. Reputation Changer has released a new statement to the press, in which it reviews the online review sites and reveals some of their secrets.
“Reputation Changer reviews all of the review sites, and what we have found is that they are potent combinations of potential advantages and potential disadvantages, especially for business owners,” comments Michael Zammuto, President of ReputationChanger.com. “This is well-known to today’s business professionals—that a positive review can bring more leads into the sales funnel even as a single negative review can chase away clients and lead to diminished sales. Consumers trust these online review sites, and that’s what makes them so powerful.”
In fact, Zammuto says that the power and influence of online review sites are directly linked to a business’ revenues. “Studies have revealed that an enterprise’s score on Yelp or on TripAdvisor is directly related to its profits,” he affirms. “For example, a Harvard study found that a single star on Yelp.com translates to somewhere between 5 and 10 percent revenue. Likewise, studies have revealed that star ratings on travel sites directly impact a hotel’s bookings.”
As online review sites grow more common—and as specialized sites, such as physician and lawyer rating sites, become more prevalent—more and more consumers are coming to trust them for information. According to Zammuto, this is in spite of the fact that the epidemic of fake, paid online reviews rages on. “Many companies continue to pay for fake online reviews, so it is not unreasonable to suggest that these online review sites are limited in their helpfulness.” In fact, Zammuto says the trend toward fake online reviews is nothing new. “This is not widely known, but in its earliest days, Yelp.com actually paid people to pen reviews, seeking to get the ball rolling, so to speak.”
The trend toward fake reviews means that businesses of all kinds are in danger, Zammuto warns. “Fake reviews can be used as attacks against a rival company, or they can come from unhappy, disgruntled employees or former employees,” he offers. Meanwhile, many online review sites, including Yelp.com actively discourage business owners to defend themselves by disputing negative reviews—but Zammuto says this approach simply does not work.
“By publically disputing a review, companies ultimately draw more attention to that piece of negative content, which is really the last thing they want to do,” he says. “Meanwhile, disputing a review is unlikely to do much good, as most online reviewers are not going to prove too willing to remove negative reviews. The online review sites themselves, meanwhile, will never take down nasty reviews, no matter how fallacious or how defamatory.”
For this reason, Reputation Changer developed its propriety review moderation technology, which Zammuto says provides businesses with an avenue for controlling their own online notices. “The review widget technology that we’ve developed lets businesses highlight positive reviews, interact with meaningful criticisms, and dismiss reviews that are simply nasty or defamatory,” he explains.
The bottom line for Zammuto is that businesses of all kinds have little choice but to take online reviews seriously. “At Reputation Changer reviews are known to make or break businesses, which is why it is important for companies to monitor their review site profiles regularly, and also to educate themselves on exactly how these review portals work,” Zammuto concludes.
ReputationChanger.com was launched in 2009 by a group of direct response marketing professionals, united behind a singular vision for providing brands and people with greater control over their online reputations. The firm remains true to that vision, but has expanded dramatically in recent years; it now operates multiple offices throughout the company and employees a large team of committed ORM professionals, among them SEO gurus, content marketing aces, and social media specialists. The agency is led by President Michael Zammuto, and is widely praised as the #1 firm of its kind. The agency’s client list encompasses businesses and individuals alike, including internationally-recognized businesses, political figures, celebrities, small business start-ups, and private citizens.