Despite your company’s best efforts to maintain a positive online reputation, you may still receive negative reviews. Fortunately, it is possible to remediate these complaints.
Today, billions of individuals across the world have access to search engines. Before doing business, potential consumers are more likely than ever to research your company. The posted results can either secure customers or scare them away. Taking this into account, it is important that your business take steps to maintain a positive online reputation. This means monitoring review sites, including those such as Ripoff Report.
What is Ripoff Report?
Ripoff Report is a website that allows consumers to write and read reviews posted by other consumers. According to its page, there have been over 2 million reports filed and over 8 billion views. With such a reportedly wide audience, it could be quite detrimental to your business if a negative report is filed.
The Ripoff Report site states, however, that, “[w]hile we encourage and even require authors to only file truthful reports, Ripoff Report does not guarantee that all reports are authentic or accurate.” That being said, it is possible that a disgruntled customer, spurned former employee, or Internet troll could post a misleading, or even blatantly false, statement. The site encourages readers to educate themselves and fully examine all other information regarding a business before coming to a conclusion, but it is fair to say that some viewers will base their decision to patronize your business on just one bad review. In fact, a recent study has found that almost 90% of individuals think online reviews are as trustworthy as personal recommendations.
If your company has negative reviews posted on Ripoff Report, there are several avenues you can take to remediate the bad press and keep your positive online reputation intact.
Responding to Ripoff Report Reviews
On their site, Ripoff Report offers a few options for businesses that believe their reviews to be false or misleading. These options include:
- Submitting a Rebuttal: Your company can respond to specific complaints that have been posted on Ripoff Report. Remember to keep your response short and professional, as others can view your statements. Responding in an unprofessional manner will only further detriment your reputation. Try offering to meet with the offended party in person, as this will lend you credibility and avoid any further public complaints. Reviewers have the ability to update their posts, so if the reviewer agrees to meet, remain courteous, open, and sympathetic.
- VIP Arbitration Program: Through this program, your business can file a formal statement with an independent arbiter that has been contracted to mediate Ripoff Report claims. In the statement, you should address any falsehoods or provide proof that the review was written by someone other than an actual consumer. The reviewer may file a response, to which you have the right to reply. The filing fee for this process is approximately $2,000.00. If the arbiter finds in your favor, Ripoff Reports will not remove the post but will make a note of the decision at the top of the review. Additionally, false statements will be redacted.
- Corporate Advocacy Program: This program provides businesses with several proactive and reactive services. The site states that it will help manage existing reviews and may be able to prevent some negative reports from being posted. They offer these services, in part, to optimize your search engine results and keep your Google listings positive. The site states that fees are based upon a number of factors, which will be determined on an individual basis.
What Else Can I Do to Improve My Company’s Reviews
You are always free to contact an attorney, whether or not the above-listed options satisfy your company’s needs. It may be helpful to find a lawyer who has experience dealing with these types of cases. While only an attorney can inform you of your legal rights, he or she could offer some advice on how to resolve complaints written on Ripoff Report.
You may also hire an independent online reputation management company to provide such services as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other public relations assistance. Knowing your options when it comes to protecting your online reputation is essential to the ultimate success of your business. Once you have decided what is best, don’t hesitate in implementing an action plan.