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Get Bad Review Out Of Sight


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#1 Ken Fisher

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 07:57 AM

I was talking with a prospect the other day and they came out with this question…

“How can we handle a (fraudulent/competitor) bad review?”

Immediately I didn’t think about how to take it down (they've tried) but merely competing with it by adding competition to the phrase reviews and review with the domain and/or product name.”

Apparently they have been talking to other so-called experts that want a nice chunk of change for it to go away. No surprise there. There are too many snake oil salespeople out there today.

A few basics…

The complaint site - www.ripoffreport.com

The domain name is strong, no question there, but when trying to look at back links for the actual url where the complaint resides, it shows nothing at moz.com. The actual page has no strength whatsoever and was created in October of last year.

Could it be as simple as getting a few bog posts out there so as to move the complaint url under  the page fold? Heck I also see article sites still ranking for non competitive terms as well.



#2 earlpearl

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 08:30 AM

Ripoff report s*cks and google allows them in the index. If its an smb site there should be other directory sites that reference the smb. Link to those sites and pages for the smb name and work to get enough of them ranking in the top 10 that ripoff report falls to the 2nd page of google results.

#3 iamlost

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 09:26 AM

Besides earlpearl's advice above there is only one other practical response.

Note: rebutting the claim on ripoff WILL NOT work.

Note: suing RipOff WILL NOT work.

Note: suing Google or any other search engine WILL NOT work.


 

Assuming that the claim made in ripoff is false:

* go to the lowest possible court (to keep costs down) WITH competent qualified lawyer and sue the ORIGINAL author, the person who filed the false claim on ripoff.

...if you fail to make your case you are out of pocket. Go earlpearl's suggested route.

...if you make your case:

* in the unlikely event that person has assets and you win you may get some amount of reimbursement.

* get the court's order that the report is false and defamatory (you probably need both findings).

* have your lawyer send it to Google.

While this does NOT remove the report from RipOff (almost nothing does) it will remove it from Google. And most other SEs you send it to.



#4 earlpearl

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 10:44 AM

Its been several years since I had to deal with ripoff report.  I believe bing banned it from its index and google did not.  They are obviously still around.  I researched it a lot at that time.  As Iamlost commented, do not respond to the ripoff report attack.  It seemed to boost rankings for name searches for the smb.

 

The attacks in ripoff report are often anonymous or with faked ID's.  I haven't looked into it recently.  of course if you cannot identify the attacker you can't sue them.

 

Reviews are very tricky.  We have several smb's.  Some work extremely well.  Our work is usually well above expectations and we get terrific reviews.  Even in those smb's we do have issues.  Frankly we work to solve every problem.  that way we don't get natural bad reviews.  Even in the smb's that work well problems arise.   By staying on top of that we avoid natural negative reviews.

 

Its tough to kill off attack reviews from competitors.  I've been following them on the web.  Its usually hard to have the proof that a competitor wrote or sponsored the bad review.  There are infinitely more cases where you see complaints about attack reviews without having the hard proof...then the far fewer exceptions when people can nail the attack reviewers who are planting competitive negative reviews.

 

Mostly the review sites will not take them down.  One of our industries with more than one smb suffered a rash of attack reviews several years ago, including ripoff report.   We know who did it.  But we couldn't pin it to them.

 

We had a ripoff report attack in one case.   We simply linked to all the online directory sites with our name and pushed the ripoff report down.  Ultimately it dropped further and further out of site in google's rankings.   The same b*st*rds put attack reviews in 3 sites;  yelp, google, and yahoo.  Yahoo actually pulled the review after going back and forth with them many times.  Yelp took the same evidence and did nothing.  They s*ck.  Google wouldn't even respond to us at the time.

 

We wrote responses in yelp and google identifying the reviews as planted by a competitor and addressed the review point that was completely false.  Meanwhile we built up a corpus of positive reviews by asking customers who liked our services for reviews.   

 

Yelp is tricky though.  If you have a restaurant, bar, or a type of business that attracts a lot of yelpers its one thing.  I doubt that floor installers, by example, get tons of yelp reviews.  

 

Yelp will filter out reviews by people who aren't yelpers in yelp's own eyes.  To be a yelper you need to write a lot of reviews, friend some yelpers, add pictures and tips, download the yelp app on a mobile device, etc.   Then your yelp reviews will stick.  But if you stop yelping after a while the reviews might move to "filtered".   So if you ask people to yelp for you, if they are going to write a nice review, you also have to find out if they are active yelpers.  If not..its a waste.

 

Mostly the review sites won't take down reviews you suspect of being planted by competitors.  Its tough, but it is the internet way...these days.

 

W/ Ripoff report, assuming you can't identify the spamming competitive attacker, the best thing to do, as of several years ago, was not to respond and to built positive sites for your business name that sit above the ripoff review attack site in the rankings.



#5 earlpearl

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 11:08 AM

One other update.   The shelf life for google high rankings for a ripoff report attack might be very very short these days.  I checked on a rip off report attack on an smb from last fall.   Tried to find it with a couple of different name searches.   It was buried in the rankings.   The business that was addressed never responded.  

 

Also checked Bing.  RReport is in the bing index.  I didn't bother with detailed searches for smb's by name in bing...but as of several years ago...bing tended to bury those reports. 



#6 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:04 PM

Don't have time to elaborate on this (I'm painting some cabinets), but I just read this a couple days ago:

 

http://searchenginew...egative-Reviews

 

RipoffReport, which is one of the most popular review sites for posting customer complaints, has recently launched a program called "Ripoff Report Verified," that acts like an insurance policy that protects you from negative reviews being posted.

The new program will give businesses a chance to resolve disputes in 14 days before negative reviews are posted for $89 a month. I recently spoke to a Ripoff Report sales rep on the phone and had further email correspondence to get more details on the program.

 

Too late to help whoever was asking the question, but it's worth knowing about anyway. I have no comment on what I think of the news. :)



#7 earlpearl

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 12:15 PM

Don't have time to elaborate on this (I'm painting some cabinets), but I just read this a couple days ago:

 

http://searchenginew...egative-Reviews

 

 

Too late to help whoever was asking the question, but it's worth knowing about anyway. I have no comment on what I think of the news. :)

Cr@p.   I have a hard time believing this is anything but a form of blackmail.  One of the astounding things with the one ripoffreport attack we suffered from was that within minutes or hours of the posting of the ripoff report attack on our site the business took a call from an unidentified source telling us if we paid them they could get the attack review removed from the site.  We didn't even know the attack had been posted.  It may not have even been showing in google's rankings as I recall as the call was placed so fast after the report was made.    Ripoffreport has an incredibly dirty reputation.



#8 iamlost

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 04:04 PM

Yup. Pay a thousand a year to stay 'safe' from bad things happening... Street gangs call it 'insurance', the law - in those circumstances - calls it extortion.



#9 earlpearl

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 04:52 PM

Yup. Pay a thousand a year to stay 'safe' from bad things happening... Street gangs call it 'insurance', the law - in those circumstances - calls it extortion.

 

 

LOL  "insurance/extortion   when I was growing up my dad was a partner in this little business in a location with a heavy mafia influence.   We used to go to this Italian restaurant in the area.  All these guys who were customers at the restaurant knew him.  I couldn't figure it out.  They weren't his friends or relatives.   

 

My dad told me they were part of the local "taxing authority".

 

the article Donna referenced is so "nice" and analytical.   Its a really cr@ppy blackmail scheme imho.



#10 clandestino

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 05:21 PM

1) Hiring a lawyer will cost 10's of thousands of dollars and they most likely won't be successful.  The first amendment gets in the way and people can post their "opinions."  Some attorneys will use a form of extortion to force them to back down -- an attorney that does this risks losing their license, though, and won't do it for small change.

2) It's virtually impossbile to outrank Ripoff Reports.  Reputation management services will tell you that they can, B###S$$$.

3) You can pay Ripoff Report to take it down.  In my opinion, they are as dirty as the day is long as I have read many posts and listened to many videos on their tactics.  I think one of the news shows even did an expose' on the owner, not good.

4)earlpearl's idea is one of the best I've heard.  It will take some time to execute, though, and depending on the keywords they used (you can optimize the rip off report with specific keywords) you may be able to get some search results above it.

 

In my opinion, get some good quality blog posts and local profiles going with positive information about the company.    Also, build some pages on the company's site that are optimized for the keywords they are using with positive information about the company.  Same with video.   If you do a hack job, it will just support the searchers fears that what's in that review is true.  Have real companies post reviews on g#####, Bing and CitySearch (CitySearch gets picked up by large data providers and will cover a lot of territory).  If the company serves a very local (hyper-local) audience, advertisements and entries in hyper-local blogs, directories and websites will carry a lot more weight with the users.

 

What It Comes Down To

 

People expect to see negative reviews.  They know there are crazy people out there that can't be satisified no matter what.  After they see a negative review, though, they look for confirmation.  If what they see is people saying great things about the company 80% of the time, they'll right off the negative review as a nut job.

 

Notes

 

Key phrases that are commonly used to target a merchant with bad reviews -- (Company Name) scam, (Company Name) spam, (Company Name) review, (Company Name) rip-off, (Company Name) rip off.

 

Search for these on g##### to see how Bruce Clay created pages that would rank and block out bad reviews/block attempts to besmurch his reputation.  He's done it very professionally and provides useful information to the user.  Note how g##### replaces "fraud" with "scam" since g##### will return synonyms. --

 

Bruce Clay scam

Bruce Clay spam

Bruce Clay review

Bruce Clay rip-off

Bruce Clay rip off

 

You'll find pages of search results using the above search terms related to Bruce Clay -- that's no accident.  These will give you good ideas as to what can get ranked.

 

I see he got beat up a bit on the search term "Bruce Clay review."  The association with Top SEO's hurt him and his move to offer Local Paid Inclusion that turned out not to be true, woops -- I'll let you figure that one out, really weird.  

 

This is all new since the last time I looked.  Overall, though, Bruce has done a good job of preventative reputation management.

 

Why not get ahead of the curve, promote your business in a positive light and fill the search results to the point that your competitors won't even try to smear you?


Edited by chuckfinley, 22 July 2013 - 05:27 PM.
sp


#11 Ken Fisher

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 05:31 PM

Nice discussion. Yea, there is so much BS going on in review sites. I've also heard the word extortion with Yelp.

 

Perhaps I am being personalized and geo targeted because I live only 45 miles away from this business. Maybe you guys can check your results.

 

http://i329.photobuc...togo-review.png

 

I also checked with comcast.net as they use Gorg search and the ripoff report page doesn't appear. Maybe Comcast has filtered them completely?

 

 

 

 



#12 clandestino

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 05:36 PM

Just saw this when I read Donna's article from SEW.



#13 glyn

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 06:13 AM

This is called Pizzo whichever way you dice it

http://en.wikipedia....zzo_(extortion)



#14 TheAlex

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 03:33 PM

Do the company in question have accounts on profile sites where they control the content? The likes of LinkedIn and about.me are pretty powerful sites. If it's not against their terms you could try adding a couple of positive reviews within the profiles if you need to get the 'review' keyword in, or think of a more creative way. There are a few business specific sites I've seen recommended but I can't think of the names off the top of my head - 'business card' or something like that might be one of them, I'm sure one is named after a colour. I can find out if you're interested. I've noticed Flickr photos can rank quite well, so if the company has an interesting building or product, or someone can take an interesting photo where it'd be appropriate to put the company name as part of the photo's title, that could work. You could also use Flickr for staff profile photos, all sorts of things.



#15 earlpearl

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 05:18 PM

I agree with Alex.  Forgetting all the other comments, and even taking into consideration that possibly there is an opportunity for  a suit, I'd focus simply on getting other sites above the ripoffreport site for the business name and any other search terms where it appears on the first page.

 

If its a local smb you can place it in directories and then link to them from the smb itself or some other sites.  use anchor text.  You are only going to do it once.   linkedin is a strong site.  Get in linkedin as the business name and link to it.

 

The first step should be to simply push other sites above ripoffreport for the first page of google.  Then worry about anything or everything else.



#16 KernelPanic

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 11:17 AM

Brings a story to mind... A car dealer was upset that a customer had written a bad review. $12,000.00 and 12 months later the SEO pro had managed to get 10 web properties listed above the bad review. That's a win right?

 

The customer was complaining about the way he was treated after buying a used car for $8500.00. If the dealer had just given the mad customer his money back he would have been $3500 ahead!

 

The first order of business should be to try and work out the differences with the p***ed off consumer.



#17 clandestino

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:06 PM

One axiom that seems to hold true is -- the lower the profit margin, the louder the customer complains.  When there is no profit, the vendor can't afford the level of customer service that the customer demands.

 

Might be better to find a new business.



#18 earlpearl

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 05:13 PM

Brings a story to mind... A car dealer was upset that a customer had written a bad review. $12,000.00 and 12 months later the SEO pro had managed to get 10 web properties listed above the bad review. That's a win right?

 

The customer was complaining about the way he was treated after buying a used car for $8500.00. If the dealer had just given the mad customer his money back he would have been $3500 ahead!

 

The first order of business should be to try and work out the differences with the p***ed off consumer.

I totally agree with this.  But its not Ken's business.  

 

We've had a bunch of smb's for a lot of years.   Some of them have provided absolutely great customer service for years/decades.   Its all in the personnel.   Even with the good ones we have dissatisfied customers.   with those we address the mistakes and try and make things right.  We work to satisfy the customers.   These days we do it with more urgency.  The threat of a bad review or a ripoffreport thing can seriously hurt a business.

 

the ultimate way to satisfy a customer is to give them their money back.   If the operator had done so he would never have had the bad review in the first place.  Ultimately he would have been $3500 ahead and would have eliminated months of time and aggravation.  he wouldn't have had to pay the seo for the rep management work.  Who knows how many sales he lost because of the bad review sitting there.   In our view, its not only the $$$, its the time.  Time is one's ultimate asset.   Wasting it on that kind of thing is an incredible loss



#19 clandestino

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 06:02 PM

Time is one's ultimate asset.   Wasting it on that kind of thing is an incredible loss

 

So true.

 

I don't know how many times I've worked with clients and they want to make it personal, a pi##ing contest over who's right.

 

I remember a long time ago when I was having trouble collecting a bill and was mad about it, the partner in charge said, "Get your money first.  Get mad later."

 

Point being -- your time will be better spent working on something positive, such as delivering better product offerings that will increase your value and prevent this from happening again.



#20 tam

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:08 PM

The trouble is being awesome only works against reviews from genuinely upset customers, not competitors that decide the counter to your awesomeness is to leave fake reviews saying you're terrible.



#21 earlpearl

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:58 PM

The trouble is being awesome only works against reviews from genuinely upset customers, not competitors that decide the counter to your awesomeness is to leave fake reviews saying you're terrible.

yep.   We are 99% sure that occurred with one of our smb's and a competitor.  We can't pin it on him.  ....yet...and we haven't totally tried.  OTOH, we responded to all the neg reviews we "knew" to be generated from him.  Two of them have responses which includes that we knew them to be from a competitor and pointed out exactly where they were untrue.  On one of them we got it removed from the website that carried the review.

 

Then we got to him and let him know we were ready to unleash a massive similar kind of response.   The neg reviews by that competitor have stopped.  Its been over 3 years.   I'm sure there are other ways to get back at a competitor, (if you can pinpoint who it is) and let them know that actions of that type aren't "appreciated" or "smart"  :D





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