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Why good companies get a bad rap – It could be fake negative reviews.

Is That a Bogus Review?

Wouldn’t it be spectacular if all online reviews businesses receive were positive reviews, gushing with praise for their services and products? You know people like your products and services or else you wouldn’t be in business, then why is your business getting attacked online? Unfortunately, reputation management is a growing conundrum for business owners everywhere.

Here are some tips to spot fake reviews, address negative reviews, and how to handle your business reputation online:

Nearly 20% of all online reviews are deemed fake according to a Harvard study in 2013. This is a 400% increase from just a few years ago. As a business owner, these online reviews could be the life force or detriment of your business.

1. Is that a Fake Review?

A fake review can be blatantly obvious or can look legit. Spotting a fake negative review takes some research.

  • Never take a negative review for face value. Take for example, Hot Chick below. There’s no reason Hot Chick would shop at the business she posted the review for – she’s not their demo.
  • Research the person who posted the review. When we visited the Google + page of Hot Chick, we see she has had three reviews for three different automotive service companies. Two negative and one positive. Looks like someone hired Hot Chick as a professional online reviewer to write and post fake reviews.

Example of a Fake Poor Review
An example of a Fake Profile


2. How to Address a Negative Review

  • If the review is legit, maybe it’s time to look at quality. Some business owners are not aware of the downfalls of the service they are providing. If you come across a review that is negative, respond to the reviewer and ask how you can help them with his/her situation. If you repair the damage, some reviewers will retract their negative review or change their review to show the resolution you provided.
  • If the review is fake or overly derogatory, you can report it. Every review site has its own policy regarding reviews. If you search the site for “review violation” or “flag review,” you will be able to find the steps to reporting a bogus review.Yelp has a software that alerts them of potentially bogus review, however you can flag reviews if they violate Yelp’s guidelines. See the instructions here. Yelp's Report this Review option Google also allows you to flag inappropriate reviews. See their review policies here.
    Google allows you to flag inappropriate reviews.

3. How to Get Rid of Negative Reviews

Removing negative reviews is nearly impossible unless there is a violation of the review site’s policy. Instead, ask your highly-satisfied customers to provide a positive review on your behalf. By increasing the number of good reviews, you essentially bury the bad ones. Claire says it best in her article, “Bad Reviews, A Dissapearing Act.”

Think you have the hang of it? Get a head start on managing your reviews by downloading our handy-dandy Reputation Management Checklist.

Download Reputation Management Checklist

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