NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/11/13 -- According to a recent article from Search Engine Land, "businesses face high stakes when it comes to online reviews." The article notes recent studies, which find that the vast majority of consumers trust online reviews as much or more than they do personal recommendations, and that most consumers say positive reviews make them more likely to do business with a particular company. The inverse is also true, however -- and the presence of even a single negative review can have dire consequences for businesses and brands. Search Engine Land goes on to highlight the importance of addressing negative reviews quickly and decisively; the article has won the attention of Reputation Changer.
"At Reputation Changer, complaints published to online review sites are regarded as dire and serious threats," says Cliff Stein, Reputation Changer's CEO, in a new statement to the press. Responding to the article in Search Engine Land, Stain reaffirms the significance of online reviews and complaints in today's consumer landscape. "Before making any major purchasing decisions, consumers like to do their due diligence," continues Stein. "In many cases, this means heading to Google and searching for reviews, or else turning to an online review directory, like Yelp.com. Businesses with negative or defamatory reviews can be in real trouble, then, because of how seriously these online reviews are taken."
Stein says that his company has assisted numerous businesses in fighting back against online defamation and consumer complaints. While taking a DIY route to review suppression is possible, Stein says it is not always effective. "Sometimes, the reviews are too pervasive, or too entrenched in the search engine algorithms," he says. "In other cases, the damage done to a brand's reputation is just too dire, and companies need dramatic action."
The article in Search Engine Land offers a few tips for businesses seeking to respond to online complaints and bad reviews. The first step offered is to simply not give consumers any reason to write bad reviews -- something Stein says is oversimplified. "The trouble is, not all online complaints and negative reviews come from actual consumers," he says. "In many cases, bad reviews are planted by rival companies or angry employees."
The Search Engine Land article then suggests that businesses try to resolve the problem privately. "There is certainly some sense here, as turning an online complaint into a very public feud with a consumer will only make the damage to the brand more severe," offers Stein. "Trying to work things out, perhaps even offering the offended consumer a refund or a discount, can sometimes work wonders." However, Stein reiterates the fact that not all reviews are from legitimate consumers. "For that matter, not all consumers are willing to be reasonable," he continues. "As such, trying to resolve things may, in some cases, prove fruitless."
Reputation Changer practices a combination of what Stein calls "review suppression and brand enhancement." He elaborates: "Most of the time, it is impossible to actually remove a complaint or a bad review from the Internet. What we can do, on behalf of our client, is to try to push those negative reviews out of the public eye, to ensure that they are seen by virtually nobody, and, thus, that they do virtually no damage." Stein says that Reputation Changer works to effectively replace defamatory reviews and online complaints with positive content, presenting the client as a desirable and upright brand.
"At Reputation Changer, our job is to present our clients in the best light possible -- period," he concludes. "As such, at Reputation Changer, complaints and online reviews are seen as dire threats, and treated with the proper decisiveness and urgency."
Reputation Changer was founded in 2009 by a group of online marketing professionals. The company quickly established itself as the leading online reputation management agency in the world. Providing brand-enhancing services to businesses, brands, and individuals alike, the agency is zealous for giving companies and people control over how they are portrayed on the Web.
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