NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/14/13 -- For years, users of online review sites like Yelp.com have taken for granted that they can say anything and everything they want about businesses and brands -- but a recent legal controversy is throwing that into question. An article from Reuters notes that a Virginia judge has spoken out against online review sites, and that his words quickly drew the ire of free speech defenders from organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The controversy has put online review sites like Yelp back in the spotlight -- and drawn the attention of Reputation Changer. The company has issued a new statement to the press, weighing in on the Reuters article.
"Reuters makes the point that, for amateur online critics, the consequences of posting a review could potentially be dire," says Cliff Stein, the CEO of Reputation Changer. "What the author means is that, if you post a negative review of a major business or brand, you may find yourself embroiled in a defamation suit. This may be true, but, whatever the potential consequences for online reviewers, the consequences of online reviews are even direr for businesses and brands. At Reputation Changer, complaints and negative online reviews are regarded as true threats to any enterprise, because, regardless of how truthful these reviews are, they are absolutely taken seriously by consumers."
Stein continues his explanation of why online complaints and reviews are so important to business owners. "The simple truth is that, more and more, consumers are coming to base purchasing decisions on the reviews they read on sites like Yelp.com," he claims. "A positive review could mean more sales for the company in question, but a defamatory review could scare away potential customers, lead to lost sales, and ultimately drive the business to ruin. So while there may be some minor risks associated with penning defamatory reviews, they are nothing compared to the damage that bad reviews do to businesses and brands."
Cliff Stein also says that negative reviews are not always posted by reasonable and honest consumers. "Lamentably, 'freedom of speech' is used as an excuse for all kinds of online misbehavior," he opines. "People can get away with anything on the Web, which means that bad reviews can be posted by business rivals, by disgruntled employees, really by anyone."
The point of all of this, Stein continues, is that online complaints and defamatory reviews can all but destroy a business -- and that no business is impervious to this threat. The good news is that business owners can take action to protect their brands against these acts of online defamation. "By enlisting the services of an online reputation management firm, like Reputation Changer, companies can minimize the threat of these bad reviews," enthuses Stein.
Reputation Changer serves businesses and brands by providing them with services in review suppression and brand enhancement. "Businesses come to us when they have been besieged by bad reviews, on sites like Yelp or Angie's List," explains Stein. "While we cannot simply make those reviews go away, we can render them non-issues, pushing them out of the way and ensuring that they are seen by as few people as possible. We basically bury these bad reviews under new, brand-enhancing content -- content designed to present the client in the best light possible."
For Reputation Changer, that is what it is all about: helping the client's brand to shine. "At Reputation Changer, complaints and online reviews are addressed quickly and decisively, because we know how damaging they can be," says Stein. "We seek to diminish their impact, and to help the client shine."
Reputation Changer was developed in 2009 by a team of direct response marketing professionals. The company quickly grew into the world's leading online reputation management and monitoring service; today, Reputation Changer provides an array of services in brand enhancement and negative listing suppression, to a client base that includes Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals.
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