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Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson is on the Brand.com Board of Advisors and is the Brand.com Blog Moderator. Zac has over 17 years of experience in internet marketing and branding and has helped generate millions of dollars in business for brands and individuals of all sizes across the world. He is compensated for his contributions to the Brand.com Blog.
November 19, 2013 at 11:00 am | 2588 Views

ORM Experts Discuss Suppressing Bad Reviews

Online reputation management is all about being able to have control over what people see when they search for your name or brand in the search results. One of the biggest fears for businesses and brands is when something negative gets posted on the biggest review and complaint sites on the internet. Sites like RipOff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp are the most harmful.

During our ORM Experts interview series, we always make sure to ask our experts what their thoughts are on the hardest attacks to suppress and what brands can do to protect themselves. We’ve listed three of our top experts and their advice below.

In your opinion, what do you think are the three hardest attacks to suppress and why?

Andy Beal says:

Certainly RipOff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp represent the evil trinity when it comes to reputation attacks, but it would be unfair to say that they are always the three toughest to suppress. A negative article in the New York Times, a negative ruling or fine on a .gov web site, or a reprimand by your organization’s governing body can all be just as hazardous to your reputation’s health. Any site that enjoys the favor of either the public or Google’s algorithms is going to be tough to defend against.

Stephen Spencer says:

Ripoff Report is certainly hard to recover from. With some good ORM, you can probably push its Google listing to page 2 or even 3, but to truly make it go away you have to pay ROR their $15k extortion – umm, I mean, “fee.”

Even trickier is negative Google suggestions. For example, if you type your brand’s name into Google, and Google autocompletes it as “(your brand) scam” and “(your brand) lawsuit,” that will perpetuate the negative online sentiment more than anything else. People are obviously going to search that if it’s one of the top suggestions or related searches. And it will inevitably bring up negative crap. To combat that, you have to get searchers to search for something else related to your brand. Easier said than done, of course. A “black hat” ORM tactic is to hire people offshore to do these positive sentiment searches (a tactic that I, of course, don’t condone). Less “black hat” is to rally your fans to conduct specific brand-related searches on Google.

Another tough attack to suppress is if a trusted media outlet wrote a negative article. That will almost certainly occupy the first page in Google.

Sanket Patel says:

- Authoritative Sites: Various news sites, government sites are highly authoritative sites. The reviews on these sites are highly regarded by search engines as well. So, although not impossible, it is a daunting task to have reviews removed from these sites.

- Offline Media: If there is one place where you could see a molehill turning into a mountain, it is in the media. A bad piece of information could prove to be very harmful for your reputation, when the same news is distributed throughout the media. As most of the media houses have their own websites, too, just imagine how viral the news could go to the extent of disrupting a reputation.

- RipOff Report or Pissed Consumer: These are the hotspots for consumers to reveal their frustration. They simply post whatever comes to mind. Sometimes false claims are posted as well (due to their frustration), however, they are very tough to overcome, as the negative reviews on these sites come right on the top page of Google and other search engines.

As you can see, the common answers among industry experts are sites like Yelp, Pissed Consumer and RipOff Report. These are the sites and negative situations you want to avoid. The best way to keep control over your online reputation and brand is by owning the first page of the search results with your own content and not sending customers to other sites to post reviews.

To start monitoring and gaining more control over your online reputation, track your brand mentions through the Brand.com Command Center.

Contact a Brand.com expert today to start launching news directly to the media.

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61 comments
samsam121
samsam121

yes,Every industry expert consistently says Yelp is one most difficult negative reviews to suppress.

Direct Response
Direct Response

Agreed, RoR, Pissed Consumer, and Yelp are 3 very difficult sites to suppress, however I think active forums are even more difficult. BTW - RoR is scared to death of de-indexing programs...it undermines their "corporate advocacy" program that redacts false reports, but doesn't remove them from RoR which means they continue to pull up in SERPs. That's akin to getting listed on the Sex Offender Registry only to get exonerated BUT still having your mug on the registry...there's harm just by being on the list. By keeping the RoR listings in SERPs after their proven false is akin to keeping an exonerated defendant on the Sex Offender registry...there's extreme harm. Why pay to have a listing redacted when it can get REMOVED by Brand.com !

Jerome Wilhort
Jerome Wilhort

It's sad that anyone can post anything on Yelp and Ripoff report, but it's nice to finally have Brand.com around to fight off those negative sites.

Michael Petrucci
Michael Petrucci

Companies have to be on the lookout for negative reviews from the sites above. They are very authoritative and they rank extremely quick for your brand.

Jane't Jones
Jane't Jones

instead of paying ripoff to remove a report. You should come to brand.com where we will not only suppress the ripoff but also create positive content and put together a on line reputation plan for you or your company

Kyle McGrath
Kyle McGrath

Although listings like Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer, and Yelp are difficult to suppress, Brand.com offers the de-indexing plan for removing false listings. In the way of suppression, there are no better tactics than those of what Brand.com is implementing to combat authoritative domains like the one's being discussed in this article.

Cory Adams
Cory Adams

Managing and suppressing negative reviews is a great way to improve a firm's online reputation.

Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson

Every industry expert consistently says Yelp is one most difficult negative reviews to suppress.

Genevieve Moser
Genevieve Moser

RippOff Report is a site that can get out of control for certain business and individuals. There should be more controls on this site to identify false information

Thomas Navin
Thomas Navin

Ripoff Report is especially tough to suppress and can be devastating for a business. Fortunately, with enough resources it can be pushed down.

Nathan Mellor
Nathan Mellor

It's incredible how much one person can have an effect by posting on one of these sites. It's surprising there are not more safeguards against these damaging online communities. What's even more frustrating is that these sites use this negative press to take advantage of consumers and make even more money.

Stephanie Lees
Stephanie Lees

It bothers me that these sites feed and grow based on negativity. Complaints on ROR, Yelp, or Pissed Consumer are only damaging. The negative comments posted there are in no way helpful to the business they are critiquing. These sites are just useless homes for anger just for angers sake. It's ashamed that they seen as having a lot of authority.

Ryan Andrews
Ryan Andrews

RipOff Reports are a pain and apparently require an aggressive campaign to combat them. I wonder if ROR was discovered to have used SEO to rank the sites on the first page of Google, if that would be enough to pull them out from CDA immunity?

Angel Santiago
Angel Santiago

Reviews in general literally paint the roadmap to a company's online success. Negative reviews can be detrimental.

Katie Scott
Katie Scott

Very interesting that Ripoff Report is one of the toughest ones as well. I knew about Yelp but I was unaware that Ripoff Report was so difficult. Good to know!

samantha.wanner
samantha.wanner

Negative Reviews are the worst advertising for brands

John Lamplugh
John Lamplugh

Ripoff Report is such a strong site. If you write a ripoff report and you check its position on Google, it will most likely rank on the first page unless the keyword is not incredibly strong and protected with ORM.

Anna Albrecht
Anna Albrecht

Stephen Spencer's point about Google Auto suggest is one that is often overlooked. If you have a negative in there, it's one of the first things people see when they Google you. And you are what Google says you are!

John Gottschall
John Gottschall

Online reviews are this generations word of mouth advertising. It is crucial that you are able to control your reviews.

Jessica Veazey
Jessica Veazey

Reviews make or break a company. If you have a negative presence on any three of the "evil trinity" your company's reputation is serious danger. The best way to combat this is to own the first two pages of google with all the positives of your company.

Michael Dectis
Michael Dectis

Negative reviews paint the image of your company, these negative Ripoff Reports and Yelp listings have a direct effect on sales.

Adam C
Adam C

Always better to be proactive rather than reactive

Tarek Osman
Tarek Osman

Ripoff report is extortion thinly veiled as a consumer advocacy website.

Daniel Connolly
Daniel Connolly

If you keep your integrity and tackle your SEO strategy with "white hat" tactics, good things will come if you stay proactive on the negative-driven listings above.

ElizaAPearce8
ElizaAPearce8

That autofill is tricky. It's definitely rough to try and search your brand and Google suggests "scam" at the end of the terms you are searching.

Jeff Glauser
Jeff Glauser

Not a coincidence that there seems to be a consensus on much of this! So if it's a challenge for the ORM experts, just imagine how those affected feel!

Pete Campbell
Pete Campbell

Ripoff Report makes me angry. They make it too easy to "trash" companies. Instead, as a consumer, why don't we try to contact the business and have them "right the wrong"... if they do, great, if not, maybe take to a review site. The current mentality = Review first, ask questions later... does it solve anything?

Brian Newmark
Brian Newmark

As I shared in a recent posting, I think the best way to avoid bad Yelp reviews, Pissedconsumer and Ripoffreport is to provide excellent customer service. The cost to deal with a negative review on the web is so much more than keeping your clients happy.

Ian S
Ian S

The biggest thing that needs to be stressed is being proactive in controlling your SERPs before these things become and issue. Good authoritative content in your SERPs is where it's at!

Jason Huff
Jason Huff

Great collection of advice from the experts.

Adam felch
Adam felch

I completely agree with Andy regarding "The Evil Trinity". I will say though, that Stephen brings the most valid point to the table. You can suppress negative reviews as many times as you want, but if you have a corrupted Auto Suggest, it tends to be the root of most problems.

Sean Cooper
Sean Cooper

These consumer review site can be the thorn in your Brand's side. As it was alluded to, own the first page of your search results. Proactively improve your Online Reputation, do not hope that Google's new algorithm is going to fix all your problems.

Christopher Ondik
Christopher Ondik

Customers do not even need to see the negative sites if something like "scam" or "fraud" show up in the auto complete. Most people who see something negative in the auto complete will not even bother to search for any positives or even continue through to your website.

Anthony Giacomucci
Anthony Giacomucci

A negative auto suggest can completely contradict a clean first page of Google.

Ann Johnson
Ann Johnson

Taking a proactive approach with your online image is the only way to operate these days. Leaving the information up there just one more day can do damage that is not easily undone.

Joshua Griffith
Joshua Griffith

The problem with all of those sites is the lack of authenticity. None of them actually require the posting to be true. This allows for reputation terrorism to take place. Anyone can blast you with no requirement of fact.

The_Sizzle
The_Sizzle

If you're dealing with any of these, you probably know all too well how powerful they are. They stick to search results like skunk spray.

Justin DeLisi
Justin DeLisi

Rip Off Report can be tough to suppress but given the right funding and time frame it is 100% possible.

Kaycee Flore
Kaycee Flore

Auto complete can bring up suggestions that people hadn't intended to even glance at to begin with but once a negative term accompanies the keyword people of course become curious is so true I couldn't agree more.

Ryan Maley
Ryan Maley

Brand.com can provide sites that are as or more authoritative than these sites that bring negative attention to businesses. Thinking ahead of time and taking control of your first few pages with highly ranking content can allow you to avoid a potentially bad situation.

miawallace
miawallace

I agree with Stephen Spencer on Google's auto complete. The auto complete suggestions can drive searches directly to negatives. Auto complete can also deter a possible customer from using your business simply because they saw a negative term present.

Celina Levin
Celina Levin

The fact that people can post anything pretty much, true or not, is incredibly unfortunate. It's also incredibly difficult for anyone stumbling across those posts to figure out whether or not the author is credible.

harrison.pew
harrison.pew

With SERP's becoming the most valuable piece of real estate for individuals and businesses, gaining full control of these pages is the best course of action in order to completely suppress any of these negative attacks or reviews.

greg cobb
greg cobb

a proactive approach is always best. since most business is re-active, suppression for these review sites are difficult, but obtainable, through Brand.com.

Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson

Exactly. Now matter how big or strong a site is, there will always be a way to build up a better article to rank above it, or in worst case scenarios, get it de-listed.

Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson

These days everyone has a powerful voice that can influence millions!

Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson

Unfortunately negative press and reviews will almost always get more than positive ones.

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