More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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ORM nightmares... This is something that thankfully does not come up with every client - but when it does it can be devastating to the business, as well as frustrating and time consuming for the consultant.

Even if you don't do ORM for clients, if you are encouraging them to get more reviews or giving them tools to encourage tools, they could blame you and want you to fix it.

Chris Silver Smith did a great and a little more advanced post on reputation damage control you should read and bookmark, just in case you ever need it.

<a href="">Can You Make Online Reputation Damage Disappear? Yes, There's Hope.</a>

As an Online Reputation Management (ORM) specialist, I frequently get asked by potential clients what’s possible for their cases — mainly, “Is it possible to get this defamation or this terrible thing about me deleted off the internet?”

The answer is a qualified “Yes,” depending on the circumstances. Read on to get an idea of how reputation repair works...

So, can one realistically make internet reputation damage disappear? Absolutely. Depending on the scale and severity, this can be managed or the damaging materials eliminated for the majority of people.

But be prepared to expend some significant resources to handle it properly — the steps needed require some labor and diligence.

I thought it was really helpful for Chris to break down the different types of negative content. When it comes to reviews, people are often confused about the difference between #1 Defamation and #2 Damaging Opinion. It comes up at the GMB forum all the time. A business owner thinks the comment is so terrible it's defamation, that in reality it's only a damaging opinion.

What's your worst ORM nightmare? How did you handle it???

Typically, I find those hardest-hit by negative reviews are those who have relatively few-to-no reviews, so when the inevitable bad one appears, they're particularly vulnerable and negatively impacted. The best solution for those is to start doing all the multiple strategies to try to elicit more reviews, and demonstrate that the bad review is mostly an outlier. Diluting a few bad reviews with many positive reviews is a prime path to take.

That being said, I've personally gotten a number of reviews completely deleted by persuading the reviews sites, because the reviews break the terms and conditions of those sites. This includes:

- Internal logic of the review shows the reviewer wasn't actually a customer! Therefore, the review is bogus. I most recently used this argument to have a damaging review removed from the Yelp page of a doctor who unfortunately had a patient die a few years ago. (Not time to give context here, but I wouldn't have helped if the doc had any sort of trend of this happening, of course! I'm quite convinced in his case that this was unusual and that he's not at all an ongoing threat -- and, his many other reviews are from very pleased patients.)

- In one case, I asked a Google representative to review a handful of negative reviews against a chain of restaurants, because the reviews were clearly racist and insulting. Those reviews were gone in one day, flat!

- I just asked to delete a number of reviews that were posted to various Dallas businesses' profiles that mentioned the name of one of my porn revenge victim clients. Her harasser posted these to try to make it impossible for her to frequent restaurants, car shops, her apartment complex, her community college and other businesses in the Dallas area. Those reviews are now gone.

- I asked Yelp to remove a terrible review from the page of a major corporation -- the reviewer had taken screengrabs of pictures of the company executives and posted to Yelp. So, I submitted a takedown request based upon copyright infringement and harassment.

- I've had other reviews removed for including foul language (sometimes it slips past the foul language filters by using some sort of jargon or by using creative spelling methods).

- I got one group of Yelp reviewers deleted when I tracked a negative review back to see what else the Yelper involved had reviewed. It was clearly a shill reviewer agency -- otherwise, how could they reasonably be the customers of dentists in 5 states in the same month?!?

- Reviews that go into making a personal attack on owners and employees may be going past the line of being merely opinion about the work of the business -- in such cases you may be able to convince the review site to delete or at least force the reviewer to revise.

Using the rules of review sites to your advantage, you can sometimes completely take out the worst and most damaging reviews, and then apply good marketing and customer care practices to obtain a sparkling review profile afterwards.
Awesome Chris. Thanks for posting the additional tips and details. Always helps to hear some stories about what's happened to others and how the problem was solved.
I couldn't find it, but I remember seeing a post on the GMB forum maybe a month ago about how reporting reviews was a lot easier than in the UK. Apparently UK law says that Google (and any other publisher) is on the hook for libel and such, even if someone else is posting it on their medium... so apparently if you happen to have a client in the UK that's got some false reviews from an angry customer or a competitor or something, it's a whole lot easier to get it taken care of than it is over here in America. It seems like there's quite a few posts every week on the GMB forum about false reviews and the hassles with getting them taken down, so it's definitely an issue for a fair number of businesses.

From my own business, the main thing I've learned... even if you aren't doing reputation management for a client, it's worth the extra investment to have an eye on things, so you can at least be the guy to tell them when something comes in, good or bad. For a sales perspective too, that's a pretty easy time to have the conversation about adding in a new service, and see if that's something the client would be interested in.
There tend to be a lot of different situations that come up but it is the systemic problem that can be a nightmare, meaning if it is an internal issue that the business fails to address it can go sour quickly.

After lots of success, the worst issue I have encountered was a business on Yelp which was closed and purchased by a new entity. The sales person and team refused to do any edits or to assist in creating the new entity page because of the same NAP.

Ultimately, it is the overall strategy to mitigate the vulnerability to one platform that tends to help overcome issues such as these when combined with a good solid customer review collection system and program.

As Chris mentioned, in many cases you can go to the TOS and use legal points but sometimes it boils down to the platform and the representative who does/does not want to assist.

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