That's a tough one and I guess the answer depends on what the bad review is like AND if there are other positive reviews too.
But I guess I'd have to say if there was only one review and it was bad, that would be worse than no reviews at all. However if there was 1 bad in with 4 positive reviews, that's not so bad and some consumers think reviews are more credible if there is a bad one in the bunch.
Most of us put a lot trust in reviews. To Linda's point, negative reviews that overwhelm the conversation about a business will certainly turn potential customers away.
That said, *any* review activity can increase the visibility of a business. Reviews are a "sign of life" not just to search engines, but to the site that hosts the review, increasing the likelihood that a given listing will be shown in search results or "related listings" widgets.
And getting one review--no matter how bad it is--is the first step to getting many reviews.
So I would *not* be inclined to have a client of mine "lie low" and try to dodge negative reviewers. Especially where the business owner can learn from and respond to the criticism in a constructive way (not all review sites allow owner responses), any review is more valuable than no reviews at all.
New advertising option:
A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters.