Not too long ago, we were doing a routine internet search to learn about a potential client, and we stumbled onto something pretty surprising regarding his online reputation. On YellowPages.com, this company had only one review and it was set to the lowest possible rating. More importantly, it accused the one of the business’s employees of selling drugs to another customer, along with several other slanderous accusations that almost couldn’t be true. In fact, it was easily one of the harshest, most damaging comments that we’ve ever seen…and we’ve been doing this for quite some time.
While we’d love to let you read this particular review, it is no longer anywhere on the Internet thanks to the Yellow Page’s staff. Since it grossly violated their Terms of Service, they agreed to remove the comment immediately and it is no longer an issue for that business owner. Or is it? Let’s find out below-
How an Unfair Reputation Can Quickly Build
After doing a little bit more research, we learned that the particular review was posted in 2012 and that page had been visited well over 1,500 times since it was posted. So it’s entirely possible to assume that over 1,500 local Upstate residents believed that the business in question sold drugs, and this was further proven once we checked the backlinks feeding into that page. There were three social media posts with over 60 total comments bad-mouthing that business on Facebook and Twitter, with every one of the responses revolved around illegal drugs.
So here’s what we did, just to show the math for future clients-
- Of those 48+ social media comments that various people shared about this Yellow Pages listing, it was viewable by over 14,000 people on friends’ lists.
- Of the 12 Twitter comments, there were an additional 3,400 that could have seen this messaging.
- Since the comments were frequently talked about, “liked” and shared, it is more likely than not that these pages were ranking towards the top of Facebook’s news stream. This conversation lasted for over a week as well on two different occasions.
- In total, over 21,000 potential customers to this business were exposed to these comments, and there is absolutely no telling how many others heard about it secondhand.
The Biggest Mistake in Reputation Monitoring
For the sake of argument, let’s say that this particular business owner happened to see this comment within 24 hours of it being posted. He probably would have contacted the website where it was posted on, and a few minutes later this nightmare would have ended. Even if the site wouldn’t take it down though, there were still a number of options available-
- The business owner could have replied to the comment.
- The business owner could have contacted the site and asked for the poster’s contact information.
- The business owner could have started a campaign to get additional reviews on that site, which would limit the damage of the particularly bad review.
The problem here is that the business owner did nothing at all, because he didn’t know that a problem existed in the first place. Remember, online reviews rank for your business name just like your website does, so they are extremely visible over time.
How to Monitor Online Reputation
There are actually several ways to check up on your reputation online, and the easiest way is to perform a Google search for “<business name> review”. While it may not return every single mention that’s ever been made about a particular business, it will show the ones that potential customers would likely find…and those are the ones that are the most important. Additionally, there are several reputation monitoring tools available online that can meet any sized business’s needs, and they range from completely free to thousands of dollars for enterprise solutions.
Upstate Synergy is the only Spartanburg web design firm that has helped out clients keep up with their online reputation for a number of years now, and we know every trick in the book when it comes to defending your good name. If you’d like to learn more about reputation management, feel free to contact us for a more thorough explanation. We will happily train one of your staff members to do this on your company’s behalf, or we can completely monitor your reputation for you.