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A well known idiom is that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” For a business, unfortunately this couldn't be further from the truth. When it comes to maintaining brand image, words can hurt. Words can sometimes mean the end of your business. The best part of the internet is that you can present your business in a way that will attract new customers and build the loyalty of existing clients.

The internet isn't just controlled by businesses however. Consumers have a strong voice. This could mean great things if customers are always happy with your company. The reality is that a customer, regardless of the service you have given them, has the potential to give you a bad review online. Online consumer advocacy sites are large forums for consumers to share their gripes with others who are interested in doing business with you. The influence of these kinds of sites could be extremely damaging to your future business opportunities.

Ripoff Report is just one of these kinds of consumer based sites. Their content is dependent upon the complaints that people have against ...
... a company. The reach of this website is massive and any negative review can impact your business shortly after it is posted. Any consumer can post a complaint without any substantiation process. It is almost impossible to have a complaint removed from a site like this one because it prides itself on keeping this kind of information visible.

It is possible to have a comment removed if it is false and defamatory, although this is very difficult. A defamatory statement is one that is false and can damage the reputation and viability of your business entity. The hosts of these sites can't be held responsible for the statement, but the publishers can be accountable. Many consumers choose to give their bad reviews using some measure of anonymity, making it difficult for you to address them directly. Defamatory statements, even if removed, can negatively affect your company before they are removed.

Other statements that are opinion based and deal with how the person felt about your product or service is for the most part legally acceptable. Most customers will make statements like these when describing their experience with your company. While the statements may not be false and defamatory, they can have a lasting effect.

To deal with these damaging remarks you have to be prepared to put yourself out there. You must respond to the comment with your own perspective of the situation and clarify any misunderstanding or falsehood. Find out what you can do to make it right with the customer. Try to express your desire to make this customer and future customers satisfied. You should also ask current and past clients to share their positive experience on this site. By showing that other customers are happy with your business, others may view the negative comment as an isolated or unfounded incident.

Optimum7 can help you manage your online reputation. Contact us today. Call us at 1-800-736-9618.

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