Consumer Review websites - online reputation managementConsumer Review websites are disproportionate in terms of online reputation management as perspective is something of a crucial word when it comes to analysing the context of some consumer based reviews on consumer websites. Especially when we consider that Tesco’s share price has actually risen since the horsemeat scandal, when most would have thought the opposite.

And its this disproportionate influence that consumer originated content has, that can destroy a small to medium sized business leaving them vulnerable to attack by disgruntled ex-employees, competitors and customers telling porkies to get their own way.

I have previously written on cases where consumers would use the threat of posting a bad review on consumer based websites in order to extract a better deal from a business, which not only flies against the ethos of consumer review sites, but is in fact a criminal offence, namely extortion.

Gravity of Review Sites Too Great

As anyone who knows the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) will tell you, some websites, owing to their sheer size will outperform smaller websites for the same search term.

This ‘gravity effect’ means that a small business website (e.g. may have 50 or so pages, a blog and optimised content and do well for some search terms for its products and be first place on Google for a company name search “abc widgets” but as soon as one or two reviews, good or bad, appear on consumer review websites, the reviews are usually next to or even above the company’s own website for a search of the company name.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that most consumers will perform a Google search on any given company to see what others are saying about them and whilst Hotels and Restaurants were the first business sectors to experience this disproportionate influence via TripAdvisor, now no business is safe and the potential for businesses to suffer at the hands of consumer based content on review sites has never been greater.

No Smoke without Fire?

Having worked with a number of clients across multiple sectors that have had varying degrees of attack, it fair to say that some businesses did make mistakes, rectified them and repaired their bad online reputation, but others have been the victim of co-ordinated attacks by 3rd parties and as such, sometimes there is smoke without fire as the bad reviews given were misleading and deliberately false.

The problem is that with the sheer volume of content going online consumer review websites rarely verify people commenting or the validity of the comments and daily I see content where people haven’t even been a consumer/customer of the business they are slating but because they didn’t get their own way, they slated that business nonetheless.

In the home interiors industry I have seen genuine complaints were people have paid money and not had the products delivered but I have also seen consumers complain because they wanted a £20,000 kitchen for £5000 and complained because the business couldn’t and wouldn’t meet the demands of the consumer.

You wouldn’t expect to go into Bentley and ask if they would take £10,000 for a new £140,000 Continental GT car, to be told no, and then get away badmouthing Bentley for it but the sad fact is, day in, day out this practice is ongoing via consumer review websites and usually anonymously so that the review site doesn’t even ask for a valid email to enable people to post content.

Putting fires out

Edible have a tremendous success record in tackling negative content online and have been able to restore balance to a businesses online reputation.

When you consider that Tesco has thus far escaped any harm to its sales figures, profits or share price as a direct result of the horsemeat scandal but a small firm can go under because it made a single mistake with one customer out of hundreds or even thousands it doesn’t seem fair really?

However, that’s where Online Reputation Management comes into play, in helping right past mistakes and move on from them, or tackling malicious attacks from 3rd parties.

About Edible
Edible is a Liverpool SEO & Google Adwords PPC marketing agency offering additional services such as Online Reputation Management (ORM), Digital Content Creation to enhance your search rankings, improve your website visitors experience and increase your return on investment so if Consumer Review websites and the content on them is effecting your business, get in touch for a confidential, no obligation discussion.