Friday, June 1, 2012

10 Tips on Google Places Reviews: Critical, But Don't Go Fake

 Fake Reviews a NO NO on Google Places

Most of the business owners that I talk to are so worried about rank that they fail to consider the critical  issue of reviews and the huge impact on their business.  So here begins a series on Google Places reviews.  For the first one, let's give a hat tip to Michael Bloomenthal, the head guru of all gurus on the Google Places subject. 
Eric Goldman of te Technology & Marketing Law reports out a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling that upheld a jury award of $150,00 against an ex-partner that wrote 3 fake reviews on Yahoo & Google about his former business. The ruling should cause competitors leaving fake reviews to take note as it substantially eases the burden on the defamed business to not have to demonstrate direct losses (which is impossible on the interent).
 How many ways can we create a mess or be the victim of a mess created by fake reviews?  Let me count the ways.
  1.  Don't create fake reviews for your own listing.  You can certainly get real clever and use all kinds of methods to fool Google, but WHY?  Ask your best customers, suppliers, and associates to write the reviews.  They will sound more real, and they will not be a cause for a problem down the road.
  2. Don't write reviews on your competitors.  Don't ask others to write slamming reviews on your competitors.  You will open yourself up to the law of retribution and karma.  You can just count on the fact that this will end badly.  Not to mention that you may lose privileges if you get caught.  Or, how about the lawsuit above that might cost you BIG money.
  3. If a competitor, disgruntled ex-employee, competing supplier, or other individual who is not a customer, writes a negative review about you, you do have recourse.  A.  Most directories offering reviews also provide a way to complain that a revue is inappropriate.  Start there.  B.  If there is the slightest chance that the reviewer will back down, give them a shout and try to be reasonable.  Don't make idle threats or even threats you intend to carry out.  Take the high ground.  C.  If the information rises to libel, have your attorney write them a letter.  D.  Yelp and Google Places both allow you to respond to all reviews.  Do so with dignity.  Your clients aren't interested in your war.  They are interested in how you handle yourself under duress.
Have you had issues with fake reviews?  What were the results?  Any advice you'd like to share?

Randy Kirk and Associates provides a robust effort in reputation management for its clients.  If you have need of responding appropriately to bad reviews, give us a call at 310-910-1848

No comments: