|As internet users, is seems we are constantly being asked to “rate” or “review” an item or service that we have purchased. Perhaps this is some curious “Gen-Y” phenomenon whereby after the transaction, we must now also publicly acknowledge our satisfaction and gratitude in the form of “stars” or the slightly more gladiatorial “thumbs-up / thumbs-down”
So what should you do when your company receives the dreaded “thumbs-down” or otherwise negative online review?
|First, most review sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Citysearch, Google Reviews, Yahoo, give you the opportunity to respond to your online critic. I strongly suggest that you keep it short, simple and professional. Apologize for the experience they had and ask them to contact you directly (as owner or manager) to resolve the situation as you are committed to customer satisfaction. If you are contacted, fix the problem, and ask that the negative review be removed, or at least amended or updated.
Second, call your webmaster or internet marketing company and let them know what is going on. Some internet marketing companies (sometimes known as “SEO service providers”) actively monitor your online presence and will help you take steps to suppress a negative review by moving it down the search page.
Finally, if the online complaint is just an outright lie, or you suspect your competitor or other villain is using the internet’s cloak of anonymity to spread misinformation about your business, it’s probably time to call your lawyer.
Legal action against an individual website is difficult, but not impossible, because of the immunity provisions of the Federal Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, the subpoena power of the Court has successfully been used to unmask the IP address, username, or email of formerly “anonymous” commenters. This sort of litigation is definitely not cheap, so weighing your options.
In conclusion, most savvy internet consumers take online reviews with a healthy dose of skepticism. Your restaurant, store or service, AND your peace of mind is certainly worth more than a few “stars.”
For questions about these issues or any other business law questions please feel free to contact Brandon Woodward, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Law Office of Brandon Woodward P.A. is pleased you have visited our web site or read our blog. The materials and information contained here are provided for informational or entertainment purposes only and are not to be considered as legal advice