SOURCE: Reputation Changer LLC
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Oct 16, 2012) - Online complaints and reviews continue to play a critical role in shaping the Internet landscape, and in influencing the purchasing habits of consumers. A recent article, posted by "Lifehacker," illustrates this point, noting that, "If you shop on the Internet, chances are you check out online reviews first." The article goes on to dub this a "sensible strategy," but it also makes clear that not all online reviews are to be trusted, with fake online reviews growing more plentiful all the time. According to a company called Reputation Changer, however, the veracity of an online complaint does not always matter; in terms of the effects a bad review can have on businesses, it matters little whether the criticism is true or false.
In a new statement to the press, Reputation Changer responds to the "Lifehacker" article, with company CEO Cliff Stein offering some commentary. "At Reputation Changer, complaints and reviews are seen as wildly influential and extremely potent, regardless of how true they are," he says. "What is important, for businesses and brands, is not the truthfulness of online complaints, but simply the power that online complaints continue to have in influencing consumer behavior."
Stein goes on to share an example. "Let's say that you own a hotel, and that when someone Googles your hotel, the first listing to appear is an extremely negative, one-star review," he says. "Now, it is possible that the review is fake. Maybe it was planted by a business rival, and maybe it was planted by a disgruntled employee. Then again, maybe the review is based on something outside your control, like construction noises from the outside streets. None of that matters; no consumer is going to want to stay in a one-star hotel, not when there are so many other options out there to choose from."
Stein is adamant in saying that no business or brand is completely safe from the threat of fake online complaints. "Again, at Reputation Changer, complaints are seen as enduring threats, for any and all companies," he remarks. "On the Internet, people can say anything they want, which means they can disparage and defame a company or a brand without regard for truthfulness, certainly without regard for facts. No business is impervious to the threat of online complaints and bad reviews."
The effects of these complaints and bad reviews, meanwhile, can prove dramatic. "Again, it all goes back to consumer behavior," Stein says. "These days, consumers are perfectly willing to do their due diligence and check out a brand online. If they see complaints or bad reviews, it is the easiest thing in the world for them to just move on to the next brand." Stein says that his company has witnessed brands brought to ruin by negative reviews and online complaints. "At Reputation Changer, complaints are regarded as lethal. They can lead to lost sales and customers, and even to increases in refund requests," he observes.
No company is safe from online complaints, but, says Stein, companies can work to protect themselves. "Fake reviews and online complaints post major risks to businesses and brands, but a professional reputation management campaign can effectively suppress those complaints and bad reviews," he comments. "At Reputation Changer, that is what we do, all day and every day. We seek to give our clients a say in how they are portrayed on the Internet."
Stein says that it all comes down to suppression. "We cannot remove those complaints, but we can seek to make them virtual non-issues," he notes. "We flood search engines with positive, brand-enhancing information. When a Google or Bing search is conducted, the complaints are minimized, and the positive information showcased."
Founded in 2009 by a dedicated team of Internet marketing veterans, Reputation Changer has come to be regarded as the world's leading reputation monitoring and management service. Offering services to companies and individuals alike, Reputation Changer is zealous for giving brands and people control over how they are portrayed on the Internet. The company's clients include Fortune 500 brands, elected officials, small businesses, and more.