Word of mouth spreads faster than ever today, thanks to the Internet. If you’re a fledgling business owner, this can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s great that happy customers can share their positive experiences with potential clients. On the other, one bad review has the potential to sink your reputation.
What’s worse, the anonymity of the online world makes it possible for an unscrupulous competitor, disgruntled employee or garden-variety troll to fabricate a negative review. These false impressions can result in real damage to your business. That’s why it’s essential for any business owner to know how to spot them and what do about them.
Many of the most popular review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List have strict policies about removing content. In most cases, they will not remove anything unless it violates their terms of service. Fake reviews typically fall into this category. They can be difficult, but possible, to prove false if you can identify the tell-tale signs.
For example, a reverse image search could show that the user’s avatar came from a stock photo website. Receiving a flurry of negative reviews within a short period, as indicated by their online timestamps, may be the work of scammers using automation software.
For more tips to help you weed out fake reviews and protect your brand online, see the accompanying guide. Technology can help or hinder you, so make sure you’re prepared for whatever it brings.
Author’s Bio: Attorney Gavin T. Elliot is an international attorney, licensed in England and Wales along with Florida and Washington D.C., and is the founder of The Elliot Legal Group, P.A. Since founding the practice in 2010, Mr. Elliot has focused on providing counsel to and representing the interests of clients throughout Florida, as well as international clientele. Mr. Elliot has had the privilege of representing single member LLCs, Fortune 500 companies and everything in between.