Brian Clark of Copyblogger
The best place to hide a body is on page two of Google’s search results.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, and don’t trust any firm that promises that they can. Websites like Yelp, Google Plus and YellowPages won’t remove negative reviews. Your best course of action is to formulate a plan for building up positive reviews from current and future clients to ultimately outweigh the few negative reviews. It is also helpful in the near term to push down these pages in the search results that show up for your brand name. There are a variety of different properties that you control the message on which can be utilized to accomplish this.
Reputation Management, at its core, is basically just another version of SEO. With SEO, you are trying to boost a particular website in the rankings for a set of defined terms. With reputation management, you are trying to take over 10 spots of a given search result with properties that reflect the business or individual in a positive light. Basically, we are trying to nudge Google to see the results the way we’d like them to, but at the end of the day no one ultimately controls what Google does except the engineers at Google.
SEO and online reputation management (ORM) both take several months to see results. Usually, we tell clients a properly implemented reputation management campaign will take between three to five months depending on the severity of the problem.
Our recommendation is to always discuss this with your lawyer to see if they can issue a cease and desist notice threatening legal action if the offensive content isn’t removed. Obviously, legal costs can be sizable, and it could further incite the other party which could yield little results if they have nothing to lose. In our experience, most web hosts, organizations like WordPress and Google will always hide behind free speech and won’t remove content without a court order.
How can Ripoff Report & Pissed Consumer get away with a business model built around slander and extortion?
Websites like these bank off of dragging your name through the mud. They won’t ever remove a negative report about you even if the original author requests it. Just like the National Enquirer at your grocery store checkout, negativity attracts eyeballs and clicks. Part of Google’s algorithm rewards pages that get more clicks with higher rankings. It is in the best interest of these sites to keep these salacious articles up, scarring your good name.
These reviews aren’t coming down. The best that you can hope for is to fork over $2000 to them (Rip Off Report) to have their arbitrator mediate the issue, then they’ll publish an addendum. The original complaint basically stays intact even after spending thousands per offending instance.
How is this legal? They hide behind something called the Communications Decency Act. Basically, it passes the buck of responsibility, saying that these negative review havens can’t be held responsible for the things posted by its members even though they host a forum rife with slander and with zero accountability. For all you know, your competitor is the one trashing your good reputation.
This says that individuals have the right to escape information online that reflects them in a negative light. Google has to abide by these requests for removal.
If you live within the borders of the EU, then by all means give this approach a stab. Unfortunately for those living in the United States, this European Union practice doesn’t apply. The constitutional rights given by freedom of speech and the desire to avoid censorship has been cited as key reasons for not adopting this stateside.