This is an online reputation example of a business who thought they could take the easy way out and run from their negative reviews; customer complaints and media coverage.
Before we get into the mud, the business discussed here will remain anonymous as there’s no reason for us to make their online reputation matters worse. In addition, for the record, this isn’t a client of ours nor have we ever been retained to consult with or help improve their online reputation.
Here’s what happened:
The company, which we will refer to as “The ABC Company” is a retail establishment with a single store location on the East coast.
When searching for the company’s name in Google, the first two results are secured by The ABC Company’s domain name. From there, however, it gets worse.
50 reviews in Yelp averaging two (out of five) stars.
Two negative blogs
A complaint filed with the Ripoff Report
All on the first page of Google search results.
So, rather than try to clean up its reputation, The ABC Company opted to purchase a different domain and changed their business name slightly to “The ABCD Company.”
Guess what? That strategy never works.
You see, your negative reputation will always follow you. If you (as an individual) or your business didn’t get it right the first time, then chances are good you’re going to fail the second time.
The “new” business continued to earn poor reviews; negative complaints; media coverage as well as an onslaught of comments informing everyone that “The ABCD Company” is the same as “The ABC Company,” etc.
The “new” business has secured the top two results in Google with their new domain name, but a fresh batch of negative posts follow, including:
Back-to-back negative news stories.
Those same 50 bad Yelp reviews (reviewers helped Yelp connect the new company with the old company).
A negative blog.
A legal matter.
Two more negative blogs and a negative Facebook Page attacking the new company round out the Top 10 search results.
Overall, the reputation for the “new” firm is worse than the original company.
Where do you start?
Well, besides shuttering your doors and never going into business again, this is an online reputation problem from a very dark place. It would require the following:
- There’s obviously more here than just an upset customer or two, so other problems exist within the company itself. Processes, products, services and staff need to be corrected; modified and re-trained internally first.
- Develop and implement a strong public relations campaign. Only new and fresh online media coverage (print and video) can outrank old negative URLs appearing in search results.
- Blog every day. Maybe twice a day. Work on your company and brand name.
- Share a ton of positive photographs in social media (Twitter; Flickr; Facebook, etc.).
- Film and share your own positive videos on YouTube and in other social networks.
This online reputation problem can be fixed, but it will have to start internally and then publicly.