11. February 2016 · Comments Off on Online Reputation Repair: Beating Ripoff Report · Categories: ORM, SEO · Tags: , , , , ,

Beating Ripoff ReportThe Ripoff Report (http://ripoffreport.com) is an ugly and unforgiving complaint website that allows anyone to file a report against you and/or your business. The website doesn’t ask for proof and “reviewers” can remain anonymous all in the name of harming your online reputation.

What makes matters worse, is that Google and other search engines continue to rank Ripoff Report prominently. Unfortunately, if there isn’t an online reputation management plan in place, you’ll quickly find Ripoff Report is ranked in the Top 3 of the Google search results on your personal name or business name.

In addition, if the harmed party (you or your business or an employee in your business) responds to a claim, you’re actually helping that report to earn even higher rankings in search engines because you’re adding more content to the post. More content equals more keywords; your name; your company’s name and a likely published response from the original complainer.

Several years ago, a client was mentioned in Ripoff Report. Not only was the business name published many times in the back-and-forth “discussions” but specific employee names were also published which caused this particular Ripoff Report claim to move up in search engine rankings on individual names. When the dust was settled and the complaint was resolved, many employees mentioned were now harmed by Ripoff Report.  The original complainer, though somewhat satisfied, could not even remove their original report.  The content remains forever.

What an absolute mess.

The Ripoff Report website suggests not hiring an online reputation management firm in order to fix the problem and they practically challenge anyone to file a lawsuit against them. In addition, you are offered the opportunity to file a “counterclaim” and have Ripoff Report review your matter for a $$$ fee, but there are no guarantees that the negative claim against you or your business will ever be removed.

So, how does one beat Ripoff Report?

Let’s first assume that you didn’t have an online reputation management program in place to help you avoid such trouble. Oh, someone could still file a Ripoff Report against you or your business, but a solid ORM program would likely keep these – and other false claims – from moving up in Google or other search engines.

Therefore, if you wake up tomorrow morning and see such a claim against you or your company, you need to get busy and get busy fast. This would include:

  • Investigate the Ripoff Report claim against you. Do not respond to the claim.
  • Where is it ranked in Google and other search engines on targeted keywords such as the name of your business or your name, etc.?
  • For any websites that are currently ranked lower (beneath) the Ripoff Report, you’ll need to update those websites (if you have login credentials) in order to help them move up in search results. Basically, your goal is to optimize the “good” stuff about you and your business so they’ll move up in search results and suppress Ripoff Report.
  • Write articles and blogs using the targeted keyword(s).
  • Take pictures of your company, staff, products etc. and get them published.
  • Create and publish YouTube videos and much, much more.

I would also consider talking to your company attorney for legal advice. If you don’t have time to battle Ripoff Report claims against you or your company, you should definitely consider hiring a professional online reputation management firm (with search engine optimization experience) to help you create more positive spin on your company and personal name in order to suppress negative news.

27. January 2016 · Comments Off on Negative Reputation – You Can Run But You Can’t Hide · Categories: Mountain Woods Media, ORM, Social Media Consulting · Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

Zombieland Zombie chase via FanPop Wallpaper

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.


29. December 2015 · Comments Off on Yes, Angie’s List Lets You Get Negative Reviews Removed for Your Business · Categories: ORM · Tags: , , , , ,

by Leigh Drake, President, Mountain Woods Media, LLC

We frequently hear from clients within the first line of their messages that we “must remove” the negative review of their business within search results. We spend a significant amount of time with clients educating them about the online reputation process and stand by our routine counsel that it is still almost impossible to have negative reviews removed … that bad press must be pushed down in search engines with good press.

However, this week, the Consumerist blog outlined how you can get negative reviews removed from Angie’s List once your dispute with a company is properly resolved.

Angies's List Removes Negative Reviews


In the article entitled “Angie of Angie’s List Defends Policy of Removing Negative Reviews If Customers Get Refunds” Ashlee Kieler details the Angie’s List process and terms of services for businesses if premium membership customers receive refunds from businesses for poor service performance. Angie’s List has taken a bit of a hit from some consumers declaring unfair censorship; however, Angie Hicks, the company founder, defends the resolution process saying that it has been an effective tool for 20 years. Stating that their goal is not to be a complaint site, the premium membership customers who choose to go through the resolution system are well informed that their negative review will be removed from the business’ listing should a resolution or refund be met. And although the negative review will be removed, the customer does have the opportunity to submit updated feedback about the business as long as it is positive.

While that agreement doesn’t specify at that point that the new review must be positive, a separate affirmative check box to start the resolution process does address the new review: “I understand that if the service provider resolves the issue to my satisfaction, the review will be deleted, and I will have the opportunity to update my review with a positive one.” – The Consumerist, December 14, 2015

In terms of businesses having an opportunity for a second chance, this seems like a reasonable process that keeps the marketplace civil giving both businesses and customers an opportunity to reach resolution and move forward, and perhaps make the internet a more welcoming place for review exchanges.

The Angie’s List company does heavily monitor consumer reviews – perhaps better than any other purveyor – and has a strong telephone availability for both business and consumer members. By using their call center team, it has allowed them to sniff out bad actors and provide review and resolution guidance.

16. September 2015 · Comments Off on What Happens When You Can’t Repair A Negative Review ? · Categories: Mountain Woods Media, ORM, Training Courses · Tags: , , ,

negative reviewsOver the lifetime of your business, you’ll find that not all customers and clients are going to be happy and your firm will be the recipient of a negative review.

It’s not the end of the world. Most negative reviews can be repaired and problems can be resolved. In fact, many unhappy customers will eventually update the review or remove it, once the problem has been corrected.

Still, there might be a stubborn customer who will never update or remove his negative review no matter what you do to fix the damage. This stubborn individual is all about revenge and tries his best to ruin your business’ online reputation.

Don’t worry. Here are some steps you can take to overcome the professional negative reviewer.

  • Always try to solve the negative review by communicating within your profile’s review area. This will show current and future customers that you are reaching out and trying to fix the review. It will later become apparent the negative reviewer has no interest in solving the problem and he will eventually appear to be the “bad” guy in this dispute.
  • Remember to remove your emotions when replying to a negative review. Be polite and professional.
  • Even if you feel you’re right, apologizing usually diffuses a negative reviewer. Most reviewers want to be happy and work out the dispute.
  • Don’t get into a back-and-forth argument with the reviewer. The more you argue online, the worse it will be for your business. Arguing shows current and future customers that you’re not willing to work with your customers on a matter and may shy them away from becoming future customers.

Recently, we helped a medical practice in California deal with a negative reviewer. By researching the reviewer’s profile, we quickly found out that he was a serial negative reviewer in Yelp and would regularly leave one or two negative reviews for businesses each week. Unfortunately, most businesses would ignore him and never respond or offer to repair the problem, which makes the negative review more valid.

For more information, be sure to purchase our Udemy course “Online Reputation Management: Handling Negative Reviews” at https://udemy.com/online-reputation-management-negative-business-reviews.


13. August 2015 · Comments Off on Course Preview, Free Lectures Now Available on Udemy · Categories: ORM, Training Courses · Tags: ,

Mountain Woods Media, LLC is now offering a free preview and two lectures to its latest course on Udemy titled “Online Reputation Management: Negative Business Reviews.”

The course, which is currently available for $49, is designed for business owners who have experienced negative reviews on Yelp and other online review websites and want to improve their business’ online reputation management. Currently, over 200 students have signed up for the course.

The three videos include:

  • Overall Course Preview (approximately 2 minutes) offers viewers a sneak peek into what they will learn by taking this course.
  • “Everything’s Online As It Happens” – Section 1, Lecture 1 (approximately 7 minutes)
    Everything we do and everything that happens is online. Now. We Tweet. We Facebook. We take pictures and videos and we publish and share them instantly. Individuals can post tornado videos and other news events faster than local media outlets. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when an unhappy customer can instantly whip out their cell phone and Tweet about your company or post a negative review about their experience. Customers who are unhappy have no problem telling the entire world (literally) of their dissatisfaction with your business.
  • “What is Online Reputation Management – Section 1, Lecture 2 (approximately 12 minutes)
    This lecture explains the details of “online reputation” and “online reputation management” and helps lay the groundwork for handling negative reviews and protecting your business online. Every business and every individual has an online reputation, whether they know it exists or not! Daily, consumers ask for advice on what to buy; where to eat, etc. We ask and share recommendations all the time. What is shared online – good and bad – becomes part of your online reputation. This can not only include business reviews, but newspaper articles; radio and television stories; photographs; building permits; real estate transfers; blogs; lawsuits; divorce proceedings; arrest reports and more.

The course previews and free lectures are available for a limited time at: