SOURCE: Reputation Changer, LLC
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Sep 4, 2012) - For the consumer seeking quick and accessible information about a particular product or service, the Internet may seem like an invaluable resource. Indeed, the World Wide Web empowers the consumer, enabling him or her to obtain online reviews, or track online complaints, about any given brand or business. The problem, as highlighted in a recent Time Magazine report, is that online complaints and reviews are not always trustworthy. Time notes that many researchers and review sites are seeking to weed out "dubious" or "planted" reviews and illegitimate complaints, but the concern is that these deceitful reviews are far too prevalent. The article goes as far as to suggest that perhaps "online user ratings and reviews are less trustworthy than ever," a finding that has garnered the attention of Reputation Changer.
At the industry-leading reputation defense firm Reputation Changer, complaints and reviews are seen as serious business. Cliff Stein, the company's Chief Executive Officer, has weighed in on the issue in a new press statement. Responding to the Time article, Stein says, "This may seem like a lot of fuss over online consumer reviews, but the fact is these reviews are incredibly important, particularly for businesses." Continues Stein, "More and more consumers are basing their purchasing decisions on what they read on the Web. As a result, it is no exaggeration to say that these online reviews are make-or-break for many businesses."
In fact, Stein says that negative reviews or online complaints can destroy a business -- whether they are grounded in fact or not. "At Reputation Changer, complaints are regarded as utterly lethal," he affirms. "The ill effects are innumerable, and could range from lost sales and a diminished customer base to an increase in refund requests. Nobody wants to do business with a company that's beset with bad reviews, and nobody likes to think they've purchased products or services from a company with a lousy reputation. When a business encounters an online reputation management problem, it could prove disastrous.
Stein says that even a single negative review or online complaint could be all it takes, a point that finds affirmation in the Time article. Time quotes one consumer who recently told the New York Times that, if a company has 20 positive reviews and one complaint, he will err on the side of caution, and side with the lone complaint over the 20 positives. "Many consumers doubtless feel the same way," Stein remarks.
As for Time's observations about the inherently untrustworthy and duplicitous nature of online reviews, Stein could not agree more. "At Reputation Changer, complaints are rarely what they seem to be," he says. "If you have any doubts about it, consider this: We have worked with clients who have suffered from the consequences of negative reviews, planted by their business competitors. We have also encountered negative reviews posted by disgruntled employees."
Even the reviews that come from real consumers can be problematic. "Some consumers will post constructive feedback, which is admirable, but not everyone is so noble," Stein explains. "The fact is companies constantly receive feedback from consumers who are simply not reasonable, or who cannot be made happy, no matter what. Those are the complaints and the bad reviews that can really do damage."
The good news is that companies are not powerless against these complaints. "Reputation Changer is zealous for helping companies shine, and to take control of their bad reviews," Stein says. "We are driven by our passion for helping brands, as well as individuals, take control of the way they are presented online. We understand the problems posed by fake or overly negative reviews, and while we cannot prevent them from happening, we can help our clients respond to them effectively and neutralize the damage done."
Reputation Changer was founded in 2009 by a team of seasoned online marketing and sales experts. Currently led by CEO Cliff Stein, Reputation Changer has grown to include a large team of content writers, social media experts, and account executives. Reputation Changer's vision is for helping companies and individuals protect themselves against online defamation, and ultimately, to have some control over how they are portrayed on the Web. The agency has worked with medical practices, law firms, small business, Fortune 500 companies, private citizens, and even elected officials.