So the idea of being able to remove a negative review of your business when it appears online is somewhat of a holy grail for marketers and PR people around the world. There are certainly some conventional channels through which one can try to go, such as contacting the person who left the review or begging the site that posted it. But these methods often fail because the person posting a bad review often doesn’t check their mail on the review site, or simply doesn’t want to help you. And the review sites will usually not want to remove reviews that they see as valid. That is unless you pay them an extortionate fee.
The online review world is a well-known joke at this point. Much like their Mafia Don forefathers, review site owners make their living by putting business owners into a difficult position and then offering a solution for a price. It is easy to have little sympathy for sites that operate in this manner (almost all of them), but having said that, the technique I am about to describe is still definitely Blackhat…
Removing reviews by legitimate customers will always be an uncool thing to do, and you’d be much better off by focusing your efforts on why these people were writing bad reviews in the first place. That said, if you do suspect a competitor of deliberately writing bad reviews of your company, or do find a terrible review that is simply inaccurate, and is damaging your business, then feel free to give this trick a whirl.
1. The first thing you need to do, as soon as you start or join a new company, is head over to Yelp.com and write a review of that company there. Any review written anywhere on the internet after the date will be in your firing range.
2. When you find a bad review, anywhere on the internet, and it is dated after the review you posted on Yelp, copy the text to your clipboard.
3. Head over to yelp, find the old review you posted and click “edit”.
4. Past in the negative review in the place of the old review you did. Then edit the copy a bit. The aim is to make the copy seem slightly more positive than it is in the real review. Then save the review. You will notice that the date stamp in Yelp has not changed.
5. You now contact the website that hosts the real bad review and send them a link to your Yelp review. Say something along the lines of “We are having some trouble with competitors deliberately posting bad reviews of our services/products. We believe that one has been posted on your site. You can see that they have lazily taken other reviews, made them seem more negative, and posted them on your site. See this link to a review posted weeks/months/years ago.”
6. Hopefully, the team at the review site will click the link and check the date on the Yelp review, realize it is older than their review, and has been copied, and will pull down the review on their site.
When I have used this trick to pull down reviews it has worked around 70% of the time. The important thing to remember is not to overuse it. The people who run the review sites will grow suspicious quickly, especially now that a lot of people might start doing it. I recommend just using it on the worst, most prominent reviews that come in — and preferably only if those reviews are truly unfair… otherwise, you’re just being a bit of a douche.
Do you have any cool tips on review management or anything else? Let us know!