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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remove Rip Off Reports| How to Manage Your Online Reputation

Organic Ranking Systems | Lessons Learned About Rip Off Report | Post 1

I first encountered Rip Off Report while working with a client who wanted to do something about a bad review his company received online. Since I have successfully dealt with reputation management issues in the past, I assumed that this one would be no different. I was wrong. Rip Off Report is a site with serious authority. My client had a static website and no information on the web about his company. For three years the only thing that would come up on a Google search for his company name was Rip Off Report.

This is a company who has loyal customers and zero complaints against it with the Better Business Bureau. I knew that using social media marketing tools and outputting good content that represents what the company is all about was not going to be enough to bury Rip Off. Oh, I should mention that my client first looked into Rip Off Report's policy on removing false and damaging reports. It is shocking but a business can only defend itself with a rebuttal (which is not a good idea because like in my client's case this meant that now rip off report ranked number one and number two when searched on Google) or pay to join Rip Off Report's own Corporate Advocacy Program where the business owner must accept responsibility, reimburse the customer and pay Rip Off an unknown but supposedly steep fee. Doesn't this seem like extortion? It certainly isn't ethical but it is legal.

I consulted a colleague of mine who's opinion on ethical matters I trust very much, Lynn Brewer. You know Ms. Brewer as "The Enron Whistleblower". She is also the author of books including;
Confessions of an Enron Executive: A Whistleblower's Story, Managing Risks for Corporate Integrity: How to Survive an Ethical Misconduct Disaster and many others. Lynn commented about our situation with Rip Off Report,

Sadly, opinion has replaced fact which can cause great distress. I know that there is Freedom of Speech but there are plenty of court cases beginning to create some precedence for “cyberbulling”. I would agree that this appears to be “extortion”. I would contact the Attorney General of the state where is located."

She also recommended a book by Daniel Solove, titled “The future of reputation: gossip, rumor, and privacy on the internet”.

Stay tuned for a review of "The future of reputation: gossip, rumor, and privacy on the internet" and for the solution to our Rip Off Report problem.

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