by Peter Wilson | President
Fake negative reviews are creating headaches for businesses all around the US. Fake negative “Google Reviews” are especially frustrating as the review score (1-5 stars) is a determining factor in how well a business ranks in Google search results and map listings.
Even our company received a fake 1-star Google review that simply stated: “I contacted you and no one replied.” The name of the reviewer was the same as a very famous NBA basketball coach. Our response was, “Classic example of a fake review. Contact us at [our email address] if you want to have a meaningful discussion of your marketing needs. 😳 Read all our other reviews… they’re real and speak for themselves.”
Lack of follow-up seems to be a common theme among fake negative reviews. We recently saw one that stated, “Sent these guys a request for a quote regarding…never even received the courtesy of a reply…” These fake reviews, and reviewers, seem to lack originality. When we investigated the reviewer who left the review above, we found that they had left an identical review for a different business. Certainly someone would not leave a legitimate review for two companies that matched word for word.
What should you do about fake negative reviews?
First and foremost, be aware. Every business should have a system for monitoring their online reviews, ideally daily. Google Reviews can be set up so you get daily email notifications of all new reviews. If you’re a business owner, make sure you are copied on all reviews, good or bad.
If you see any negative review for your business, investigate it immediately. Figure out if it is from a real customer. If it is and they have a legitimate complaint, contact them and fix it. You should only ask the customer to change their rating of your business AFTER you have fixed their issue.
If you determine that the review is fake, we recommend replying to it and pointing out the fake elements of the review. Look up the reviewer and see if they only leave negative reviews and if they’ve left an identical review for another business.
Here is a guide from Google on “How to remove reviews from your Business Profile on Google.” Warning, this process will not work for every fake negative review. Google has very stringent guidelines for removing reviews. Also, this department at Google appears to be severely understaffed. Be patient and be persistent.
Get More Positive Reviews
The very best way to combat fake negative reviews is to get more legitimate positive reviews from your customers, burying the negative review in a pile of positive ones. Make it easy for customers to leave a review for your business by providing them with QR codes and links to your Google Business Profile reviews.
We offer “ReviewsOf.us, a review and reputation management platform for businesses that monitors reviews daily and makes it easy for customers to leave reviews for you. ReviewsOf.us Reviews & Reputation Management service