DENVER, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In June of 2012, InternetReputation.com, an award-winning Internet reputation management firm located in the United States, announced a new strategy for business owners struggling with the impact of negative online reviews. With this new strategy in place, the company hopes to assist businesses who face a serious economic impact from these online reviews, but who have received little to no assistance from Yelp for this ongoing problem.
Why it Matters
Internet reviews are designed to provide consumers with information about a company or its products so they can make an informed decision based on the experiences of previous consumers. According to an article published in Advances in Consumer Research, online reviews are particularly important for consumers with no familiarity with the firm. Those who have some inkling of the firm's reputation are less likely to be swayed, but those who are searching for firms based on price and who have no prior history with the firm are likely to be deeply influenced by the information they read.
Research conducted in 2007 suggests that consumers were willing to pay at least 20 percent more for those goods and services that received an excellent or 5-star review. As this statistic demonstrates, positive reviews can have a deep and long-lasting impact on the profitability of a company. The impact of negative reviews, however, might be even more significant. In fact, according to research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the impact of 1-star reviews is far greater that the impact of 5-star reviews. If consumers are willing to pay 20 percent more for positive reviews and negative reviews are more powerful, it's clear that negative reviews could have a significant impact on a company's bottom line.
Yelp attempts to differentiate itself from other search engines by requiring consumers to create a profile. Instead of simply writing one review of a product or service they particularly like or dislike with no impact whatsoever on their own personal reputations, Yelp attempts to tie reviewers to the information they write. There is some evidence that suggests that this approach has a moderating effect on the reviews consumers provide on Yelp. For example, according to an article published by the Berkeley Electronic Press in 2010, 71.2 percent of Citysearch reviewers wrote a single review, and only 9.2 percent of Yelp reviewers wrote only one review. This article also reports that productive reviewers on all reviewing websites studied were much less likely to provide either 1-star or 5-star reviews. Put plainly, reviewers on Yelp review more frequently, and they tend to craft more moderate reviews.
Unfortunately, this might backfire for some companies. Prolific Yelp reviewers, who are known for taking moderate stances, might seem reasonable or even reliable. While it might be easy for consumers to ignore negative reviews from writers who only create one or two reviews, it might be difficult for these consumers to ignore well-crafted negative reviews from a writer that seems both reasonable and reliable.
Companies that attempt to remove reviews by contacting Yelp directly are likely to experience extreme frustration. The company does not take legal responsibility for the information provided in reviews, and the company will not remove reviews unless they violate the company's terms of service. These terms are clearly skewed toward the reviewer, leaving a business owner with few options.
A New Approach
Since Yelp is unlikely to remove negative reviews, InternetReputation.com has developed a practical approach based on extensive knowledge of how consumers run searches and use the information they find.
According to current research, Google is responsible for 71.59 percent of the search engine market. As a result, companies that maintain strict control over the information provided by Google tend to control their online reputations. Companies can do this by controlling where their information lands in search engine results. According to a study published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Google researchers base their decisions on link rank. The higher the link is placed in search results, the more reliable it seems to readers. By pushing negative reviews to the bottom of results, few readers will see these negative reviews, and those who do see those results might be less likely to believe in their validity.
InternetReputation.com provides a significant number of case studies demonstrating the efficacy of this approach on their website. They have extensive experience in dealing with Yelp and helping business owners protect their online reputation.
Media Contact: Public Relations, InternetReputation.com, 800-758-9012, firstname.lastname@example.org
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