NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- There has been ample research to demonstrate that many consumers spend time reading online reviews—but one report suggests that a surprisingly small population of consumers actually spends time writing reviews. According to British travel site Travolution, nine out of 10 travelers consult online reviews before making any big travel-related purchases, yet the reviews that populate online travel sites are penned by a very small portion of the overall consumer population. This surprising finding has won the attention of Reputation Changer, an industry-leading reputation management and monitoring agency.
In a new statement to the press, Reputation Changer CEO Cliff Stein shares his comments on the Travolution report—and he says the implications are potentially dangerous for businesses and brands. "What this report indicates is that online reviews are massively influential among consumers—and yet that influence is being dictated by a small group of people," Stein explains. "This means that a single review can make or break a company; because there are so few reviews out there, a single opinion is statistically significant. One negative reviewer would mean little if his was one voice among a thousand, but, as this report makes plain, that lone reviewer is probably going to command a lot of attention."
Stein says that his company has dealt with all manner of online defamation within the travel community. "At Reputation Changer, scam accusations and online complaints are just as common, and just as dangerous, as bad reviews posted to sites like Travelocity and Yelp.com," he explains. "The impact of these defamatory posts can prove severe. For example, Reputation Changer has witnessed hotels brought to the brink of ruin, simply because one guest decides to write a nasty review—and that review just happens to be the only review to show up on the hotel's Google search results page."
This is not just a problem in the travel industry. "Consumers turn to online reviews to inform all of their major purchasing decisions, these days," Stein affirms. "As such, negative online reviews can prove disastrous for retailers, for restaurant owners, even for medical and legal practices."
Because a single negative review can so thoroughly poison a brand's online reputation, Stein says businesses are smart to actively seek out positive reviews. "A negative review will make much less of an impact if it joins a hundred or even a thousand positive, glowing reviews," Stein remarks. "As such, the pursuit of brand-enhancing reviews is far from unimportant. Businesses can protect their online reputation by ensuring that their best clients have ample opportunity to provide positive feedback."
For some businesses and brands, however, this approach might prove too little, too late. "Once a bad online review or a scam allegation makes its way onto the first page of a Google search results page, a lot of damage can happen," comments Stein. "It becomes imperative for businesses to combat online defamation as promptly as possible." He notes that companies like Reputation Changer offer an array of review-suppressing and brand-enhancing services. "What our company does cannot make bad reviews disappear, exactly, but it can render those reviews non-issues, burying them under mountains of positive, brand-enhancing content."
And that, according to Stein, is the ultimate goal of the online reputation management industry. "For the team at Reputation Changer, scam citations and defamatory reviews meet a swift and decisive response, as we seek to diminish their impact and present the client's business or brand as desirable and appealing among consumers," he concludes.
Reputation Changer was founded in 2009 by a team of direct response marketing professionals. The company quickly grew into the world's leading online reputation management and monitoring service; today, Reputation Changer provides an array of services in brand enhancement and negative listing suppression, to a client base that includes Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and individuals. At Reputation Changer, scam reports, online complaints, and negative reviews are treated as serious threats to the client's reputation, and as such they are responded to effectively and promptly.
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