To be successful, your business must maintain an excellent reputation. In the old days, it might take months or years before a dissatisfied customer or client could affect your reputation in the community by word of mouth. But today, online review sites enable the instantaneous spreading of negative reviews, which can have an immediate effect on your bottom line. Negative online reviews can destroy a business. Unfortunately, sometimes a disgruntled customer will post a false disparaging review purely out of spite, or a malicious competitor will pose as a dissatisfied customer of your business and post a fake review on Yelp, Healthgrades, RateMDs, Glassdoor, RipOffReport, or any other of the plentiful online review sites that exist today.
At BerlikLaw, we help businesses and individuals manage their online reputations. If the first thing that comes up when someone Googles your name is a blog or website dedicated to spreading false and malicious lies about you or your business, you have a serious problem and should takes steps to address it. Before you contact an Online Reputation Management ("ORM") company, many of which engage in unethical "black hat" tactics and have no Internet or libel lawyers on staff, consider scheduling a consultation with us for a fraction of the cost. We will help you monitor your online branding and reputation, identify content that may be hurting your business, and discuss legal strategies that may be effective in removing the damaging material.
We can often arrange for the removal of negative reviews without having to initiate legal action, particularly when the reviews are defamatory. Removing defamatory online reviews quickly and discretely is often the best way to address these issues. Resolving such matters out of court--typically by negotiating a retraction, apology (public or private), and/or payment of some fair amount of monetary damages--allows us to stay clear of unwanted media attention and publicity. Of course, when a false and defamatory review has caused real and substantial harm to a business, sometimes the best option is to go to court and obtain not only removal of the harmful online content but compensatory and punitive damages against the wrongdoer. When litigation is warranted, we have the resources and experience needed to achieve an optimal outcome at a minimum of expense, even when the identity of the person posting the defamatory online content is unknown.
Not every negative review can be silenced. Many negative reviews are a legitimate expression of the consumer's experience with your business, and the First Amendment protects the right of that person to express his or her opinions about your company online, even when using a fake name. Nobody's perfect, and sooner or later you're going to have a dissatisfied customer who's going to go online and complain. Sometimes we can arrange for the removal of the negative content and sometimes we can't (our options will depend on a variety of factors too numerous to list here), but we can always offer advice on how to deal with the situation most effectively to minimize the harm caused to your reputation and business interests.