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U.S. Businesses to Spend $700M on Fixing Bad Reviews

As the number of customer opinions on the Web increases, so does the amount of money being spent by businesses on managing these opinions.

That’s according to a recent report by Wall Street Journal (“Hoping to Fix Bad Reviews? Not So Fast”), which cites a BIA/Kelsey study saying that small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. are expected to spend $700 million over the next year on online reputation management tools, platforms, and services.

The forecast serves to highlight once again the importance of user-generated content on the Internet – and the urgency for businesses to respond to such content.

The WSJ report also cautioned business owners about paying for services that promise to remove negative reviews on selected review sites, including Ripoff Report and Yelp.

Daniel Holloway, the manager of local business outreach at Yelp, which has about 27,300 active local-business accounts, says reviews can only be removed by Yelp’s own user-support team. About 27 million user-generated reviews were posted on the site between January and March, up 59 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to Yelp’s most recent quarterly report.

The number of businesses currently monitoring online reviews posted by their customers is already up by 24 percent, but according to BIA/Kelsey, just 5 percent actually pay for reputation management services.

To encourage more effective (and more affordable) management of bad reviews – and avoid falling into the sales trap and questionable tactics of some companies who cannot possibly deliver on what they’re guaranteeing – the report emphasized the importance of following up on all complaints. “Rather than becoming defensive, listen to what unhappy customers are saying and make changes if necessary.”

Businesses are also advised to look beyond Yelp and regularly track all the important review sites, including social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google+ Local (formerly Google Places). Luckily – ahem, ahem! – our new app, ReviewTrackers, is designed to do exactly that….

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

Discussion

  1. Creative Marketer

    I remember attending a seminar which encouraged teachers to embrace a new philosophy and implement it into their way of work. The amphitheater was packed with teachers doing their job well, and who tried to implement this new way of work (which was time-consuming, pointless, theoretically unstructured) and they had a hard time doing it. At the end of the seminar, teachers began throwing questions at the presenters – real, actual problem-questions they’ve met in their practice.

    Funny thing happened: the presenters got angry at teachers. The only concrete answer they could offer was “It’s difficult, but it can be done.” You could see how insulted they were by teachers’ questions and how frustrated they were.

    And this got me thinking: instead of actually hearing those questions which were coming from the field directly, instead of praising those people who tried and actually thought thru the whole concept; they were actually angry and frustrated and felt insulted. I felt like they missed the whole point – and, it could’ve been such a productive meeting/seminar.

    from then on, I’m always trying like crazy to see the other side of the coin whenever I get a bad review (which luckily rarely happens). I hope this little parallel is not completely off the topic – I just tried to illustrate a positive aspect of something generally bad.

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