Here’s How and When You Can Delete Negative Reviews on Citysearch

November 04, 2014

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If your small business has been diligent to regularly scan and monitor all major review websites, then perhaps you have come across Citysearch and identified a profile, and possibly some reviews, about your business. Citysearch is one of the oldest review aggregators, and it is best known for curating a popular list called Best of Citysearch that compiles favorite businesses based on user votes.

(Check out: “4 Surefire Ways Citysearch Can Help Your Local Business”)

One of the most common complaints about Citysearch by businesses is that Citysearch has no liability for false or defamatory content posted against a business. To that end, we want to take a few moments to teach you how and when it makes sense for you to engage with Citysearch and submit a request to have a review removed from the website.

Does It Really Need to Be Removed?

Before you get your feathers all ruffled up, step back and take a moment to do your homework. Head to the most popular search engines and see if your Citysearch listing is prominent for common searches by name and by category.

If it is not in the first or second page of search for the most relevant search engines, then chances are the negative review has little to no impact on how your business performs and how it is perceived by potential customers. (Look on the bright side: here are 4 ways bad online reviews can be good for business.)

Would It Be Better to Post a Review Response?

It is well-known that a negative review in a mix of positive reviews only reinforces credibility across the board. If you happen to have a negative review among many good reviews, then it might be best to take time aside and draft a response that offers the reviewer both an explanation and remedy to his or her complaint.

By communicating sincere interest, you are not only delivering great customer service but you are also enhancing the credibility of your business in the eyes of potential customers using Citysearch to evaluate the value of doing business with your organization.

To respond to Citysearch reviews, you must create a user profile here. In addition to responding to reviews, an activated user profile on Citysearch provides your business with an array of functions that can enhance your profile and serve as an additional tool for online marketing.

If responding to or ignoring the review is not an option, Citysearch does have some instances where, according to their terms of use, you may request to have a review removed. Let’s visit each scenario to see if your review qualifies.

The Review Violates the Law

If the review is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, indecent, defamatory, vulgar, profane, obscene, libelous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable, then the review is out. Keep in mind that just because a review speaks negatively about your business, it is not necessarily in violation of the terms of use or the law. While vulgar, profane, or obscene are pretty straightforward, defamatory or objectionable may be more difficult to argue. 

The Review Is in Violation of Third-Party Privacy and/or Rights

This may include but not be limited to the right of privacy, right of publicity, copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, or any other intellectual property or proprietary rights. For example, the review contains the secret recipe for your fried chicken, which you have registered as intellectual property; or it has information such as the social security or credit card number of one of your team members or a customer.

The Review Accuses Others of Illegal Activity

If, for example, the review includes insinuations that your hotel or lodging facility endorses or facilitates illegal activities such as drugs or prostitution, then you may request a removal. Do note, however, that this relates only to endorsement of the activity. If the reviewer includes content that indicates such activities at your location but does not point to your business as endorsing such activities, then it is unlikely that the review will be removed.

The Review Contains Sexual Harassment

If the review speaks of your staff or other customers in ways that can be construed as sexual harassment, with verbiage that denigrates others because of their gender or sexual preference, then you may request a removal. This is true even if the focus of your venue may include risqué activities such as variety shows or uniforms aimed at highlighting physical characteristics, such as Hooters and Twin Peaks.

The Review Is Irrelevant

If the review is irrelevant to the goods and services provided by your business, then you can certainly request a removal. Additionally, if a review appears to belong to a different business and it is posted to yours in error, then you may appeal for a removal.

For example, if the review includes a detailed description of your massage services and your salon does not provide massage services, then it is entirely possible that the posting was in error or written with malice, making it qualify for removal per the terms of service.

The Review Is Deceptive and Creates Conflict of Interest

If it is evident that the review was solely written with the purpose of pointing customers to a competitor and there is clear evidence of intent, then you stand a chance to have the review removed. This is quite difficult to prove, but there are some instances where the review patterns for a particular business might suggest illegal behavior on the part of competitors. This includes reviews made by users with no other activity aside from the review in question, and strings of reviews written with similar linguistic nuances suggesting fraud.

The Review Is Purely Spam

If your business profile is full of reviews containing links to irrelevant business activities, then it is entirely possible that spam is taking place and the moderation team has not yet identified the problem. In such cases, a quick escalation should result in the removal of all the spammy reviews.

The Review Is Not Written in English

Before you send your request for removal, you may want to ask yourself if the review benefits you. If the review happens to have a high score and it is written in a common language such as Spanish, then we would suggest that you just let it be. If, on the other hand, the review is in a less traditional foreign language, has a bad score, and is impacting your business negatively, then consider requesting a removal.

Citysearch does not have an automated form to remove or flag reviews. In order to have a review removed, you must contact [email protected] and include a link to your profile, along with the date and text of the review in question. When requesting a removal, indicate which term of service appears to be violated, and provide evidence when applicable.

Citysearch is just one part of the puzzle but when handled properly it can have a significant impact on the way your business generates new leads. Take a moment to identify which review websites are most relevant to your market and industry. If you determine that Citysearch is part of the equation don’t hesitate to begin managing your customer engagement.

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