Online review platforms, like Google and Yelp, function as one of the most powerful ways to connect with consumers. Online reviews, as immaterial as they seem, act as a direct line to your customers buying behavior, cultivating customer relationships, and getting customer feedback vital to improving your business. Approximately 93% of consumers look up customer reviews before they decide to make a purchase or sign on for a service. In addition, 40% of those potential shoppers only need to see 1 to 3 reviews before they form an opinion about your brand. You may ask yourself: Do my online reviews reflect my business? And, are my negative reviews even “real”? Here are the common violations that qualify online reviews for removal. Let’s go!
Violations that Qualify Online Reviews for Removal:
- You’ve been spammed! Spam or fake content may occasionally pop up on your business review pages. Rest assured, online directories are taking measures to mitigate fake reviews using automatic filters on local business listings. However, it is difficult for these online directories to intercept fake reviews every time. For more information on how to spot these kinds of reviews, check out our post 9 Ways You Can Identify A Fake Review
- “Umm… Wrong Business.” Sometimes, a customer is so distraught by their dismay, that they accidentally left a lengthy review for the wrong business. It’s obvious once you spot these reviews because they clearly don’t refer to your products, services, or any personal experience. At this juncture, it’s your choice. You can either politely respond to the review and ask them to remove it or easily dispute the review using Company Review Solutions.
- Multiple Bad Reviews, Same Individual. Occasionally, one devious individual will create various accounts with the intention of leaving multiple reviews for one business. Has this happened to you? Alternatively, they could reach out to friends and use their accounts to carry out their mischief. Either way, one person posting negative reviews using multiple accounts is in direct violation of any review platform guidelines. Time to dispute it.
- Reviews from Competitors. Some competitors get a little desperate when they feel threatened by your success. So, in an attempt to damage your business reputation and poach your customer base, they lash out with a negative review. You may want to perform a local search on businesses similar to yours to see if the same person has posted similar reviews to their business pages as well. To learn how to deal with these kinds of reviews, learn about 7 Ways To Deal With Reviews Written By Your Competitors.
- Inappropriate Language, Profanity, Racial Terminology, or Bullying. Reviews with inappropriate language, racial slurs, or threats should be disputed and removed! Review platforms have no tolerance for explicit content, hate speech, any kind of harassment, or bullying. Moreover, review platforms have a stringent content policy with various restrictive guidelines that protect businesses from these threats.
- Inappropriate Images. Reviews can be submitted in the form of photos or attach photos to support the text. Much like the violation in #5, if the images contain pornography, explicit content, hate speech, any kind of harassment, or is used to bully an individual or business, it qualifies for immediate removal. Reviews with imagery should only reflect the customer experience had at the actual location of the reviewed business.
- Leaving Reviews at Businesses Not Visited. There are many brick-and-mortar businesses that have multiple locations. If a bad experience occurs at another location, there is a small likelihood that they post a bad review at the wrong location. Even worse, the reviewer may take out their frustration and post a review for each location. This is another case of one person, many reviews echoing the same experience. Yes, this can harm a business’ reputation. Thankfully, this is a violation of the review platform’s guidelines and can be filed for removal.
- Reviews That Don’t Refer to An Actual Experience. Every so often, your business will receive online reviews that don’t refer to an actual experience. This could be the result of a review from a click farm, bad review bots, or someone hired to maliciously post about your business. Regardless, if the review doesn’t directly relate to a legitimate customer experience at that business location, the review is in violation of the community guidelines and should be removed.
- Reviews That Contain Personal Information. We’ve all been warned not to provide personal information to people we don’t know. So, when someone offers up personal information inside a personal review, that can cause all sorts of problems. Personal information left in the open can make an individual victim to identity theft, other forms of fraud, and bullying – to name a few. Review platforms have a responsibility to protect their users and will immediately remove reviews that disclose personal information about anyone.
- Libelous Content. Libelous content is the written form of slander. This kind of falls into the same category as #5. However, when someone has committed a libel act is “defamation expressed in the form of print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form (Cornell Law)”. This is in violation of most review platform community guidelines and can be removed.
- Reviews Not Containing Text. The whole purpose of an online review is to provide feedback about an experience, a service, or a product. When a business receives an online review with no text, it does not support the rating, good or bad. Therefore, online revies absent of feedback qualify for removal.
- Reviews from Current Employees, Former Employees, or Personal Relationships. Negative reviews left by current employees, former employees, or family members is a direct conflict of interest. In our experience, all three of these offenders make reference to the likeness of the owner or intend to harm the reputation of the business. Typically, these reviews do not refer to an actual business experience. Other times, they are a result of a personal vendetta the reviewer may have against the owner or business.
Many online reviews violate review platform community guidelines. Reading up on community guidelines on each review platform will keep you in-the-know and help you protect the reputation of your business.
If you are looking for a way to remove illegitimate online reviews without the headache, we can help you now! Company Review Solutions is a web-based application that helps businesses like yours remove online reviews that are in violation of community guidelines. Our software AI can scan your online review pages and find illegitimate content. Then, we automate the dispute, removal submission, and removal process. Easy, headache free – all at the click of a button.
For more information, visit us at www.companyreviewsolutions.com . For a more in-depth look at Company Review Solutions’ review removal platform and how it can help your business, Book a 30-minute Live Demo with an analyst now!
Thank you so much for reading about the violations that qualify online reviews for removal. We look forward to helping you protect your bottom line!