Hiring a disreputable SEO or reputation manager can actually create an online reputation problem.
by Jonathan Gilliam, Momentum Factor
One of our online reputation protection clients recently forwarded me an email from a company offering to eliminate a bad review they found on ComplaintsBoard.com for a few hundred dollars. The well-written email included a link to the review and a price for “totally fixing” it.
We immediately recognized this as part of a growing scam. The primary clue was the negative review had been posted just days before the email was sent. It had no comments or history and was not likely to rank in a Google search. We instructed our client to ignore it as no one will likely ever see it and any response could only make it worse.
Say hello to a new online scam business model: post bad reviews … then offer to “clean” them up. All the scammer would have to do is remove the post — no more bad review.
Unfortunately paying a scammer one time would not be the end of it. The scammer would now know that the company is unsophisticated and willing to pay anyone to protect their name and would then be in the target zone for more negative reviews and additional “offers” to clean them up. Suddenly all sorts of nastiness would begin sprouting up online, turning a non-problem into a real problem.
It’s digital extortion, with a smile.
NEVER respond to an unsolicited pitch for ORM reputation or SEO services. Most of these are foreign-based and illegitimate. Even simple SEO pitches should be avoided — a company offering to “rank your company higher in Google” likely does nothing to help and worse, often use black-hat SEO tactics that could actually get your company banned from Google, a potential disaster in the waiting.
The internet can provide a voice for folks who are ripped off by disreputable people. But very often it creates victims of unfounded criticism, slander and fake “solutions.” With something as important as your reputation, always go with a pro.