Scam Reports and Defamatory Reviews Hurt Realtors, Small Businesses
There is a new website, called Realtor-Complaints.com, that claims to offer consumers a chance to grade and evaluate real estate professionals — but according to a recent ABC News report, this site has many realtors concerned about online defamation. The report notes that more and more consumers are using online review sites to help them guide their purchasing decisions, which means that online ratings and reviews are potentially make-or-break, not just for realtors but for vendors, contractors, and small business owners in all industries. This development has won the attention of Reputation Changer. The leading name in online reputation management, Reputation Changer has offered a press statement, commenting on the ABC report.
“This new site is only the latest in a long line of online platforms that claim to offer helpful consumer services, but ultimately do more harm than good,” comments Cliff Stein, the Chief Executive Officer of Reputation Changer. “While these kinds of rating and review sites may seem advantageous to consumers, they can be absolutely lethal to businesses and to working professionals, including but not limited to real estate pros.”
Stein says that, because consumers place so much trust in these review sites, the information provided on them effectively determines a realtor or business owner’s online reputation. “At Reputation Changer, scam allegations, reports of fraudulence, and simple consumer complaints are all seen as major risks for businesses and for professionals. Take this realtor complaints site, for instance. The site claims to have influence over more than three million visitors each month — and if that is true, then a bad report, posted to this site, could potentially end a realtor’s career.”
The Reputation Changer CEO continues by noting that not all of the reviews posted to these sites are honest or above-board; in fact, Realtor-Complaints.com has been widely rejected as an outright scam. “Sometimes, a realtor or a business owner will be beset by legitimate consumer complaints, but these usually take the form of constructive criticism,” says Stein. “The trouble is, these defamatory reviews can be planted by rival business owners, by disgruntled employees, and by consumers who simply refuse to be reasonable. Those are the ones that can prove absolutely lethal.”
The Reputation Changer executive goes on to say that realtors and business owners cannot completely negate the risk of bad reviews or of online defamation, but they can prepare themselves to take action against it. The first step, he says, is regular online reputation monitoring. “It is critical for business owners to be aware of what people are saying about them on these online review sites,” he offers. “Reputation management begins with reputation monitoring.” Stein says that realtors are urged to keep tabs on sites like Realtor-Complaints.com, while other business owners may benefit from regularly perusing Yelp.com or Angie’s List reviews. “Setting up Google alerts is also a good idea,” Stein says.
He notes that, when an online reputation disaster does strike, business owners can find resources at companies like Reputation Changer. “We cannot prevent bad reviews from happening, but we can provide our clients with the tools and strategies they need to free their names from online defamation,” affirms Cliff Stein. “Indeed, at Reputation Changer, scam rumors and bad reviews are met with quick and decisive action, as we do everything in our power to restore our clients to positions of dignity and repute.”