When you think of any scam these days, it's the internet that comes to mind. If you check your email right now, you'll probably find out that you've won the lottery in some foreign country and all you have to do is send your bank account numbers to the sender of that email, and once that's done, your unclaimed millions will be deposited directly into your bank account by this unknown sender who is merely being neighborly. Sounds legit, right? Wrong. But if you believe in this scam, your last two bucks will be spent in some other destination.
Now imagine you're not an individual, but a company. Your two bucks is now real capital and someone out there wants a piece of it. Well, they could be doing it because they're a competitor and when they say they want a piece of you, they mean they want a piece of your market share. In that case, the options available at their fingertips in the internet environment are numerous. Actually they are limitless if the interested party is not a reputable competitor; and let's face it, many are willing to resort to less than honest tactics to take a chunk out of a legitimate company.
This is precisely the case facing the Optimum7 brand starting this morning (October 20, 2010). Several negative postings of exactly the same copy have been posted on complaint boards in an obvious attempt to damage the reputation of Optimum7. Though the poster, (using different names for the same exact "review") was clever enough to get their misinformation to visible places, he/she wasn't sophisticated enough to hide much else. How do we know? Well, here at Optimum7, we provide valuable Reputation Management services for our clients for situations exactly like this one. As such, based on our experience battling all levels of sophistication when it comes to scams for our own clients, we are in a unique position to deal with these unsavory tactics.
Unfortunately, the online reputation of your legitimate, respectable business is not only vulnerable to unethical competitors, but it is wide open to anyone with a grudge, such as an ex-employee. Due to the real-time tools abundantly available in the form of blogs, content management systems like WordPress, and RSS feeds, one negative "complaint" can multiply into hundreds in a few short days. Other sites consider these "posts" as fresh content, so they pick them up and therefore the scam gets circulated around the web, making it even more difficult to control or remove it before your company is unduly affected by these underhanded attacks.
However, all is not lost … here's a list of what to do in case this happens to your business:
1) Contact the site where the suspected spam was posted. Explain what happened, making sure they know you are being honest, and honestly trying to protect your falsely maligned business. Ask that they remove the negative post by explaining exactly why you know it is a spam complaint specifically written to hurt your company's reputation.
2) Make sure to respond directly to the negative comment on the site/sites it was posted so others can see your response. This will show your integrity by showing that you care about your reputation, and will help counteract any negative impressions made on visitors to these sites. Call the spammer out with transparency by asking the poster of the "complaint" to contact you to resolve the issue.
At Optimum7, we know exactly what to do and how to reputation crisis situations. Nobody wants negative and unfair complaints. Contact us, we can help.