If your business has been complained about on Ripoff Report, you know how frustrating the site is.
Originally, Ed Magdeson created Ripoff Report in 1998 to give consumers a place to voice their frustration with businesses that have somehow wronged them. It’s like the Better Business Bureau, but much more public and much less business-oriented.
Consumers can post their complaint on Ripoff Report by simply supplying a name, email address, and physical address. This makes it easy for someone to fake their information and post bogus reviews.
Once a consumer posts a Ripoff Report, they are redirected to let them contact a government authority, a lawyer, a consumer advocate, or a member of the media.
The company states on their site that they will never remove reviews on Ripoff report. This includes when a claim has been declared patently false.
They allow the original complainant and the company in question to post responses, but this will usually devolve into a shouting match and doesn’t change the original post.
Google will show information from Ripoff Report fairly in their searches because it meets their criteria. They don’t vet most sites for truth, so it’s not important how much of Ripoff Report is truthful and how much is false.
If your business has been listed on Ripoff Report, there’s a really good chance that that report will show very high in Google’s search results when someone searches your business’s name.
What the consumer sees on Google is a Ripoff Report headline that reads something like this: “Complaint Review: John Watson aka SLUMLORD - Bristol New York.” (Not a real headline. Name and places changed to protect the innocent.)
As you can see, the Google listing is scathing. There is no middle ground or attempt to deal with facts.
Even negative newspaper headlines aren’t as incendiary.
The issue is that there is no proof at this point for the searcher. Just a headline that sounds really bad for the landlord without any backup data.
Ripoff Report is all negative reviews. They don’t post positive reviews, so everything on there is a negative report on someone. It hasn’t been substantiated or even investigated by the site.
Ripoff Report offers services where they will mediate or investigate a complaint. They don’t guarantee any resolution and they, apparently, won’t take down the complaint if it’s found to be false.
They will, however, charge you thousands for these services with no guarantee of any results.
There are really only two ways to “remove” reviews on Ripoff Report.
The first is to go to court and have the complaint declared invalid. You can submit that court documentation to Google. They will remove the link to the complaint so that it doesn’t show up when people search. That’s an expensive and lengthy process.
The best and least expensive way to make Ripoff Reports less important in your world is to push the Ripoff Report down in Google searches.
This is done by posting new content that speaks well of your business and promotes your brand.
Your blog - Put a blog page on your website and start posting to it regularly. Those posts will show up when someone searches your brand or a related content.
Regular posts would be weekly or semi-weekly. The content should be SEO-optimized and informative.
Guest blogging - Getting your blogs published on someone else’s blog, with your byline, will make it easier to move the Ripoff Report down the page on Google searches.
Finding places to guest post takes some research. There are high-profile sites, like Medium.com, that are excellent, but will require that you apply and get permission. The faster path is to find other businesses similar to yours that have blogs. Write to them and ask if they accept guest posts. Many people will as it pushes up their blog without them having to work. Make sure that there’s a link between your site and theirs for more SEO bump.
Many of the other things that you are simply making sure that the SEO on your website is completely optimized.
Very often, you can do most of this yourself. You can look at your site and keep it growing well.
Optimize the copy on the page - Make sure that the words that are visible on your website are accurate and will attract Google’s attention. Your name, your location, and more should all be on the page.
Metadata - Every page has metadata that Google reads to see what the page is about. Ensure that that metadata is correct and that it’s kept up to date. Don’t use the same metadata on every page. Google will simply ignore all but one of the pages.
Images - The images on your page are important. Google reads that “alt text” to know what the image is. Make sure that the image is relevant to your business and that the alt text explains what the image is. When someone does an image search, your image will show up and you might get a click out of it.
Buy Google Ads - Paid advertising is a great way to get your business at the top of the page. If you have a national business, it might be cost prohibitive, but for a local business, you can control what’s at the top of the search page by purchasing Google ads.
Ripoff Report is the bane of many business's existence. Since it’s user-generated content, they aren’t legally liable for anything that’s posted on their site. You can’t force them to take anything down.
The solution is to simply make Ripoff Report irrelevant by pushing out a lot of great, positive content. It will take time and it’s frustrating, but reputation management companies will tell you, it works.
Hiring a reputation management company can save you a lot of pain and hassle. If you can afford to pay for the help, a reputation management company, they will do everything above for you and much more. Many of them can make a Ripoff Report disappear from Google searches in weeks.