Our sales department talks to hundreds of potential customers each day. Bad blogs are a re-occurring theme with our customers and a huge concern. We believe that the large majority of negative blogs, as much as 90% or more, are from disgruntled past employees. The few remaining blogs are from actual customers and sometimes your competitors.
Under current law, there is almost nothing you can do against false and slanderous blogs. Anyone can post an anonymous complaint on a number of sites, accusing your company of scams and fraud. If you choose to send a threatening letter or attempt to take legal action on the company that hosts the blog, such as
Ripoff Report, you will get a letter back stating that they are fully within their rights to host this information and that if you proceed with legal action, they will prevail and you will be responsible for their legal fees incurred to fight you. They are right in this regard. Unlike information published in a newspaper or TV station, these comments are not considered libel, and thus the companies that provide this space for users are not responsible for the content on their sites.
Furthermore, most ex-employees and competitors register on such sites with fake email addresses, or addresses that do not reflect their true identity. Attempting to trace fake addresses is not only hard to do, but will typically lead to nowhere. Your time is better spent addressing these blogs in 2 ways:
Take on the blog directly. Respond directly to their false accusations stating that this is a blog is fraudulent. Explain how your company operates, and disprove the accusation. Be honest and sincere in your reply and point out that the original complaint is from an ex-employee. This is also a forum for you to state some of the benefits of working with your company, so enjoy the free advertising! Be sure to include your contact information, which will distinguish you as sincere and honest in contrast to the anonymous blogger.
Put your company domain name in the Google search box and see what shows up on the 1st page (most people don’t search beyond the 1st page). Typically you’ll see your company, the blog, some local directories like Merchant Circle, Yelp and others. Now go to the 2nd page and see what’s there. Do the same for your competitors and see where they are showing on the 1st and 2nd page. Repeat this process until you see which directories and blogs show up most frequently. This means that these pages rank well in organic search. If you can list your company on these pages, creating profiles, etc, then you can “push” the bad blog out of the search results. Sign up for these directories and blogs and add content about your business. Over time these postings will show up and displace the negative blogs. If your competitors or ex-employees continue to add information, you will likely have to move solely to step 1 above. Don’t hesitate to addresses the false blogs directly.
We believe that over time the laws will change, so keep track if any lost business. You may decide to sue this blogger for damages in the future. Keep in mind that most hosting companies keep data for a very long time and some forever. Much of the accounting for your lawsuit will always be available.
There are many ways to find the name of the actual person using services such as www.emailfinder.com and if that doesn’t work, private investigators working with law enforcement can often easily find who is actually behind the email address of the blogger.