As attorneys with a law firm which has a significant online presence, and as lawyers who represent small and medium businesses, we are very much aware of the power of the online review and/or rating given by consumersIn fact, in this day and age, the positive or negative nature of a company’s reputation as declared by the internet can make or break your business.

For many businesses, it is almost impossible to avoid at least the occasional negative comment or even merely a lukewarm review. Many times, the information posted online is not accurate, or at least is presented out of context and/or incomplete. All businesses which encounter this face the same question: what can we do about this negative online review?   Hopefully, after you have had a bit of time to think about it, one of your next questions is: what should we do about this negative online review? We have developed a list of 5 key considerations and here is the third.

(3) Communicating with the company or website which hosts or published the troublesome review. This can be productive and worthwhile and is unlikely to have negative consequences. In our experience most review sites do make an effort to act professionally, but understandably it is impossible to manage the hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands reviews that the website may ultimately contain. If you – or your representative/attorney try hard enough, you can likely get someone’s attention and perhaps even instigate an investigation of the review.

Some reviews violate the posting company’s terms of service. Others may end up being removed if the publishing website cannot verify the legitimacy of the review. Another common occurrence leading to a deletion is if the person writing the review cannot be identified or at least confirmed as having truly been a customer or client. Finally, sometimes the entity hosting the review’s content or publishing it will remove it if an investigation leads to a conclusion that the review is incorrect or unfair.

Oh, and we should mention one other scenario, since, after all, we are lawyers . . . the threat of legal action may make such a review go away, independent of the factors above.