Why would anyone want to give your business a negative fake review? This is a question I initially pondered. I quickly surmised it was from shill accounts that are made to provide positive fake reviews for paying, unethically minded businesses. If you have suffered collateral damage then you are in luck!
Here is a method we found to be HIGHLY effective.
STEP 1: Determine If that Negative Review Is Fake.
Make sure it is a fake review, not a real review from a paying customer. This is usually easy because you have a database of your customers, jobs, along with detailed notes (or at least you should!). If there is slightest doubt, try to amicably approach this customer with the intent of a) listening to their feedback and b) make it right for the customer.
STEP 2: Flag Their Negative Fake Review.
Have other businesses victimized by the shill along with your Elite Yelp! customer flag it; your customers will be happy to help your company, the company they love!
STEP 3: Post FAKE REVIEW followed by the evidence and explanation why it is fake.
One of two things will happen:
a) Yelp! will delete the shill account. We LOVE when this happens because they are not able to inflict undeserved harm on other honest businesses just to make their account seem real. My guess is that they have a bot that searches for certain keywords in the reviews. “Fake Review” apparently warrants a closer look for Yelp!.
b) The shill account owner will remove the review to prevent their shill account from being deleted. Yeah, it kind of sucks they get to keep their account. But, at least you were successful in removing your fake negative review.
STEP 4: (Optional) Call businesses to complain.
See who the yelp reviews for-hire shill has given 5-star reviews. Call those businesses kindly asking them to have the folks they hired to remove your fake negative reviews. Some of those owners will apologize, some will deny, but they will talk to the folks they hire. After all, who wants to be harassed? Repeat often as needed 🙂
Using deceit to garner business is not only an indecent thing to do, it is also NOT the correct mindset to run a successful business. I like the quote by Warren Buffet, “Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre”
P.S. For a history of our experience with fake reviews, check out Our Wild Ride in the Review Machine
P.S.S. Yelp loves us, Yelp Reviews