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Managing Your TripAdvisor Reviews

For businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries, managing your TripAdvisor reviews is one of the most important things you can do for your customer reputation management. TripAdvisor is geared towards consumers, so they can provide reviews and ratings for hotels, destinations, restaurants and more. Many business owners would rather boycott the website than encourage it, but they can actually leverage the popularity of sites like TripAdvisor and make it work for them.

By claiming your business listing on TripAdvisor you’re able to monitor and manage your rating and review from the inside. Below are some tips for maintaining a good score.

  • Respond Quickly

Responding to your TripAdvisor reviews is of course important to maintaining that customer relationship and creating an environment for that customer to become an ambassador for your business. Responding quickly will ensure positive reviewers are further impressed with your business and negative reviewers receive the response to their concerns in an efficient manner. Prospective customers will view this favorably.

  • Be Professional 

This goes without saying, of course you should always maintain a polite and professional manner while conducting business. That being said, negative reviews can sometimes bring the worst out in us. Try to avoid feeling personally attacked if you do have a negative review, and consider the appropriate response to manage this customer’s claims.

  • TripAdvisor Comment Cards

Not every business will do this but it’s important to encourage all of your customers to rate and review your business online. Too often business owners will become disgruntled at review sites for creating an outlet for negative reviews to populate. This is true, usually a customer will only think to review if they’ve had a bad or extremely good experience, but what about the vast majority that simply have a pleasant experience or don’t think to review? These comment cards will solve this problem and potentially improve your score.

  • Email Campaigns

In the same vein of comment cards, these digital reminders ensure all of your customers know they have the option to review your business online. This increases the chances of receiving reviews.

  • Display TripAdvisor Awards

What better way to bring attention to your TripAdvisor page than with some awards you have received? Make sure you’re displaying them in the correct places for your customers to view, whether that’s directly behind reception or on each desk of your hotel rooms.

  • Encourage Reviews as Guests Leave

If you’re running a hotel it’s a nice idea to have staff encourage guests to leave a review on TripAdvisor about their stay. If you run a restaurant you can also put a TripAdvisor sticker on the inside of your checkbooks. This ensures they see your page and have the encouragement to leave a review. 

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Blade: Trinity imdb – Unfairly underrated?

Film buffs have long discredited the blade films to be one of the worst vampire franchises of all time, but does the Blade: Trinity imdb rating of 5.9 really represent the film?

One person who is bound to be agreeing is Wesley Snipes, who claims it’s barely even a Blade movie. The actor is in the process of suing New Line Cinema for not paying him his full salary or involving him in script decisions. He also reputedly felt that the film introduced too many new characters and didn’t focus enough on Blade himself.

The highest ranking imdb user review is titled: “What happened to Blade?” – need we say more? It’s hard not to agree with Snipes, it’s very clear that Ryan Reynolds steals the show. The plot is scattered, the cinematography is subpar and the character diversions are hard to keep up with, but Ryan Reynolds’ performance makes it all worthwhile.

Taking a look at the Blade: Trinity IMDB voter demographics, and the half a star higher average rating from females could also indicate a love for Ryan Reynolds in this film. Although, as a much high percentage of voters are male, it’s not a clear comparison.

If for nothing else than Reynold’s performance, a below 6 star rating on imdb is not really justified. Lastly, you cannot entirely hate a film that contains vampire Pomeranians. 

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Yelp Alternatives: Top Review Websites

Yelp is a crowd-sourced local business review site, and many use this site to either advertise their business or find a business that has what they’re looking for, but what are some yelp alternatives?

Foursquare:

Foursquare is all about discovering new ways to explore your hometown. The site is able to recommend locations based off your previous selections and creates preferences specifically for you. Foursquare offers you to compete with your friends based on your recurrently visited places.

Judy’s Book:

Judy’s Book is a an online yellow pages used by millions of members to discover the ideal deals, discounts and coupons they are looking for. You can choose to trace businesses and professionals, such as pizza restaurants, dry cleaners, dentists, restaurants, physicians, and plumbers.

Yahoo Local:

This is an online native advertising system that allows you to search through the Yahoo search service and automatically populates relevant reviews for you based on your prior information.

TripAdvisor:

TripAdvisor is free and easy to use for finding hotels, restaurants, and attractions for any destination. The site has up to 32 million members from across the world and has more than 1000 million reviews, making is a very helpful tool and perfect alternative to Yelp.

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Social Media Endorsements: Opinion Matters

social media endorsements

Have you heard of Zoella? How about Pewdiepie, you must have heard of him right? Well with over 50 million YouTube subscribers, he definitely has enough attention on him.

As marketing has evolved with social media, it has become almost essential for large brands to build relationships with celebrities and influencers.

Capitalizing on this viewership is not a new marketing concept at all, there’s been celebrity endorsements since the dawn of Hollywood, but what has changed is how brands are using these influencers, and evidently, what constitutes as a social media influencer.

These lines are very blurry as we move into 2017, especially with the likes of social giants such as Instagram and Snapchat becoming ever more prominent on the social scene. Brands are now targeting influencers with large audiences to get their messages to the masses.

Below we shed light on a few prime examples of social media endorsements from brand influencers – soon we might not be able to tell an endorsement from an authentic post.

Chevrolet and a host of celebrities, including Ian Somerholder, Nikki Reed and Alec Baldwin:

Multiple videos and social posts were created as part of Chevrolet’s #BestDayEver campaign, the ingenious part being that these posts came directly from the influencers and many fans would not have been able to distinguish them as endorsements because they came across extremely genuine. The only identifiable endorsement characteristic being the hashtag #BestDayEver linking these posts with the overall campaign. Ian Somerholder and Nikki Reed taught a business course at Emroy University, and Alec Baldwin dressed up as Abraham Lincoln arrived on Occidental College campus as a substitute teacher for a U.S. history class. Within 24 hours, the social media posts attracted 1.5 million organic likes and shares.

Taco Bell and Shaun McBride:

This is someone you might not have heard of, Snapchat celebrity Shaun McBride has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform – which seems impossible to comprehend, even for digital marketers like us. Last year McBride was part of an ad campaign promoting Taco Bell’s Cap’n Crunch Berry Delights.

Taco Bell allowed the influencer to take over their Snapchat account and the result was hilarious. Although it’s hard to know the exact results from this campaign, we do know that Taco Bell continued to engage with McBride and asked him to promote a launch of a new menu item for the 2016 Super Bowl, resulting in 40,000 pre-orders.

The subtle, niche-brand social media endorsements:

Forget about the obvious celebrity endorsement on social media for awhile, because in fact, the future of brand endorsements is in niche influencer markets. THe rise of the social media influencer has seen everyday individuals make a name for themselves online and brand are reaching out to these young digital natives to reach an audience that’s best known by that influencer.

This is where brands are able to reach an ever-evolving online community, by asking an influencer who is actually within this community to do the endorsements for them. It’s a very clever tactic that’s only going to become more beneficial for brand moving forward. Take NYC blogger @rachmartino for instance – she’s by no means a celebrity, or even the largest online influencer, but her audience is important. Hallmark recognised this and paid the instagramer to share a picture of one of their greeting cards with her online community. Resulting in thousands of likes and views, this is by no means a huge outcome, but it’s niche, and that’s where it counts in the current online climate.

social media endorsements

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How to Get More Reviews on Facebook

how to get more reviews on facebook, more facebook reviews, get more reviews on facebook,Growing your Facebook community and your page review score is a worthy goal for any company, large or small, and so it’s important to know how to get more reviews on Facebook.

Some companies are still struggling to establish an ROI from their social marketing campaigns, while others are successfully ensuring they are part of the trend, so you don’t want to be the business stuck behind the digital curve.

How to Get More Reviews on Facebook:

Go for the obvious!

You might be of the assumption it’s silly or obtrusive to post on Facebook encouraging your likers to review your business, but it’s not going to turn anyone away. Think about it – they’ve already gone out of their way to like your page and see all of your Facebook posts, including those goofy promotional memes you think a cool, so they aren’t going to be discouraged by a simple post. If they don’t want to leave a review, they won’t, but there’s no harm in asking.

There’s a few different ways you can post this – as a text post, a call-to-action or a picture post, either way, make sure you include the link to the reviews section of your business page: https://www.facebook.com/frostmediasolutions/reviews/

Don’t be shy – ask your audience to leave a review:

This doesn’t have to be a cold approach or an announcement to all of your likers publicly, it can be a off the back off a warm lead through your business. When you’ve dealt with an ongoing client for a while, or just finalized work with a temporary client, it’s a good idea to send a little “thank you” email and gently ask them to leave a review on your Facebook page.

In this email you can directly link to the reviews page on your Facebook business page: https://www.facebook.com/frostmediasolutions/reviews/

How to write a message to your customer//client asking for a review of your business:

If you’re running your business correctly, your clients/customers will already be happy with the services or goods you’re providing them, so they should be more than happy to review your work. This is where business owners or marketers tend to miss the mark – because they assume they’re hassling their clients. In reality, it’s not a bother for them at all. Keep it short and sweet. Here’s an example:

Hi —-,

It was a pleasure working with you!

Would you mind taking a moment to leave Growing Social Media a quick review on our Facebook page?

You may do so, here: https://www.facebook.com/frostmediasolutions//reviews/

Thank you,

Growing Social Media.

Call-to-action!

You’ve probably spent a lot of time and money getting your business website up and running, so use it for all it’s potential purposes! This includes a call-to-action from your website to the review section of your business page, encouraging any visitors to leave a review on Facebook. There is potential for this to go slightly awry though, as it encourages everyone (even those with ill-intentions) to visit and leave a review on your Facebook page. So- use this tactic with discretion, and accept the negative consequences if they occur.

If you have a shop front – use it! Just like a website, your shop is the perfect representation of business, so place a sign in-store that directs people to your Facebook page, asking for a review. Again, use this tactic with warning – you may attract unwanted attention, so weigh up the costs first.

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Non-Disparagement Clauses and Your Right to Review Negatively

Last month, the U.S. took a big step toward safeguarding consumers’ right to leave honest online reviews without fear of retribution. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced S. 2044, which will be better known as the Consumer Review Freedom Act, to outlaw non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts.

While the Consumer Review Freedom Act has yet to be passed, if, or when, it does, it will serve to bolster a long-standing tenet of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment states [emphasis ours]:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Although non-disparagement clauses have been shown to be effectively worthless in the eyes of the law, given the prominence of free speech rights, the Act signals a push to protect consumers from intimidation or threats by companies that shoehorn spurious paragraphs into contracts.

The Unhappy Customer

The concept of the “unhappy customer” is nothing new, but the rise of social media has heralded a power shift such that the consumer firmly holds the trump card. This power can be abused, of course, but an individual’s ability to leave honest online feedback is generally accepted as something positive and worth protecting.

“Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help guide where consumers do business every day,” said Senator Schatz. “Honest reviews from real people have made these sites successful and are the reason why so many of us have come to rely on them. Every consumer has the right to share their experiences and opinions of any business. Our bill would protect that right and ensure consumers are free to share their views, free from intimidation.”

The rise of Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other social platforms has led to an almost tangible tension between businesses, consumers, and old-world regulations, as lawmakers struggle to keep pace with the fast-changing online revolution.

In August 2014, a New York hotel faced backlash for its threat to charge guests $500 for each online negative review it received. The policy stated [emphasis ours]:

If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here. Therefore: If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event.

That may seem extreme, but it is just one of many such recent instances.

Perhaps the most high-profile court case was Palmer v. Kleargear.com, which saw a Utah couple on the receiving end of a $3,500 fine for a bad review they posted against etailer Kleargear on Ripoff Report.

While there were many ins and outs to the case, the gist was that the couple didn’t pay the fine and Kleargear reported them to a debt-collection agency, which adversely impacted their credit rating. Eventually, the company was taken to court and ordered to pay John and Jennifer Palmer more than $300,000 in damages.

“Non-disparagement clauses stifle consumer speech by silencing fair criticism in public forums, particularly on websites,” said Schatz. “The Consumer Review Freedom Act would prohibit business practices like [Palmer v. Kleargear.com], while still allowing business owners to sue reviewers who make dishonest misrepresentations about their business.”

The Streisand Effect

Non-disparagement clauses nearly always end up hurting any company that tries to enforce them. The usual analogy here is to entertainer Barbra Streisand, who once attempted to suppress photos of her Californian residence, thereby generating publicity and attracting even further public attention. The “Streisand Effect” is now used to describe any situation in which an attempt to censor information has the opposite result.

America’s push to protect consumers has been well-documented in the media, but what about elsewhere in the world? What about Europe?

Last year, a British couple visiting a hotel in Blackpool, England, were charged an extra £100 to their credit card after describing the place as a “rotten, stinking hovel” in an online review. Little did they know that the hotel had this policy:

Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review.

Yet again, the Streisand Effect came to the fore, and the widespread negative publicity forced the hotel owners into swiftly backing down and refunding the couple’s money. No court action was necessary.

Consumer Protection in U.K. / Europe

Last week, the U.K.’s all-new Consumer Rights Act took effect, in a move to simplify U.K. consumer law by pulling eight separate pieces of legislation into one. This legislation covers such things as consumer contracts for goods, digital content and services, and unfair (contract) terms. It bears similarity to existing laws, but strives to update and unify them, making them easier for both consumers and merchants to understand.

There are no specific laws against non-disparagement clauses in the U.K., but that’s not to say there aren’t regulations protecting consumers from such clauses. Even if a consumer has unwittingly signed a contract relinquishing their right to complain about a company in a public forum, they may still be protected under “unfair terms” regulation.

For contracts signed prior to the new Consumer Rights Act taking effect yesterday, consumers can refer to the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations (1999). This older legislation and the new Consumer Rights Act share this paragraph:

A contractual term which has not been individually negotiated shall be regarded as unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer.

Technically, a non-disparagement clause in a consumer contract could override this regulation. For the clause to stick, however, it’s likely that the company would have to demonstrate that the terms have been specifically negotiated, or at the very least, that the consumer’s attention has been directed to the clause. “If you have a clause like that, it has to be in big red letters with a big red hand pointing to it,” said Jonathan Armstrong, a technology and compliance lawyer with Cordery Compliance. “I think that’s the sort of attitude you’ll need to hold a clause like that up. You’re going to have to direct someone’s specific attention to it.”

However, based on personal experience, the only way to have such a clause ruled on or “officiated” is to take the company to court, because as of yet, there is no real legal precedent to fall back on.

Tweet justice

Earlier this year, I had building work carried out on my house, and was unhappy with a wide range of things. So I posted some photos to the company’s Twitter account showing a couple of examples.

The company informed me of a non-disparagement clause in my contract stipulating that negative comments made in a public forum would result in a fine of £5,000 ($7,500). I checked the small print only to find that, yes, there was such a clause in there.

Unsure of my rights at the time, I naturally deleted the “offending” tweets until I could explore things a little further. The threat of the fine was removed once I deleted the tweets, but I’m still not 100 percent clear as to what my rights are as a European or U.K. resident in such a case.

In fact, I followed the official complaint procedures involving the Ombudsmanand other regulators, but nobody was prepared to make any kind of intermediary judgment. I even spoke with my local member of parliament (M.P.), who advised that the practice of preventing consumers from giving an honest opinion of their experience may be considered an “unfair trading practice.” All advice has pointed towards the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), a network of charities that provide consumer and legal advice. Problem is, CAB have said it cannot become involved or refer such cases to Trading Standards, a local government body with the power to investigate unethical organizations.

While all signs suggest that the weight of the law does fall on the consumer’s side in terms, it’s a messy situation to navigate, which is why America’s Consumer Review Freedom Act could be groundbreaking — it removes the muddiness by focusing on the core of the problem: non-disparagement clauses.

Unfair terms

In an age when companies and consumers are often at loggerheads, social media and review sites have become key battlegrounds. I spoke with Oliver Fetiveau, a partner at U.K.-based media law firm M Law, to get his thoughts on clauses that impinge on freedom of speech in U.K and European law. It’s worth noting here that the business-to-business (B2B) realm is likely a different story — this relates specifically to B2C.

“[non-disparagement clauses are] just another example of an unfair contract term,” said Fetiveau. “In the same way as there might be an exclusion clause, or a limitation of liability clause, which are the more usual ones for the contract terms we’re used to dealing with.”

Essentially, ridiculous or unfair items could feasibly be squeezed into a contract, but that doesn’t mean that a court will make you honor it. When a company tries to impose an obligation on someone that contravenes what they’d normally expect to be able to do in real life — “Hey, don’t go to that restaurant, buddy, the burgers are awful!” — there is a good chance the court will view things favorably for the consumer.

“It’s all about deterring from doing it [leaving a negative review] in the first place, and then scaremongering to get them to delete the review,” said Fetiveau. “If they were actually called to account, and made to put their money where their mouth was and issue proceedings — I just can’t ever see it happening.”

Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that it’s unlikely a company would actively take a consumer to court to obtain money from them — in the U.K., at least — because the Streisand Effect is now well understood. But until non-disparagement clauses are ruled unlawful, there’s nothing to stop companies from trying anyway.

So as a consumer, in most markets, you basically have two choices when faced with a non-disparagement clause. You can go ahead and blab away on Yelp, assuming that the company won’t enforce the clause. Or you can proactively chase a court ruling to decide whether the clause is “unfair.” Fetiveau referred to what is known as a “Part 8 claim” in the U.K., which is when you want a court’s decision on a question “which is unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact.” In other words, the facts of the case should be clear, after which it’s simply a case of deciding whether or not the non-disparagement clause is deemed “unfair.”

However, before you go all gung-ho on TripAdvisor and make all kinds of wild accusations against that rude waiter who shot you a dirty look, it’s worth remembering that the law will likely only smile on you if what you say is opinion-based and doesn’t defame. You can’t just invent stories to make an establishment look bad. “If it’s an expression of honest opinion, then it’s safe,” added Fetiveau.

There is some precedent here. The Irish Times was sued by a Belfast restaurant owner over a scathing review it published — amazingly, the restaurant ownerinitially won the defamation case and was awarded £25,000; however, this was later overturned on appeal.

“The court granted incredible latitude to someone giving a review and found that all you needed to be able to prove if you’re giving a review is that you’d actually been to the restaurant and had the meal in question,” said Fetiveau. “If you can evidence malice, that may be different, but that’s difficult to do.”

U.S. vs. E.U.: Free speech

Much is made of the U.S.’s First Amendment right to free speech. But surely Europe has free speech at its core, even if it isn’t part of a so-called constitution?

The U.K. has the Human Rights Act (1998), which is based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 10 of the ECHR states:

 Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

While individual laws and regulations may vary from country to country, the fundamental tenets of “free speech” remain across the European Union. There is a limitation that seeks to protect companies or individuals from defamation, but it does not prevent people from publishing honest opinions.

The Citizens Advice Bureau in the U.K. also pointed out that unfair terms’ regulations in consumer contracts is widely similar across the whole E.U. It said:

If you buy goods or services from a trader in the European Union (EU), your rights around unfair contract terms will be very similar to those you have with a UK seller. If you believe a seller or supplier in another EU country has used an unfair term in their contract, you can complain.

You may also be able to refer your complaint to the relevant European Consumer Centre.

Arbitrary fines

Another element of non-disparagement clauses that may work in a consumer’s favor in any lawsuit is the amount of money being asked for. In my case, it was $7,500 — how the company arrived at that figure, I’ve no idea. And in the case of Palmer v. Kleargear in the U.S., $3,500 seems equally arbitrary in relation to any perceived “losses.”

“When (non-disparagement) clauses creep into consumer contracts, I would suggest that the motive is there to deter customers from leaving negative feedback in the first place, not because the companies in question genuinely expect to be able to rely upon them in a court of law,” said Fetiveau.

A few years back, London law firm Davenport Lyons hit the headlines for the way it was bullying thousands of people suspected of illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. Lawyers wrote letters to people requesting £300 ($450) to avoid a date in court, but following complaints about the company’s behavior, it was fined £20,000 ($30,000) and accused of being “too concerned about making the scheme profitable for themselves and their firm.”

“The problem was, it [the requested money] wasn’t a reflection of what the actual damage was,” explained Fetiveau. “If you’re downloading a song, and it’s only one song, then what is your damage as the copyright holder? Your damage is how much it would’ve cost that person to buy that song — that’s the economic depletion, really.”

Hypothetically, if a judge were to rule that a non-disparagement clause was “fair” in principle, if the merchant was requesting a crazy amount of money in return, this would likely count against it.

The other side of the story

It’s all too easy to take the side of a consumer in a David and Goliath case where a corporation’s financial might pummels an irate consumer with threats and fines. But it’s worth acknowledging that consumer reviews play a huge part in buying decisions, so it’s understandable that a company would seek to protect its reputation.

Lawyer Jonathan Armstrong offered a degree of sympathy for firms fighting negative feedback. “I appreciate that some businesses have real issues with (for example) TripAdvisor — the issue is that in the past, if you had a bad meal on a Friday night, you might put it on TripAdvisor on Saturday, but then again you might not,” he said. “Even if you did do it on the Saturday, you’d probably have calmed down a bit.”

The point is, the always-on connected society we now live in means anyone can leave a review there and then, on the spot. You can be standing there with your finger on the trigger, so to speak, threatening a waiter with a negative review if you don’t get a discount or some other form of compensation.

“If you go out on a Friday night now, you might have drunk a bottle of wine, and the waiter sniffs at you because you didn’t leave a tip, so you go straight to your iPhone and tell the world never to visit the place,” he added. “I have some sympathy, particularly with small restaurants, where it can only take one or two reviews for their business to drop off the cliff. But I don’t think the way to combat that is by fining people.”

Armstrong said that while he hasn’t seen a great number of non-disparagement clause cases land on his desk, what he is seeing is businesses looking to avert social media disasters. “If it’s not the death of a company, then it can accelerate the company’s demise,” he said. “We’re seeing more businesses ask us to train their employees in how to engage with people on social media.” 

The case against non-disparagement clauses

Though the U.S. Consumer Review Freedom Act is not yet law, individual states, such as California, have already outlawed punitive non-disparagement clauses, so there is a clear sign of where things are going. And the U.S.’s position on such clauses could lead the way for other countries to follow.

I spoke with Paul Miloseski-Reid, U.K. Trading Standards’ ecommerce lead, to see whether such legislation is likely to arrive in the U.K. It turns out that something similar has already been proposed by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), though there is no guarantee it will be adopted.

The U.K. is about to take on the presidency of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), which is a global network of consumer protection authorities spanning more than 50 countries. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will focus on the online reviews and endorsements sector. “I have raised my concerns about the need for action on anti-disparagement clauses with their working group, which plan to develop enforcement best practice in this area,” said Miloseski-Reid.

He also makes a good point about who decides what construes negative feedback. “So much feedback is mixed and two-sided — ‘it’s a great product, but slow delivery’ — and you can’t have that environment online where consumers are scared to give honest feedback,” he said.

Perhaps the biggest case against taking customers to court is highlighted by the absurdity of Med Express, an Ohio company that sells medical equipment through eBay. One South Carolina buyer left negative feedback after receiving the item with $1.44 (!) postage still due. Med Express, which admitted the review was entirely truthful, sued for defamation anyway, but ended up withdrawing the suit thanks to the Streisand Effect. And last month, it was ordered to pay $20,000 in legal fees in a counterclaim over frivolous conduct.

So non-disparagement clause or not, it’s rarely a good idea to bully a consumer with court action over leaving an honest opinion online.

Online Review Management: Google My Business Strategies

The popularity of review forums, sites and apps have forced businesses to invest in web visibility and online review management. Google My Business streamlines B2C opportunities within Search, Maps and Google+. By optimizing these platform, small businesses can improve both online and foot traffic. And the more advanced the profile, the more inclined visitors will be to choose your business over competitors.

Online Review Management Devices

Profile Creation:

  1. Create a Google My Business account. The business manager or owner should have admin priority. Then, other co-workers or agency employees can be added with their Gmail accounts. Granting additional employees, rather than sharing this login, will give sufficient control to the right people.

  1. Update your profile. Now that you have a Business account, post as much information as possible. Google will let you choose to include your address, phone number, hours and categories (up to ten). Be sure that NAP consists with the website.

  2. Optimize photos. Share high quality photos of your business and products. Think of what you would want to see as a consumer in your industry. Hotels can share lobby and room photos for specific locations. Restaurants can share pictures of food and atmosphere. Event spaces can photograph spaces and amenities. Take at least 15 pictures for users to scroll through.

 

SEM Strategies:

  1. Include keywords: Stick with SEM efforts and include keywords that would naturally complement your profiles. This holistic keyword strategy will only strengthen its effectiveness. And get used to thinking about your keyword strategy- from your Google My Business dashboard you can directly go to your Adwords and Analytics.

  2. Report false information: Outdated or misinformation should always be reported to Google as an online review management necessity. Likewise, Google will report your false information. Make sure that any keywords and descriptions directly relate to your business or services.

  3. Aim for the Local 3-pack: Google’s Local 3-pack refers to the three businesses that appear on the first page, if matched with searcher intent. Local 3-pack may be the top result, after advertisements or one or two organic results. It’s a great opportunity for web visibility. While the searcher’s IP address will affect results, Google tends to benefit those with Google+ profiles and reviews, rather than using competitors sites. It also looks like Zagat ratings can optimize profiles. So for example, TriBeCa Restaurants will populate:

Online Review Management:

  1. Encourage Google reviews: While business typically have more Yelp reviews than Google, encouraging Google reviews may better serve your SEM goals. When visitors attest to a great experience, asking for a review can bring long-lasting benefits to business and web strategies.

  2. Monitor reviews: Respond to reviews from the Google My Business Account. This will demonstrate that your business cares about consumer insight. Regarding online review management, Google advises,

Become an active presence on Google and respond to reviews. Your customers will notice that your business values their input and respond with more reviews.

When visitors click into the local 3- pack, rather than going to the businesses’ website, a map opens with 20 competitor profiles listed. So if the searcher’s location didn’t list you in the top three, your business may show up here.

However, because reviews are the most prominent factor featured in the local card, online review management and strategy can really make or break your business. Star ratings appear under the listing name, but again in an average rating out of 5. So next time you encourage reviews, try to encourage Google specifically.

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Wikipedia Reputation Management

Everyone knows that Wikipedia is one of the best information sources on the Internet. Typically, it has everything you need to know about a person or company, what they do, how they do it and what got them to where they are today. However, because Wikipedia is able to be edited by anyone information you don’t necessarily want out there may show up on your profile. So how do you manage something like this, and how can you have it removed?

1. Check the General Wikipedia Guidelines

Wikipedia has well established guidelines about what kind of information can, and cannot be published. Remember, Wikipedia “is an encyclopaedia not a tabloid”. Firstly, all Wikipedia content should abide by the three core policies; i. Neutral Point of View (NPOV) ii. Verifiability (V) iii. No Original Research (NOR) If the material in question violates any of the above, you may have grounds for removal.

2. Check the Guidelines Specific to Biography of a Living Person

Wikipedia also has strict guidelines, specific to Biographies of a Living Person (ie Wikipedia articles about people). The guidelines can be found here, and covers Writing Style, Reliable Sources, Presumption in Favor of Privacy (e.g. Persons accused of a crime), Applicability of the Policy and more. If your reason for wanting to remove something falls under one of these categories then you will likely find a reason here.

3. Report the Edit to the Noticeboard

If you find a reason in one of the above Guidelines to support your desire to remove the information, then you can do so – making sure to reference the reason in the Edit Comments. Sometimes, you may come across someone who firmly believes the information should be left in the article. If someone reverts your change more than twice, and you firmly believe that was a mistake due to one of the reasons above you can report it to the Noticeboard to avoid entering an Edit War.
Have more questions about how to make edits to Wikipedia? Contact us today!

 

Airbnb Profile Optimization

Airbnb is a great way to make some extra income and meet interesting travelers — it’s a win-win all around!.

At the core of what drives Airbnb ahead of their competitors is their search algorithm, which rewards good hosts by showing their listing higher up in the results; in turn, this can attract more users and bookings, creating a positive reward cycle.

Optimizing your profile to appeal to Airbnb’s search algorithm is important for growing your number of bookings and running a successful listing. Here are the top strategies for optimizing your Airbnb listing:

1. Make Sure Your Photos Stand Out

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As users browse through their options, each listing is afforded a headline and a photo. Make sure that the 140-character headline provides 1 or 2 of the best details about your listing — is it walkable? Is there transportation nearby? Is it in a historic area of downtown, or a trendy, up-and-coming area? Use the headline to grab users attention (but don’t go over the top, since if aspects of the listing are exaggerated, you risk getting bad reviews or losing potential bookings).

Similarly, the photo chosen for the listing should offer a glimpse into a pretty living room or neat bedrooms so users immediately get a feel for what the most important parts of the space look like. Try to take photos during a time of day that offers the best natural lighting. Take photos with a meticulous attention to details like lighting, neatness, color, angle. This can set a listing apart, especially in areas where there are lots of listings at similar price points.

For eligible hosts, Airbnb even offers free professional photography of your space; check to see if you are eligible, and take advantage of it! The photos will be watermarked with “Airbnb Verified”, which helps in building trust with users that the space in the photos accurately reflects what they’ll open the door to. Airbnb rewards those who have high quality photos and descriptions.

2. Make it Easy to Book and Never Cancel

Ease of booking is another element that Airbnb heavily factors into its on-site search algorithm. This is divided into two important factors to pay attention to: cancellations and response rates.

Basically, never cancel a booking. Airbnb rewards hosts who show that they are reliable. Make sure your calendars are up to date. If you are having trouble with fielding too many bookings, Seth Porges, a New York City Airbnb host recommends adding a note to your listing description that prompts users to email you first about availability. This way, you can feel out if you really do want to book with them, while simultaneously avoiding cancellation afterwards.

The response rate is more fuel for search rank; try to respond to people as quickly as possible. Even if you are already booked, or can’t make the accommodation they request, even replying with a simple, “I’m sorry, we’re booked,” is infinitely better than no response at all. Airbnb tracks these responses and rewards hosts who are prompt; striving for that 100% response rate is a great way to optimize your profile for search!

3. Reviews

Airbnb considers the quality and quantity of reviews for search rank. Accumulating numerous reviews is key to pushing your profile to the top.

Hopefully, you really are a fantastic host and your guests will have nothing but good things to say about you. However, if you are uncertain about what they may say, send them an email first. Ask about their stay and if they had any specific complaints about areas you could improve. If they come back with tons of grievances, take it gracefully and leave it at that.

If they come back with tons of praise, ask them directly if they could leave a review on your profile. Another good tactic is to leave a quality review of your guests on their profile (since reviewing goes both ways!). Airbnb reports that if you leave a review for your guests, they are more likely to leave a review for you.

4. Become Verified 

Make sure you go the extra mile and become fully verified. This includes uploading an image of government ID to AirBnB in order to verify your identity, as well as providing a phone number and email address that Airbnb will also verify. At the end of the process, you get a Verified ID badge on your profile.

Going through this process can feel laborious, but getting the badge is a great way to build the legitimacy of your profile!

Implementing these four tactics together will optimize your profile so you get a great on-site search rank, which means more bookings and meeting more great travelers, so you can get the most out of using AirBnB!

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Controlling Online Reviews

Online conversations have a direct impact on consumers intent to purchase, and controlling online reviews is a vital step in assuring a company’s ‘best foot’ is put forward, however companies often ignore these research avenues for three main reasons;

  1. They are difficult to identify

  2. User generated content in large quantities

  3. Controlled by third parties, thus difficult to reply to

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With 82% of consumers finding reviews extremely valuable, consulting reviews prior to purchasing is a key part of any consumer research process – and may be the difference between them choosing one product, or a major competitor product.

Review forum optimization (RFO) is used by companies, large and small to ensure positive reviews are increased, negative messages are suppressed and to ensure consumer experience and flow of content is aligned with what consumers are expecting

 

To get a head start on competitors, download our quick checklist!

 

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