Paying for being negative

Have you ever had someone tell you something bad about yourself? You most likely have, so what did you do with it? If you actually improved yourself due to this comment, good for you! However, you most likely ignored this person and went on your merry way trying to forget something bad was ever said.

In today’s world of technology, worth-of-mouth is an important way for companies to get free advertising. Especially reviews directly on their own websites are a popular method. However, negative reviews are something that companies do not like at all. Just like you, companies rather ignore and forget it when people say something bad about them. Although ignoring it is a lot more difficult when it is published online, right? After all, what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet forever.

There are however companies that try their best to get rid of negative reviews. An interesting article from 2011 uses as an example. Apparently Yelp was so kind to offer companies help in removing negative customer reviews. For just $299 a month Yelp would simply move the negative reviews away, so the companies have nothing to worry about anymore. Of course if the companies refused, Yelp made sure negative customer reviews appeared. This was only to encourage companies to make use of their service. (Richards, 2011)

Now you might think that is four years ago, something like that does not happen anymore. Well you think wrong. In 2014 a hotel fined a couple for £100 after they posted a negative review on Trip Advisor about this hotel (BBC, 2014). And in June 2015 an article in the Express wrote all about how negative reviews on Trip Advisor were disappearing. Due to removing these negative reviews the star rating went up from 3.5 to 4.5 stars out of five. (Virtue, 2015)

So why do companies rather delete negative reviews? Is it because companies still do not have the right strategies and tools to deal with negative reviews? Should academics be called to the rescue to provide companies with methods of how to deal with bad reviews?

I believe it is better if companies use negative reviews as learning goals. Instead of hiding, the negative reviews should be used for improvement. And after the company has changed or improved, they can post a comment to the customer, which shows they do actually care about their customers.

So what do you think companies should do with a negative customer review? And have you ever posted a negative review that got you into trouble?


BBC 2014

Richards 2011

Virtue 2015


One response to “Paying for being negative”

  1. 365747fg says :

    I Liked the example you gave concerning the hotel couple being fined for a negative review, it shows how desperate these firms can sometimes be while dealing with negative reviews.

    In your article you talk about negative reviews being bad for business, well this is very true and it also now the basis for some kind of cyber attack. People writing fake negative reviews to rule out their competitors. Or writing fake Positive reviews to drive up demand. These kind of attacks can seriously hinder the reputation and the trust customers have in websites like Amazon.

    In your article you talked about companies not having the tools to deal with such negative comments well, this might be about to change. I have recently seen that Amazon is fining 1114 people for “fake” reviews. Amazon accuses websites such as where “the writers of the false reviews offer their services for as little as $US5 (£3.25)”. However suing might not be enough.

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