Negative online reviews costing some businesses up to £30,000 a year

28th May 2015

New research states that negative and “malicious” online reviews are now costing some businesses up to £30,000 a year.

The study, Business of Reviews conducted by One Poll and Igniyte, reports that half of all businesses are now affected by negative content and trolling, yet huge proportions are often unaware of it happening.

In the UK, 76% of business owners say they are concerned about the influence of malicious postings on new generation, third party review sites - where consumers are prompted to report ‘bad’ service.

14% state they have no idea how to tackle the issue, with one in five claiming bad reviews cost them up to £30,000 a year in investment to try and counteract the problem, as well as dealing with fallouts from bad reviews.

Speaking about the research, Igniyte’s managing partner, Caroline Skipsey, stated: “Used properly, review sites and forums are a force for good - giving consumers a much needed voice.

“But while businesses of all kinds welcome the opportunity to gather feedback, a growing number are falling victim to unjustified negative content online and the effect can be devastating. Many companies feel helpless but there are ways to put things right.”

24% of businesses that have experienced malicious reviews say they have been forced to followed the lead of recent cases in the US and UK, by threatening legal action against reviewers, before challenging or removing content altogether.

Last week a story emerged about a couple in Denver, Colorado who had to settle a court order to the tune of $15,000 after they were sued for posting a negative review.

The business involved, Footprints Floors, filed a defamation lawsuit in response saying that the review had cost them 167 projects and $625,000 in revenue.   

However, the move to take legal action was condemned by many industry experts, including Bazaarvoice’s Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, who said:

“While no brand likes to receive negative feedback or review, any effort to suppress legitimate, lower-rated or negative review content is not only a bad practice, but it’s also a missed opportunity for business owners and brands alike to better understand their customers and deliver the products and services they want.

“Embracing negative feedback allows organisations to gather insight into issues that they may not already be aware of, and/or make improvements to enhance the experience for their customers. It’s becoming a reoccurring theme to see a brand’s credibility and reputation be damaged by turning a blind eye to negative experiences.” 

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