Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed June 27 2012 21:25:55

Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

More than anyone else, eBay sellers are aware of the importance of their online reputation. It's common to stress over a bad feedback rating or low DSRs - not only do buyers judge you based on your feedback, but eBay punishes sellers for accumulating bad feedback. Ramifications can include lower exposure in search results, the loss of fee discounts, payment holds and account suspension.

Sellers must protect their reputation off of the online marketplaces as well - customers can post bad reviews on discussion boards, blogs, and on specialty sites set up to rate businesses, such as Angies List and Yelp.

Imagine there was a way to suppress bad reviews so when someone "googles" you or your company, they won't see anything but positive comments. That's what a company called ReputationChanger.com does for its client. Here's a pitch from its PR company I received today:

"In the internet age, consumers rely heavily on online reviews when deciding where to spend their hard-earned money. Unfortunately some review sites are not a credible source for honest opinions and it is hard to fight back against bad press posted by others online.

ReputationChanger.com is an online reputation management service that works to suppress negative reviews and generate positive search engine results for businesses and individuals of all kinds. With a proven track record of success, Reputation Changer is capable of reversing the visibility of bad press online."

What do you think? Is this not playing fair, or is it simply a smart business practice? And what if you could pay to have bad feedback "suppressed" from sites like eBay and Amazon? How much would you be willing to pay to change your reputation?




Comments (18) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Jun 27 21:57:52 2012

ReputationChanger.com advertizes a lot on the radio in my neck of the woods... on one of the PRIME (expensive) radio markets in the Northern Virginia/DC area.

So... business must be good if they can afford to saturate the airwaves.

I wonder what their magic is?

Do they flood the offending site with legal threats and/or court actions... just to simply intimidate them into removing the posts/reviews?

I have no idea what their fees are... but I can only imagine that it would be more than I could afford. Or... that the cost of having one's reputation changed is greater than the costs of just leaving it alone.

So, Ina... has EBAY hired this company? Have you been receiving ''take-down'' demands and threats with regard to the editorials, analyses, reviews, and ratings that eBay has received at eCommerceBytes?

After all, it wasn't so long ago that eBay ''accidentally'' reported you to your ISP/web-host with a take-down demand.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jun 27 22:38:34 2012

Given that eBay claims they will not remove negative feedback without a court order, I would be very interested to see what results if any this company can produce with regard to eBay.

If reputation cleansing is happening on eBay with a third party profiting from the process, then how long before eBay cuts out the middleman and offers reputation cleansing for a fee directly to their sellers? That would be exactly the kind of destructive innovation that would appeal to the MBA's running eBay.... charging fees for milliseconds of automated computer program activity to reverse actions that they encouraged in the first place..

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
Web Site

Thu Jun 28 00:18:44 2012

@Anonymous Annie, the business must be good for them, but not maybe for the ones that pay.

Today we must be careful because saturation of radio/TV markets don't mean something works or is good. Here in the past few years the guys behind the Irak Dinar begin a saturations of ads in radio/TV.

Also lets not forget the guys that tell people that can clean a bad credit with just a sign up and a fee.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 28 05:27:54 2012

It's probably a subsidiary of the eBay ''incubation'' group (formerly the ''ideation'' group, formerly the ''proactive virtuous circle'' group)--to deal with all the customer requests for review of unfair feedback. eBay has found a way to profit from real customer service and added another acquisition for the bottom line. What? Me cynical?

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 28 10:05:21 2012

I think the company floods google with positive reviews about your business. They bury your negatives with positive white noise so someone would have to dig deep into the later pages on Google to see the negatives.

They won't be able to do anything like that on ebay since ebay controls the feedback. Unless they had fake buyers buy your product then give you good reviews.

I almost hired a plumber because of his commercial. I didn't like the plumber I had used earlier in the week.
I looked up his name on google and he had a huge amount of negative feedback and warnings and he was also the same company I hired earlier but with a different name.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: HoneVille This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jun 28 10:21:06 2012

There is more to establishing a reputation than just Feedback.  Customers look at years in business, total feedback score and more.  One thing I'd like to see is total transactions publically visable for buyers.  As far as hiding Feedback... most of mine are product reviews left by extortionists who didn't want to return their items.  They tried to hold us hostage to extort money or freebies from us and we simply refuse to cave into that sort of thing.  We have a no hassle return policy.  If for any reason a buyer isn't happy with their item once it's in their hands they can return it for a quick hassle free refund or exchange (their choice).  We realize that's not good enough for some people and we'll still get negatives because some people just can't be pleased short of a bribe.  We'd like to see the FB system on ebay made less relevant and other factors, such as return policy, total transaction count, years in business, made more visable.  Our Webstie doesn't use FB and it still performs nicely.  Clearly theres more to establishing a good reputation than today's ebay feedback system.  

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Jun 28 11:10:23 2012

HoneVille makes a very astute point. There *is* more to a business' reputation than mere feedback. It's my experiences with eBay that makes me very suspicious of sites such as Angie's List.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to Angie... I'm sure she means well... but the whole thing seems flawed to me. If eBay has taught me anything (along with casual observations of human nature) it's that unhappy people are HIGHLY MOTIVATED to publicly complain... but in contrast, perfectly happy customers are content to go about their business without so much as a ''thank you''.

For every negative comment on Angies List (or eBay) how many other perfectly ordinary trouble-free transactions did NOT receive public comments?

Also... how much follow-up is there from sites like Angie's List? As any eBay seller can tell you, there are many buyers who RUSH to post negative comments BEFORE trying to work out the problem. Many of these problems are eventually solved once the seller is made aware of the issue, yet the negative comments remain. ~~ Does the same thing happen on Angie's List? Do they do any pro-active follow-up to see if the problem was resolved?

Or... are Angie's List readers left wondering if every negative comment was completely ignored by the Merchant?

Again... we're back to what motivates the buyer. Will the buyer who was motivated to leave negative comments in the first place be equally motivated to leave follow-up comments letting the world know that the Merchant corrected the issue?

Feedback and comments have their place, but they are NOT the be-all end-all or most reliable way to determine all that you need to know about a business.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 28 12:42:11 2012

As both a buyer and seller I see this as a DOUBLE EDGE SWORD.

As a SELLER this has some benefit against BAD and VENGEFUL buyers but it will NOT fix the problem that still exists with ebay and amazon.

As a BUYER, it would make it harder and harder to know the good guys from the bad guys.

The easiest and BEST and most HONEST way to deal with feedback is for companies like ebay, amazon and others to STOP allowing feedback to be used as a WEAPON.

Feedback on specific sites such as ebay and Amazon should be treated like a PRIVILAGE rather than a "right".  And the PRIVLEDGE should be TAKEN AWAY if it can be proven to be UNTRUE, MALICIOUS, a competitor, etc.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 28 13:31:06 2012

It's knocking off Reputation Defender, reputation.com which advertises on the radio here.  They got a lot of VC money apparently.

All they do is SEO, stealth SEO really.  They write articles and link back and forth from one to the other to convince search engines like google that the particular blog is influential.  

It's not rocket science, but it's not particularly easy.  

It's no accident their whois is behind domains by proxy, they can't have google finding out who they really are.

I suspect they have thousands of obscure blogs and forums and if you engage them they post nice stuff about you and link to it all over.  

They put it where google can find it.

But I suspect google is doing continuous research to discover their activities and they could stop them with the click of a mouse.  

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 28 13:32:38 2012

They can't change your eBay feedback and DSRs without eBay being complicit.  

Which could happen, I suspect with enough money changing hands eBay would do anything no matter how dishonest.  

Do I sound cynical?

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 29 03:18:36 2012

I personally wouldn't pay and with this new way for a company(s) to earn dollars, you would have to wonder who was really doing the smearing??? What I see is the potential for an explosion of lawsuits for damages to clear one's name for the slander of a  vindictive buyer, ex-spouse or jealous lover.  

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: innerpuppie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 29 08:20:30 2012

If I remember correctly, several years back there was a service that would 'help' remove negs for $20.00 each. I'm not sure but I think eBay got a cut of the money - not positive. Don't know what happened with that venue. Anytime you can have something negative removed for a fee there is room for corruption just as there is room for corruption with the eBay system of feedback and DSRs - mostly the DSRs. Any system that can make or break a seller on the 'subjective' opinion of an individual is flawed, monumentally flawed.

I've sold on Etsy and eBay, both, for years. Not once have I mailed a package off to one of my Etsy customers worried about what he or she will 'do to me' or 'say about me' in my feedback. I have found the folks I sell to on Etsy to be more civilized (for lack of a better word). Even during the holidays no one complains to me about my products or shipping fees or wrapping - nothing. On eBay I can count on the loonies coming out of the cracks in the wallks starting in October. They go back into the woods sometime in February. Probably to get rest for their next round of pounding on sellers to get something for nothing.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Fri Jun 29 09:06:13 2012

So, does this 'Reputation Changer' company actually claim to be able to get rid of negative eBay feedback specifically?  I don't see how they could.

I could see where they could bury it, by contacting buyers who have not left feedback yet and shmoozing them into a pos.  

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: LSP This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 29 10:45:05 2012

As a consumer, I don't like the idea at all. I often use reviews on Google when selecting a product. And it's not that difficult to sort out legitimate complaints from whiners either. Just like Ebay used to be before the DSR's.  

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 29 22:24:26 2012

I think there is a time for a change. Since ebays feed back is being misused by a few buyers it's time to rate every one that has any thing to do with an ebay transaction.

We need to get things simple again.

1A. Would you buy from this buyer again? YES of NO Explain the sellers would have a % just like always.

1B. Note this would also give a % to the buyer based on their replies.

2. Would you do business on ebay again YES or NO Explain
ebay would have a % just like every one else. This way ebay can see what sellers are causing people to leave the site. They may find that it could be that some buyers were unhappy with customer service or had a problem with one of their policies.

3. Were you happy with PayPal YES or NO Explain
PayPal would have a % just like every one The advantage is they would know if buyers were unhappy over echecks or if they had problems with their payment system.

4. Were you happy with the shipping service? YES or NO
Explain
USPS %  UPS %  FedEx % Other %
IF any of the carriers got low % ebay would be able to talk with them on how they could improve their service. This would be a big service to the thousands of smaller sellers.

This would be a major move to improve the ebay marketplace and would show ebay where the problems were.

ebay need to stop advertising how unsafe the marketplace is and start to clean up the fraud and deception.

Who is chasing the business off ebay? Bad Sellers? eBay policies? PayPal? or one of the shipping suppliers?

 

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 30 01:07:49 2012

Gee wonder if ebay is gonna hire these guys to preserve THEIR rep!

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 30 05:57:08 2012

I wear my red donuts like a badge of courage. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

My people realize that if you are in business long enough and sell enough in a month you will eventually run into one or two of these fruitcakes.

Perminate Link for Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?   Would You Pay to Hide Negative Feedback and Reviews?

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Sat Jun 30 09:02:14 2012

While the suggestions posted by Ed would be valuable information, there is no way I would complete that kind of test for every transaction.

Feedback affect sellers only, there is no incentive for buyers to complete a feedback page.



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.