Posted July 19, 2007 9:55 am by with 7 comments

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If you think it’s only large businesses that need to worry about their online reputation, the Wall Street Journal wants to remind you otherwise. They take a look at the effects of negative reviews on small businesses and give an example of a spa owner who discovered she had a 2 1/2 star rating on

Using Yelp’s email system, she typed out messages to each downbeat reviewer to find out more about what went wrong — and to try to make it right. And she sent a thank you to the happy customer. Then she added to her email newsletter a note encouraging regular clients to get online and share their good experiences. Several stressful months later, the spa’s rating had climbed to an acceptable four stars.

There, that wasn’t too difficult, was it?

The WSJ goes on to provide some basic suggestions for monitoring and managing the reputation of a local business, including a reminder that even small sites can impact your Google reputation.

…the search engine’s Maps service — which is automatically triggered when a location is included in a query — collates reviews from sites across the Web. For Ms. Borgman’s spa, for instance, Google currently assigns an aggregate 4-star rating based on 30 reviews culled from Yelp, InsiderPages and Citysearch. Google Maps also often provides links to blogs and other Web pages where the business has been mentioned.

You don’t need to shell out big bucks to monitor and manage your online reputation, we’ve created a free guide to online reputation monitoring.

  • David V.

    Good article Andy. My favorite Pizza in Austin comes from a local New York style pizza joint. They had terrible delivery drivers who would drop food, get orders wrong, etc.

    My wife and I posted about our experiences on their City Search page. There were a few similar comments up there already.

    One day while I was in there picking pizza up I heard them talking about my post specifically. Of course I didn’t lay claim to the post as I like my Pizza spit free.

    A short while later they fired all the bad employees and every driver since then has been 100% professional.

    In this case, it seemed like the bad reviews were costing them business. I’m just glad they reacted and fixed the problem 🙂

    Since then all the negative comments have been removed. I’m not sure of City Search’s policies on removing bad comments, but since the issue has been addressed you won’t hear any complaints from me.

  • Haha. I mis-read your title as ‘Local Businesses Need Online Reputation Management Tool’ and I thought ‘I know just the thing‘ (sorry for the cheeky link). But seriously – I think you are absolutely right – while small businesses don’t necessarily have multi-million pound brands to protect, their businesses can be very sensitive to news about them and there can actually be *more* of an imperative to stay abreast of the conversations…

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