In case you’re not familiar with Ripoff Report–you may wish to pray that you never have to be familiar with them–the site exists as a platform to allow consumers to air their gripes, complaints, and allegations about a business. Unfortunately, Ripoff Report appears to exist purely to make money from the various negative postings and it’s a rare occurrence to see something negative removed–even when resolved.
Both Chris and Rand Fishkin provide an excellent breakdown of some of the questionable tactics used by Ripoff Report–each concluding that Rip Off Report is doing its best to make money off of negative reviews.
Unfortunately, when you help individuals and business with their, it’s very common to see a Ripoff Report listing for them. Sure, you could argue that the company deserved the complaint–that may be true in some cases. But I’d challenge you to show me evidence that Ripoff Report is completely unbiased and willing to remove, or substantially update negative complaints that were subsequently resolved.
In fact, I could probably show you as many complaints that appear to be completely fabricated, as there are legitimate complaints. Take this one for instance. Do you really think Google’s Sergey Brin would try to lure a 16 year old girl to a hotel?
So, what can you do if you should find yourself the “victim” of a Ripoff Report? Well, unless you have deep pockets–which is rumored to be about the only way out–you should try and push the negative listing down on Google, by creating your own positive web content.
I wouldn’t hold your breath though. As both Chris and Rand point out, Google seems to have a strong infatuation for Ripoff Report content. Who know’s why, especially when you consider what Rand discovered:
…as far as Google’s TOS violations go, it would appear that they’re also selling paid link advertising and passing link juice (the banners in the top right corners don’t have nofollows).
Who knows if my name will now magically appear on Ripoff Report. I guess it’s a risk worth taking to join the chorus of those lobbying Google to follow Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s lead and remove any web content that adds no value to the web.
What do you think? If you believe Google should take action against false complaints, blog about it and let your voice be heard by Matt Cutts!
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