How to Remove False Ripoff Report from Google
Source – SEL
The essence of Ripoff Report
Online businesses are bombarded with all types of reviews and feedback. The Ripoff Report is a consumer complaint website that was formed in 1998 with the purpose of providing a platform to consumers to openly come up and rip off any business, meaning complains about any business. While the purpose was genuine and well-grounded, the usage of the website since then has not been without blemish. In order to post a complaint or feedback, the only things required are – a valid email id and a self-verification of the writer that is usually done using the mouse. Once uploaded, ripoff report removal is never possible whatsoever. Even when the content is proved false in a court of law or the author himself requests for removal or the warring parties arrive at a mutual agreement. The site never takes off the offensive reports stating that if ripoff report removal is permitted by the company then it would lead to nefarious bullying of complainants by bigger companies.
Why should online businesses be worried about a negative Ripoff Report?
Since the site permits anonymous reviews and has no system in place to check, verify and validate the authenticity of the report or feedback, misuse in terms of false and offensive feedback is but a natural consequence. Though officially the site guidelines expect users to offer honest reviews, the model is too presumptuous in nature.
No doubt the company has an ‘F’ rating on Better Business Bureau and the European Union has kind of put a ban on the site since May last year. The reason, however, why online businesses need to pay heed to how they fare on Ripoff Report and whether they have been reviewed negatively on this site is because search engines, especially Google tend to rank such reports very high on their result pages.
Why as an online business you should be more bothered is that scammers and people with spiteful intentions can, in fact, write on Ripoff Reports to extort money or threaten the business with other harmful repercussions until and unless their terms and conditions are met by the business owner.
The legal viewpoint of the Ripoff Report
Sites like the Ripoff Report are well-protected and shielded by the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Any post by a third-party on this site is not the liability of the website – hence they cannot be penalized legally or otherwise for negative reviews and feedbacks from customers. It is to be noted here that neither can Ripoff Report edit any comment or content on its site nor does it show any inclination in removing complaints that are false or have been proved to be fake.
Ripoff Report Removal – Is there a possibility?
While upfront removal of Ripoff Report is not possible from the website, there are other ways that offer the much-required respite to business owners. One of the best solutions is to remove the effect of the report from the Google search engine.
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Here are some common ways of getting Google to ignore the Ripoff Report, also referred to as Ripoff Report removal from Google.
- Resolve the issue with the writer of the comment or the report. Apologize, make amends and take some corrective actions. In this way, you ensure that your customer does not wander away but the sad part about this process is that even when both the parties have made a truce, neither of you can edit the report on Ripoff Report site. Instead, if the customer adds a follow-up comment, the original negative post tends to attract more attention from Google and other search engines. Also, in this case, the customer might add up more spicy stories of how the brand was enticing him to delete or edit the comment, making things worse for your business.
- The rebuttal is another option that many brands indulge in but probably not worth the effort. By rebutting you only make things worse making the negative report more eye-catchy for search engines. However, if this process must be done, it is better to refrain from using words that are probable keywords or close, so that search engines are discouraged from picking up the conversation.
- Become a member of the Corporate Advocacy Program (CAP) of Ripoff Report. Under this program, you can request ripoffreport.com to investigate the matter. However, this is of not much significance because even if the investigation reveals that the report was false or unwarranted for, the removal of the complaint is not possible. Instead, the company’s investigation results will be posted above the complaint. Ripoff Report has also introduced the VIP Arbitration Program where you can request Ripoff Arbitrators to intervene and provide them with pieces of evidence to prove that the report posted was false. If proved right, the company may redact or censor the report even though the report will continue to be present on the website. Both these programs are paid programs and can cost quite a bomb. Plus, the negative report never leaves the original URL page.
- Initiate legal proceedings against Ripoff Report. Not a very viable solution as the success rate is quite low because Ripoff Report argues using clauses mentioned in the CDA. Additionally, lawsuits are expensive affairs and can create a hole in your pocket.
- Initiate legal proceedings against the writer. Not a highly advisable option because, firstly the legal suit will bring in negative publicity for your brand; secondly, you need to have foolproof evidence to prove the claims to be false and thirdly, tracing the original writer is not an easy task.
The other aspect of this process is that if you are successful in proving your case, Google will initiate Ripoff Report Removal based on a court order. So, you need to file a lawsuit against the writer and prove that his claims are false and unfounded. Once done, the court of law will issue a legal order against the case. Once you have the court order in hand, you can send it to Google and the other search engines. In most cases, all the search engines belonging to companies of repute, especially Google will immediately respect the order and remove the webpage from its index. As a result, even though the original complaint will still feature on the Ripoff Report website, the offensive webpage will be ignored or pushed down by Google search engine to a bottom rank. Either way, it will feature a notification saying that in lieu of a legal request, one of the results was removed from the search page.
- Encourage Google for Ripoff Report removal. Also called burying the report, it basically means that you consciously try and force the felonious report down on Google search results. For doing this you might need to hire SEO Company who have the experience of dealing with such situations. Even though this process pays off in the end, it requires patience and continuous coordinated work on the part of the SEO marketing expert and the business entity.
- Make your business ground for fair practices. When your customers have faith in your business, they will tend to raise their issues directly with you rather than use platforms like ripoffreport.com.