How to Manage Your Reputation Online

5-starHard at work, day in and day out you write articles, customize your website for your business, put out good content and finally you finish writing a book and hope to boost your authority in your niche.

Good for you!

It was a lot of work to write, edit, and publish but it’s out there now and slowly the book sales start to roll in.  Then you get your first review.  How exciting – the person who writes it is very complimentary and positive.

You know you poured your sweat into this book but now you are feeling validated, appreciated even.

Excellent job.

A positive review bumps your sales and you get another review.  Again very positive.  And sales continue to climb.

Then one day you notice a drastic decline in your sales.  What happened?

You check out your sales page and someone new has reviewed your book.

One star review.  The reason why they gave you one star makes absolutely no sense but your sales have been negatively affected.

Now what do you do?

First order of business is to be very careful about a negative review, especially if it is foolish and undeserved.

If a person has given you a negative review of 3 or 4 with a valid reason why, its a good idea to address their comment by replying to it.  Be genuine and be helpful.  Treat them like the customer they are.

When someone take the time to offer feedback its a good opportunity for you to make a positive impression that can result in a lifetime of sales.

WARNING – if you get a 1 or 2 star review on something you know is a good product – tread lightly.

First thing to check is this reviewers other reviews.  Do they have many?  Are they all severely negative?

If it looks like all they do is go around and say nasty things about products that aren’t at all constructive, then you are probably dealing with the Internet Troll.

If you haven’t met this dark little minded creature yet – you will!

These mean spirited little mongrels live in the dark corners of the internet just looking for places to plant seeds of hate words.

They have nothing of value to add to any community or conversation, and yet they thrive.

They are the passive bullies.

They can exhibit classic predator behaviours.

They have been classified by some as having sociopathic traits and tendency’s.

They roam freely in your internet, tracing their snot laden finger tips over their keyboards looking for someone like you to attack with their foul words.

The internet troll is probably the same type of person who:

  • will complain to no end about everything to anyone, but does nothing to change things.
  • will let the door close in your face by ‘pretending’ they didn’t see you.
  • parks their empty grocery cart in a parking space instead of returning it to the cart stall ten feet away.
  • puts garbage in the recycle bins
  • leaves every TV and radio blaring, and every light on when they leave a hotel room.

When they are home, they get on the computer and feel the power they possess when lording over the internet.  They are invisible and they prowl in the dark setting out to scatter their verbal halitosis all over the place.

They spend the evening going from forum to forum with useless comments or snarky slanders. Then visiting websites saying they have seen something better someplace else or generally picking name-calling fights with other commenters.

And then, just for the fun of it, they pull out their tar wands and smash your top star ratings with one stroke of an enter key.

How trolls affect your business

In the local business communities the troll can be found spreading their venom on Google+ Local by leaving their one star reviews.  This troll feces can cost you future clients, potential income, and some believe it can affect your rankings too.

Trolls are even being quite entrepreneurial about their craft.  Some of the braver ones are blackmailing business’s – threatening negative reviews unless they get some payoff not to.

You can even hire trolls to trash your competitor!

People do make decisions on what they read so it’s up to you to be pro-active about getting your positive reviews and dealing effectively with the negative ones.

The best way to get good reviews is to ask and make it easy for your customer to give you one.

If you have a blog, invite people to comment.  Or you can help direct a comment by asking a specific question like “have you had a similar experience?”

If you have a brick & mortar local business, have an ipad available at the cash for your customer to write up their testimonial right away.  You can also post your happy customers photograph on your G+ page too (with their permission of course).

If someone has said something nice, say thank you publicly and followup with them privately to give them a reason to buy from you again. For example you can mail them a coupon or gift certificate.

What do you do when a troll has darkened your doorstep?

It might be your first reaction to lash out and tell them a thing or two.  No doubt they deserve it.  But bullies like that sort of thing.  If you react in a way that enables them to cry as your victim, you have played right into their game.

They are thinking “Sucker!”

Getting defensive and publicly throwing insults in a forum or review site will most likely not have a positive result for you.  Even though it might feel good for a few moments.

Maybe you just want to ignore them.  You can do that but people who are on the fence about deciding whether or not to become your customer are reading your reviews.

You might want to consider some other alternatives.

Call them out – Invite them to contact you directly.  Make a point of being clear that their satisfaction is important to you.

Make sure your customer is happy before they leave.   If the customer didn’t bring this to your attention directly, state that in your reply.  If the situation has been fixed be sure to indicate this too.

If the review is fraudulent some review sites will delete them.  Check to see where the ‘report abuse’ links are and notify the site monitors.

The BEST way to deal with the troll is to bury their pointless rhetoric in good reviews.

Some people buy reviews, I would caution against that even if its just for Amazon.  It hasn’t wiped anyone off of Amazon yet for having paid reviews but I can see the writing on the wall.  The day is coming that Amazon will be slapping the bad actors off their site just like Google has on their’s.

If you get kicked with a negative review that is affecting your sales and you want to dilute it, try doing a promotion to your list or by other means.  Mark down your book price for the duration of the promotion and follow up with requests to drop in and give you a review.   Usually the reviews you get from people off your list will be quite positive.


  1. says

    OH the Internet Troll and I think I may have one on Facebook as for some reason lately I have been banned from making friends on Facebook and reason stating that I am making to many friend requests and also making friend requests from people I do not know and the funny part is that for the 300 friends I do have where made quite some time ago and its just within the last six months that I have been having this issue.

    The way I look at it Facebook would not have been built without making new friends just like in the real world we make new friends. One nasty friend can cause the same results as is mentioned in this article on the Internet Troll as they can cause severe damage to ones reputation and it seems with the way Facebook is so Faceless these days,Facebook would rather side on the side of the Internet Troll Bully.

    Kenneth C Young

  2. Cynthia Carpenter says

    Yes Bud, You can’t satisfy a troll. They are like the patron who brings their own cockroach into the restaurant just so they can get a free meal.

    Then complain about the service.

  3. says

    I have seen the troll in action. It even got to the point that the troll could not even be satisfied with free goods. In fact from this experience I would recommend just apologize, tell the Troll it will not happen again and move on.

    This is a great article and I have gotten a few good ideas for the future. Thank you for sharing your experience and expertise.

    Bud L

  4. says

    Great article! I can so relate to your story. Although I have not had the experience of internet trolls yet- thank goodness, I have been unfortunate to have had the experience of another type of troll/stalker who has tried to cause me difficulty in other parts of my life and my business. Trolls are everywhere. They are pathetic sad little people who enjoy this type of behavior. It is like a sport that they enjoy. The best way is not to fuel the troll ego by showing your anger or show them that you are upset, as troll’s thrive on this. The best way is as you suggest and don’t react in a negative way but rise above it by being gracious and professional. Play above the line. Trolls will move onto other people to cause problems and they hope to get negative response as this feeds their ugly personality., trolls never lurk too long in one spot. Hope your readers never have this experience. Take care x

    • Cynthia Carpenter says

      Yes Olivia, you are right – they do seem to have short attention spans and will go where they can feed their need. Maybe someday we will find a productive use for them.

  5. says

    Great article Cynthia.We pride ourselves on service and satisfaction.Over the last four years we have had nothing but positive feedback,and then this year we get a bad review from someone we have not even done business with ! I appreciate Jim Hutchinson mentioning that this could be someone who is hired to slag you (a competitor ???) as that thought had not entered my mind.I also thank you for putting it in to perspective.No one likes bad reviews,let alone those that are undeserved.

    • Cynthia Carpenter says

      Sorry to hear about that Bruce, I am sure that 4 years of good reviews will make the one bad review look out of place.

  6. says

    The Internet Troll is generally someone who is angry about not achieving success for themselves, was hired to post defamatory remarks, or simply enjoys seeing how others handle negativity. No matter what the reasoning behind their actions, this is your time to use your best customer service skills to put their comments and ratings in the dark, letting others know that you truly care.

    • Cynthia Carpenter says

      I agree Jim – it would be nice if they could find a less destructive hobby, but as you say, a great opportunity to show your mettle.

  7. says

    Hi Cynthia,

    Very good article. It is so sad that people just trying to do good and make a living get knocked down by people like this. I agree with you, the best thing is to ignore them and hold your head up high and continue with the good work you have already shared.

    The people who really matter are going to see through the bad reviews or comments.

    Have a great day. Monna

    • Cynthia Carpenter says

      Hi Monna,
      Thanks for sharing your words of encouragement. You are right, plow on through the negativity and just keep going. The next good review is just around the corner.

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