How much could one little bad review hurt you? More than you might think. In fact, one nasty review on a website like Yelp could have repercussions you could feel months or even years later, and sometimes, it’s hard to undo the damage until that little review has been removed or replaced with hundreds of better reviews.

Not convinced? Here are three very real reputation consequences you could face if you don’t address a nasty review just as soon as it appears.

1. You could lose customers, particularly mobile customers.

Review sites like Yelp are tailor-made for the mobile market. They load quickly, and they come with all sorts of graphics that make sorting easy. And that sorting feature could be bad news for you in the wake of a bad review.

Mobile users searching for a business often sort by ratings. If they’re out on the hunt for pizza, they look for joints within walking distance, and they sort reviews by the grades others have given the pizza spot. If you’ve gotten a bad rating, you might lose in the sort. And each customer you lose could go to your competitor, and if the person gets good service there and gives a good review, your company could look even worse by comparison.

It all starts with just one negative review and one lost opportunity. And if you don’t stop the problem there, it can grow and grow.

2. You could see more negative reviews appear, just like magic.

When one person writes a nasty review, others seem more willing to do the same. It’s as if that first review provides people with the permission they need to take the gloves off and attack your business and your products. People you offended months ago might find the nerve to finally speak up, once they’ve seen that someone else has started the conversation.

And, if your review is really negative, you could get bogus reviews from incensed readers. It happens all the time. A consumer gets really upset about an issue (typically involving a hot-button issue, like discrimination), and writes a review. Local reporters pick up the story, and it goes viral. Soon, your page is flooded with reviews that support the original poster. And it’s hard to dig out of the damage.

3. The reputation attack could move from the review site to other sites.

If you don’t handle a review problem when it appears, it tends to grow in power each and every day. Soon, you’ll see attacks hitting your website, your Facebook page and your storefront. That’s especially true if the review stemmed from something that caught the public’s attention, like a claim of discrimination or law-breaking. When that happens, the story tends to spread all over the place. And at that point, it’s a lot harder to control.

Taking Swift Reputation Action

Clearly, it’s not smart to let an attack like this just sit there. But, some review site attacks are easy to overlook. Unless you have some kind of monitoring system in place, an attack could unfold right under your nose, and you might not even know it’s happening.

At, we’ve developed a review management program you can use to monitor your reviews as they happen. Click here for a free trial.

Image: David Castillo Dominici via

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