Duane Michals - Magnifying Glass © by Cea (2011)

People love to hate anonymously through the Internet. As a business owner, how do you address these haters without getting caught up in the negativity? What is your posting strategy? And do you reply to them directly, or ignore it completely?

I asked nine rock-star entrepreneurs who’ve dealt with the issue head-on to advise us all: What is your advice to other entrepreneurs in dealing with anonymous, negative posts online?

“To address these ‘haters,’ one must understand why they hate in the first place. Typically these ‘haters’ aren’t happy with what they’re doing themselves with their lives and professional careers. They resent the fact that entrepreneurs are able to do something they enjoy and work toward a goal they set for themselves. The best tactic is to embrace the haters instead of trying to counter and fight back. Haters will hate until they solve their own issues. One can point them in the right direction or give them some advice. Those who aren’t looking for or are not open to advice can simply be ignored. If an entrepreneur spends all his time trying to fight haters, he’s wasting his time and, essentially, letting the haters wins.”
Jordan Edelson, CEO of Appetizer Mobile LLC, a mobile development application platform and consulting company

“I usually ignore them or people who are a part of my community of success are happy to stand up for me. My posting strategy is to ignore them completely. The higher you climb the flagpole, the more your butt is going to hang out. So enjoy the climb.”
Nick Nanton, Esq., Emmy Award-Winning Director and Producer, also known as The Celebrity Lawyer and Agent to top celebrity experts

“If the people have a legitimate gripe or difference of opinion, I am happy to enter into debate or have a one-on-one dialogue offline or online. If people are hating because of jealousy or they have nothing better to do, then it’s not worth my time. If you show no respect even if you disagree with an opinion, you’re not worth my time. I am trying to make things happen for my business and family and I am only going to enter into dialogues where it is worthy of the discussion on both sides or could be educational for others. If you are a new entrepreneur, you have a circle that you are working on actively building and that circle is meant to help you in managing your online reputation. If you’ve done well by others and those comments are things that try to knock you down a peg or are written by a gremlin, use your support network to defend the position you are taking.”
Scott Gerber, serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist, TV host, founder of The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.), active angel investor and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job

“Take in the good and bad…embrace both, reflect on both internally, but never act on the negative. It is good to have a trusting soundboard or two to complain about negativity to, but never let it spawn out of control.”

Alex Kirshbaum, President of NUE Agency, a talent agency focused on concerts, tours and endorsement deals globally with an emphasis on Tech and the “NUE” music business

“People love to hate on other people who make uncommon decisions. It comes with the territory that if you’re going to chose to do something with your life that is risky and amazing that some people are going to try to demotivate you. The best way to approach these types of criticisms is to accept it with a positive attitude or avoid responding all together.”
Ryan Paugh, Community Director and Chief of Staff for The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.)

“I am lucky not to have received many nasty anonymous posts; but when they come in, they always make you scratch your head. I try not to censor people (my blog allows me to see the post and authorize it before it goes up) and so I have authorized the few posts that were from so-called haters. However, on one occasion I received an incredibly vulgar anonymous post to one of my blogs that had no value whatsoever to the discussion. I didn’t post it. A few weeks later I received an apology post from the author saying he didn’t know what got into him. After I received an aggressive and obnoxious post from another anonymous I finally thought ‘I am in favor of free speech but at least have the courage to say who you are.’ I changed my settings to no longer have anonymous comments as an option and that was the last time I got a nasty post. Another option is for you to keep the post up and allow your other supporters to respond to the hater directly — that can be a nice strategy as in the end it puts the hater in his or her place and gathers a large showing of support for you and your business.”
Marni Galison, founder and CEO of Sunday at Noon, a personalized matchmaking and event company in Manhattan, New York

“My advice would be think like a professional athlete. Stay focused, become the best you can be, take in the advice of those who have your best interests and know you are going to change and grow as a person. Ultimately this means that the way you do business and run your life is going to change. You will get to a point where you don’t care what people write about you. Unless they have been entrepreneurs themselves, they have no idea how hard it is to run a business. Just focus on what you’re doing.”
Amy Palmer, Emmy-Nominated Entertainment Correspondent, Executive Producer, CEO & Founder of PowerwomenTV

“I live in San Francisco and there’s an aura in the air here about how it’s a positive thing to be an entrepreneur. There are haters who might not like your idea, but I think that works to fuel the fire to be successful. There’s no point in focusing on haters. Focus, instead, on building great businesses and persevering.”
Matt Van Horn, Vice President of Business for Path

“It’s unfortunate that people put negative energy out there but ultimately they are only hurting themselves so I ignore it and I would advise other entrepreneurs to do the same.”
Natalie MacNeil, Emmy Award-winning digital media entrepreneur and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of She Takes on the World, a leading blog for women in business

Kris Ruby is the President and Founder of Ruby Media Group LLC, founded with the goal of opening the vast potential of Social Media on the web to companies wishing to build relationships, grow and profit from Web 2.0.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.