How to Address Negative Content on Review and Rating Sites? Don’t.

As an attorney, your online reputation is certainly important factor in obtaining clients. Offline referrals remain a significant part of your overall marketing efforts, but more and more people are searching for information through Google and other search engines.

The free access afforded by the Internet can be extremely beneficial for attorneys who are securing free marketing and advertising for their services. On the other hand, any unwanted content attached to the name of an attorney or law firm could result in the loss of prospective clients.

By monitoring review sites regularly for false or inaccurate information, you can prevent your online reputation from being permanently damaged.

Internet Users Own an Appetite for Destruction

What if someone registers the domain You’d have no way to combat this newly created website. And if a fellow lawyer posts a response to your cease-and-desist letter online? You’re powerless to prevent them from slinging your name through the mud. The Internet makes reputation destruction incredibly quick and efficient.

And that’s not all. Disgruntled clients comment, Tweet or post status updates about their disappointment with your services. Cagey competitors write extensive blog posts ridiculing your practice. Anyone with a computer monitor and keyboard can leave bad ratings and reviews for you on Google Places, Yelp, Avvo or LawyerRatingz.

Slander Sites Could Prove a Real Hassle

Let’s talk more in depth about a sticky situation that is all too common these days. An anonymous person slanders you on a third party site like RipOffReport, PissedConsumer or any one of the hundreds of other hate sites online. These sites are not legally obligated to remove the content from their site regardless of the veracity of their claims.

Even if you obtain a court order, these sites are protected from content removal under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It says that “interactive computer services” cannot be “treated as the publisher of speaker of an information” offered by a third party.

Unfortunately, negative listings often gain traction over time. Why? Anonymous users have the ability to post content without any consequences.

Taking Control of Your Review Profiles Works Wonders

When you begin monitoring your online reputation, you’ll need to make sure that all available information, from email addresses to phone numbers, is both accurate and up-to-date.

Start creating and maintaining profiles on all major review sites and update them as information changes. On most sites, you can include links to your professional website, social-media profiles, and a detailed list of services you provide.

Plus, it’s important to obtain positive reviews on top review sites such as Avvo, LawyerRatingz, SuperLawyers and Martindale.  For example, Avvo allows each attorney to create a profile where they can receive peer recommendations and client endorsements.

Failing to acquire these vital recommendations could very likely have a negative effect on the number of new clients you attract. Before acquiring an attorney, these individuals will be seeking out details about your career: biography, photo, area of practice, etc. Provide them with a positive image of your abilities to further enhance your chances of success.





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Blake Boldt

About Blake Boldt

Blake Jonathan Boldt is a content strategist for Reputation Advocate. He provides writing, editing, social media and content strategy services for both domestic and international clients. His articles have been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and digital media outlets.

More posts:View all posts by Blake Boldt

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