Bad Review Haters Are Unstoppable
I know from firsthand experience that bad review haters cannot be dealt with. Trying to talk to them or reason with them just makes matters worse for two reasons; first, every reaction just pours more gasoline on the fire and second, every additional comment is considered new content by Google causing this shit storm to rank higher and higher in Google search results which is exactly what you don’t want.
The textbook case for this is Amy’s Baking Company which got all the worst kinds of attention after two episodes on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. It’s difficult to determine where to start so this nifty timeline from a local newspaper is useful.
Amy and her husband were absolutely clueless and turned a golden opportunity into the worst kind of life-changing debacle which ultimately led to the restaurant closing. Had they played their cards right and played ball with Gordon Ramsay by seeing sense and following his advice and capitalizing on massive publicity, Amy’s Baking Company could’ve been a money-making machine.
Instead, Amy and her husband Sami decided to take on all the bad review haters and they got slaughtered in the court of public opinion. Do a Google search for “kitchen nightmares amys baking company” and the volume of national coverage of the carnage is stunning. Again, this is exactly what a business owner doesn’t want. That’s what happens when you fight trolls; even if you win you lose.
Remember, every time you reply to a Yelp review or Google review, Google eats your new content like candy making it way more difficult to bury negative reviews; you’re helping them rank higher! The smart play would have been to ignore all of the trolls and fighting negative reviews by not replying to them. You deal with negative reviews by ignoring them which deprives them of the oxygen they need to grow. I know it seems counter-intuitive in that the business owner wants to set the record straight and tell their side of the story. Sadly, things very often go from bad to worse. Bad review haters often eat owner replies like candy too; the troll is more encouraged than ever to make you, your business and your life miserable. Haters thrive on your anger and misery like vampires.
I need to add that all the negative attention Amy and Sami drew to themselves thanks to all the bad review haters led to people digging for dirt on this couple and a lot of dirty laundry was exposed. Both of them had served prison time and Sami ended up with an immigration problem that came to light. In my opinion, if you have a checkered past you’d rather keep private then being as quiet as a mouse would be the right play.
What should Amy have done? In my opinion, Amy should’ve followed Gordon Ramsay’s advice to the letter instead of being so proud and stubborn. She hired a PR firm for reputation management which was the smartest thing she could’ve done. For reasons unknown the PR firm never actually did any work and my guess is that Amy got in the way. If I was hired to be her reputation defender today we’d bury bad reviews as she focused on her restaurant by listening to all the feedback and making improvements everywhere needed.
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