What to know about leaving negative reviews online

Money, News

The following originally appeared on the Real Self blog

American consumers have strongly embraced online reviews of goods and services. According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, online reviews have become one of the most trusted sources of consumer information when making purchasing decisions, trailing only behind branded websites and the gold standard of the personal referral.

Nielsen Trust in Advertising Survey

What accounts for this phenomenon? It’s likely the fact that online reviews offer consumers a glimpse of the reality behind a product or service. With the marketing veneer stripped away, the truth of the consumer experience is revealed — both good and bad.

While this transparency is great for consumers, it’s not always so popular with businesses, particularly those that aren’t providing the most up-to-scratch customer service. Rather than embrace online feedback as free market research, some businesses react by trying to prevent reviews, stifle feedback, or even by suing when negative opinions are voiced.

However, the fact that some businesses are thin-skinned shouldn’t stop you from making your online voice heard. Here are a few things to keep in mind when leaving reviews online, especially when your consumer experience was less than stellar:

  • Businesses have tried to ban consumer reviews, but governments responded with their own bans.
  • Negative opinions are fair play, but you must get your facts straight.
  • Federal law protects review sites from being sued over negative user reviews.
  • Don’t let high-profile lawsuits and contractual gag orders keep you from voicing your opinions and experiences online.

Read the full article at the Real Self blog.

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