The $4.2 Million Reason NOT to Block Negative Online Reviews

  By James Moul  |    Thursday December 22, 2022

Category: Expert Advice, Productivity


Honesty and transparency have always played a key role in maintaining your staffing firm’s online reputation, and so much of your online reputation revolves around the reviews that clients or candidates leave on sites like Google and Facebook. 

That makes it tempting to get rid of negative reviews in order to highlight the positive ones. 

But a recent court case illustrates why “review gating,” or selectively blocking negative reviews of your company, can create potentially harmful—and extremely expensive—liability issues. 

Online fashion retailer Fashion Nova was required to pay a whopping $4.2 million to settle allegations that it blocked negative reviews of its products from being posted to its website, according to the Federal Trade Commission. To put it simply, they engaged in review gating—and it cost them, big time. 

No one is forcing your staffing firm to list negative reviews on your website, or keep them on Google or Facebook. But handling this the wrong way can backfire. So, what should you do with your negative reviews?  

What Should You Do With a Bad Review?

Can you simply delete all your bad reviews? Technically, yes, but it’s not a good idea. Google’s Terms of Service prohibit the practice of review gating, and as we’ve learned, it can prove costly to defy them. Plus, having only five-star reviews and nothing less makes you look inauthentic.  

Here’s a better plan for handling your firm’s negative reviews in a positive way - protecting your reputation while keeping your staffing firm safe: 

Address the complaint and look to move the conversation offline. 

Even if a person’s complaint was completely unfounded, it’s best to address the review in a polite manner and then attempt to move the conversation offline. You might respond with something like: “Hi [customer name], thank you for the feedback. I’m very sorry to hear that you didn’t have a great experience. If you could call our offices at XXX-XXX-XXXX, our management team would be happy to speak with you and help in any way we can.” 

This shows everyone looking at your reviews that you truly care and are looking for ways to improve. It demonstrates to both candidates and clients that you’re honest and will do everything you can to help.  

Don’t engage in "he-said, she-said."

You’ll lose. If the bad reviewer gets combative and won’t listen to reason, there’s no sense in going back and forth to try and convince them. Engaging in an online argument will only make your firm look petty and further damage your reputation. If the negative reviewer escalates to rude comments or harassment, it’s time to ban them from your page. 

Put a proactive plan in place to build positive reviews. 

The best way to combat negative reviews is to overwhelm them with positives. Put a plan in place to encourage happy clients and candidates to share their great experiences on sites like Google and Facebook. That way, your best clients and candidates will share the truth about your great service and drown out the trolls who just like to complain.  

Use review data. 

Rather than simply cutting and pasting your best reviews from Google Reviews, for example, and putting them onto your firm’s website, use a tool that utilizes review data. These tools allow for reviews placed on other sites, like Google or Facebook, to appear directly on your staffing agency’s website. This allows you to set rating thresholds for what reviews will appear, as well as manually hide and show reviews, without running afoul of Google’s terms. 

Qualify the reviews you share.  

If you do include only positive reviews on your website, be sure to qualify them. For example, include a headline like “Check Out Our 5-Star Reviews” so it’s clear you’re only displaying five-star reviews. Otherwise, your review section might look ingenuine or manufactured. 

Need Help With Online Reviews? 

Haley Marketing’s reputation management service helps your company get more positive reviews while limiting and staying on top of the negative ones. If you’re ready to take control of your online brand, contact us today to learn more

**Disclaimer: The content in this post is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. 


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