The importance of establishing and maintaining a positive web image, and the devastating effects of receiving negative publicity has certainly been apparent in the news over the past few weeks.
First came the news that a French restaurant successfully sued a blogger after she wrote a bad review about their service. The judge did not find blogger Caroline Doudet’s content to be defamatory, but did object to the blogs headline; ‘The Place to Avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino’ which appeared high on Googles search pages.
Now, a shoe retailer in Northern Ireland has accused a blogger of causing similar damage to their business after a negative review appeared online.
The problems started for Robinsons Shoes when Jesper Ingevaldsson, who runs a shoe-themed blog, wrote an account of his dealings with Robinson’s Shoes entitled: ‘Warning for Robinson’s Shoes’.
Martin McKeown, Robinson’s Shoes digital marketing executive, is certain that the post has had a negative impact on business: “It is detrimental to our business, about 85% of which is done online,” he said. Mr McKeown admitted that he had little proof of lost sales, but added that the stores data revealed that “people have clicked off our site, opened a new tab, read something else, then closed our site down.”
The negative review is currently displayed second in Google’s search results, after the official website.
Danny Sullivan, founder of news site Search Engine Land, believes that the ups and downs of comments and blogs is part of online life for businesses: “There is the debate about whether someone might be able to punch above their weight and the argument is that one bad review shouldn’t have to define your business” he said, adding that businesses must also be aware that a bad review on social media can also have a big impact. However, “people expect there to be negative things about businesses online. They would almost be more suspicious if there was not” he adds.