How to deal with fake online reviews

Kona Impact has recently been attacked online by a neighboring business, most notably by posting fake negative reviews about our business online. Our stance is that we welcome honest and direct communication from our customers–positive or negative. We have no problem with truthful criticism, but slander is, well, slander and uncalled for in the business world, as well as being actionable in court.

What is a business to do when a competitor or a disgruntled neighbor? So far, we have taken the high road and just documented what is happening, with the hope they will move on and focus their energies on their business instead of ours, but if it persists, we’ll have to escalate.

Dealing with fake online reviews for a business can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to address the issue:

  1. Identify Fake Reviews: Start by identifying which reviews are fake. Look for suspicious patterns, such as multiple positive or negative reviews posted in a short time frame, overly generic or vague language, or reviews that seem out of place.
  2. Report to the Platform: Most online review platforms have policies against fake reviews. Report the fake reviews to the platform and provide evidence to support your claim. Each platform may have its own reporting process, so be sure to follow their guidelines.
  3. Respond Diplomatically: Respond to the fake reviews politely and professionally. Address the concerns raised in the review, and mention that you take all feedback seriously. Avoid engaging in arguments or making accusations in your responses.
  4. Encourage Legitimate Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave honest reviews. Genuine positive reviews can help counterbalance the impact of fake ones.
  5. Flag and Report the User: If you can identify the user who posted the fake review, flag and report their account to the platform. They may violate the platform’s terms of service.
  6. Legal Action (if necessary): In some cases, if the fake reviews are causing significant harm to your business and can be traced back to a competitor or individual, you may consider legal action. Consult with a legal professional to explore your options.
  7. Monitor and Document: Monitor your online reviews and document any suspicious activity. This can help in providing evidence if needed.
  8. Educate Your Customers: Consider educating your customers on how to spot fake reviews. This can raise awareness and reduce the impact of such studies.
  9. Seek Public Relations Help: If the fake reviews are causing substantial damage to your business’s reputation, consider seeking the assistance of a public relations expert to help manage the situation.

Remember that addressing fake reviews may take time and patience. It’s essential to maintain a professional and ethical approach throughout the process.