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One of the concerns about using social media and being more present online to build credibility is “what happens if it attracts negative comments?” How can it be dealt with without harming your reputation?

Online reviews are now the second most trusted form of marketing, only behind word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends.
Studies reveal that as many as one in three online reviews could be fake.

The problem of fake reviews is now so widespread that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have made its priority tracking down those responsible for the online attacks. The ACCC have a fact sheet free for download – What you Need to Know About: Online reviews - a guide for business and review platforms

Fake negative reviews about your business
Negative consumer reviews posted on a review platform which does not reflect a reviewer’s genuinely held opinion and are motivated by a personal dislike of a business or its staff can cause substantial harm.

Businesses affected by fake negative reviews have the right to complain to the platform which publishes the review and to relevant regulatory authorities.

Guidance on negative reviews about your business
The use of platforms as a forum for personal reprisals against staff or business owners is inappropriate. Businesses affected by personal vendettas should notify the review platform immediately, identifying affected reviews, and providing reasons.

In extreme circumstances, businesses which are the victims of ongoing harassment or serious threats through fake negative reviews may also consider contacting Police. Affected businesses should also notify the review platform immediately, providing them with reasons and any evidence of relevant fake reviews.

The consumer watchdog warns that those posting fake reviews for reprisal or as part of a personal vendetta face fines of up to $220,000 and that amount can increase to more than a million dollars for companies.

But what should you do about genuine negative online reviews? See our article about how to respond with Negative Reviews online