Negative reviews on the Internet – how to deal with them

Negative reviews on the Internet

Online reputation is as much an intangible asset as a website. It affects customer loyalty, the number of orders, and even the search for company specialists. If there are a lot of negative reviews about you on the Internet, this threatens with a complete loss of business .

Many specialists refuse to work with the removal of negative information on the Internet, since this requires a certain level of knowledge and training, and the result is not known in advance.

Read Also: What is content marketing and how to use it to promote your business

The easiest way to remove negative feedback is to pay a certain amount to the site administrator, and the review disappears from the site. The second option is to file a defamation complaint. (depending on site specifics)

But the website owner can leave the request without attention, and the negative removal specialists are paid only for the result. They spend their time texting without knowing if the review will be deleted.

This is how 90% of professionals work. The rest are ready to think more broadly and apply more complex mechanisms of influence: complaints to the hoster, appeals to the RKN. Such work takes a lot of time, but it is cheaper for the brand.

Anyone without much legal knowledge can remove unreliable negative information. I will tell you how to proceed.

And who did it?

Sometimes, to resolve the conflict, it is enough to contact the author of the negative.

If you understand the situation and fix the problem that has arisen, the chances of negative feedback from the site are high. A person writes a bad comment not to ruin your reputation, but to get a solution to their problem.

How to act

  • Make a dialogue plan.
  • Call or write to the author of the negative review and sort out the situation.
  • Do not attempt to delete a review if there is a common misunderstanding between you.

Call rules

Say hello to a person by talking to him by name. Thank you for your willingness to engage in dialogue. Apologize and admit your mistake. Correct the situation (return the money, offer a warranty repair or replacement of the goods). Fix the result – provide a bonus or a discount on the next order. Politely ask for the review to be removed, but don’t demand it.

If the author does not make contact, and the material greatly damages the reputation and at the same time violates the legislation of the Russian Federation, send a complaint or pre-trial claim to the site administration. 

It is better to start with a complaint, because a pre-trial claim is often perceived as a threat. If the negative is not removed, go to court.

How to work with site administrators

According to the law, all public resources must disclose the contacts of the administration, so that in case of violation of the law, one can contact the site and delete information.

Be careful with bribery! At the first contact, do not ask how much money you need to pay for removal.

How to remove a review that violates the rules of the site

The administration is 99% likely to delete a review if it contains:

  • Foul language and insults
  • Mention of a competitor
  • The review was left in error (this must be proven)
  • The author did not provide identification data (this does not work on all sites)

Also, the administration, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, is obliged to remove the negative if it contains your personal data, slander, humiliation of national dignity.

Will the host help?

If the site owner does not respond to your requests, do not rush to look for lawyers and run to court. To get started, find out what hosting hosts the site, and write a complaint to the abuse mail.

There is no law obliging hosting providers to block information at the request of users. But conscious providers always meet halfway, and in the event of a violation of copyright law, they block the offending site.

How events might unfold

  • The site administration will independently remove negative reviews indicated by the hosting provider.
  • The site will be disabled.
  • The hoster will not answer you – in this case, you will have to go to court.

What kind of claims can be filed with the court

Copyright infringement or defamation with documented evidence. These may be site inspection protocols; notarized screenshots of web pages; contracts confirming your exclusive rights; screenshots from the webmaster and other evidence.

How Search Engines Work

If the site administration refused to remove compromising information, you can remove it from the search results or contact the RKN.

Removing compromising information is one way to remove personal data from search results. At the same time, information remains available on the site itself, but is not displayed when searching. But if it has informational and social value, then it will not be possible to remove it in this way.

What can a search engine remove

  • Photos, videos, screenshots of correspondence, intimate materials published without your consent.
  • Fake prnography created with the help of graphic or video editors, published without consent.
  • Medical and financial information, details of identity documents.
  • Materials about personal life.
  • Contact information posted to maliciously deanonymize a person.

With the help of 149-FZ “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection”, you can remove the full name of individuals from the issuance. At the same time, the material remains available via a direct link on the site, but is removed from the search.

What can be deleted by the right to be forgotten – only for individuals

  • Inaccurate, incorrect, irrelevant or knowingly false information.
  • Information about criminal offenses at the expiration of their statute of limitations.
  • Information about criminal offenses committed by a person, the conviction for which is closed.

Roskomnadzor, or Magic RKN

The RKN will help you if the site contains child pornography, information about drugs, calls for suicide; copyright infringement detected; your personal information is made public. 

Most often, the RKN blocks sites by court order, but you can try to contact the organization directly through the electronic reception. The term for consideration of applications is up to 30 days.

Court as the last resort

If the above actions did not bring results, and the negative needs to be removed, there is only one option left – going to court. It is quite possible to delete information in this way, but it is long and difficult. Therefore, choose reliable lawyers with experience in protecting business reputation and real cases.

Main reasons for going to court

  • Slander.
  • Insults.
  • Dissemination of personal data.
  • Copyright infringement.

Study the law in detail and make sure that there are violations on the page. To remove information under Article 128.1 (Defamation), it is necessary to prove that the posted information is incorrect and false. To confirm the fact of insults, you will need to order a linguistic examination.

If you go to court, be prepared to incur costs:

  • Lawyer (~100 thousand);
  • Notary (~ 35-50 thousand );
  • Linguist (~ 10 tr per page);
  • State duty.

Litigation lasts about 6-12 months, but may take longer.

An open list of copyright objects is contained in Article 1259 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

The protected objects of copyright on the Internet include:

  • The site as a whole (a composite work in accordance with part 2 of article 1259 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation;
  • All types of content on the site (unique texts, images, etc.).

Pre-trial settlement

If you find a single copied article or photo on someone else’s site, send a statement to the administration of the web resource about the unauthorized use of intellectual property. It is possible that the material will be removed. The site owner has 24 hours to do so.

IMPORTANT! The application must fully comply with the requirements imposed on it by Article 15.7 of the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection”.

You can first file an application to block the site, and after that – a lawsuit. The main thing is to do it within 15 days, otherwise the web resource will be unblocked, and the affected party (site owner) has the right to demand compensation.

When reading the text you want to delete, weigh each word. Even one is enough to delete information. Feel free to send a complaint if the text contains the word “scammers”; you are compared with a competitor (does not work on all sites); your personal data is disclosed; contains obscene language and insults.

Criminal liability – how realistic is it?

When sending a complaint, it is sometimes useful to remind the administration of a web resource about the responsibility that arises when posting information that violates the laws of the Russian Federation.

Your phrase might be:

“In case of refusal to consider the issue and delete the review, we reserve the right to apply to the supervisory and judicial authorities in order to carry out appropriate checks regarding the violation of articles 128.
1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 152 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and 5.61 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, with the involvement of the administration of your resource.”

Moral damage

The business reputation of a company is considered to be discredited if two signs are revealed simultaneously:

  • Reputational losses
  • Financial losses (for example, a client received a letter refusing to cooperate with you precisely because of discrediting information, a sharp drop in the value of shares, etc.).

You can determine the amount of reputational damage at your discretion. You can hire professional appraisers.

Summary

In 90% of cases, you can remove the negative from the Web. But is the game worth the candle?

Work on your reputation, prevent negativity, process negative reviews in a timely manner, and then you won’t have to delete anything.

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