How small businesses can manage their online reputation

By Nathan Segal, CIO |  IT Management

If this happens to you, don't give in. That will only empower the extortionist, and you can be sure he'll come back for more. In addition, remember that one negative review won't sink your business. Besides, even if you meet the demands of the extortionist, you might still get a negative review. File rebuttals using calm, clear language, and avoid point-by-point fights.

That said, know that the situation can rapidly escalate into cyber bullying. If that's the case, here's what to do:

  • First, appeal to a higher authority-law enforcement, Internet service provider, hosting company and so on.-with the power and willingness to stop the bully. This last part is crucial. If the higher authority has the power but is unwilling to use it, the battle is over unless you choose to continue to fight. That could take years, too, since closing down an online extortionist is not easy.
  • When the battle is over, just walk away. This is hard to do because it's counterintuitive; when you're being attacked, the natural impulse is to fight back. Unfortunately, bullies get their "juice" from the conflict, and they want it to go on for as long as possible. If you walk away, you take away their power. This can be especially difficult if there's a financial investment involved, but when you consider how long the conflict could go on, ask yourself if it's really worth it. You could sacrifice years of your life.

Walking away will defuse the conflict, but don't expect it to suddenly end. The bully will almost certainly taunt you and do everything he can to drag you back into the fray.

Even when it does end, don't be surprised if the bully resurfaces in an effort to rekindle the battle. The best response is no response. Walk away, again-no matter how much you want to fight back. This will save your life, sanity and health. While it's very tempting to fight back, unless you can defeat the bully you're liable to escalate the conflict-and face legal and/or criminal repercussions to boot.

Don't Feed the Internet Trolls

The word "troll" probably brings up an image of a nasty, ugly creature living under a bridge. In real life, Internet trolls can be a nightmare for your business. They may not write an inflammatory report about your business; rather, because they bought your product (and don't like it), they feel they have license to insult you and your service as they please.

News: 'Patent Trolls' Cost Tech Companies $29 Billion Last Year, Study Says


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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