While looking through the site index of our business listing, I came across several negative remarks that were coming from a group of people who were also commenting positively about a similar business within the local area. As a web designer, I always make it a point to not speak negatively of our competitors, and in most cases, I’ll not comments at all on their business unless they are the very best in the field.
After reading a few of the comments, it was apparent that they were coming from someone associated with the business and from the same individual. This persons business had roughly 20 “positive” comments about their business, but had not made the effort to ensure that they weren’t noticeably written by the same individual. Inevitably, another web designer began making fun of the scenario.
This is where the self serving positive comment become a nightmare for multiple businesses. For reasons unknown, this business owner began raging against his competitors, Naper Design included. Since we focus on both Web Design and SEO, he assumed that all of the joking statements must be coming from our team. Admittedly, we did have a few clients who were less than kind with their responses to his form of deception, but he only took this to mean that we were involved. His response was to post this laundry list of negative statements about our company to the point that he’d committed slander and defamation of character.
The situation was resolved with the assurance of our strong legal teams ability to sue him, and the comments were removed within just a few minutes(proving they had been written all by him). He still maintains a large list of fake comments on his page, and assuredly, others will likely continue to make light of the shady business practice.
I referred to it as “shady business practice”.
I did son because that’s exactly what it is. When afforded the chance to have clients give feedback, both positive and negative, some businesses will immediately begin writing comment after comment about their own business to appear more user friendly. While this is not one of the more hanus actions a business can commit, it is one of deception and can be easily dtected by those reading the responses. If the comments are written in the same style and manner, if they are written in a way that shows the same character, and if they are in the same vernacular, it becomes obvious to the reader that they have been forged by one single individual.
While this situation has been resolved, multiple businesses have sustained damage to their credibility and are working hard to repair the damages made by these actions. As a web designer, credibility is something that has to be earned, not self stamped within a comment field. If found to be untrue or being decptive in ones actions, a web design company can lose all of its business and clients from just such an action.
I don’t wish for this competing business to go under and hope for their recuperation after these recent events, but I do hope that they learn to not make such blatant attempts at manipulating the system. The web design community may be competitive, but that doesn’t prevent us from being both civil and cooperative.