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How Contractors Can Protect Themselves From Online Review Extortion

If you’ve enjoyed my other posts (here and here) about how I despise Yelp’s business practices and lack of ethics, here’s another one for you.

I’ve told you about Service Champions, a company that used to have over 750 five-star reviews on Yelp that “mysteriously” vanished once the company stopped paying Yelp for advertising.

Service Champions is now down to a measly 81 five-star reviews and a 3.5-star average overall.

What’s happening is Yelp is burying Service Champions’ five-star reviews in the ultra-small, inconspicuous “Not Recommended Reviews” section at the bottom of Service Champions’ Yelp page.

Reviews that are not recommended by Yelp don’t show up in a company’s overall score or review-score breakdown. And the average person will never notice the 1,000-plus great reviews hiding on Service Champions’ Yelp page.

The other day, my curiosity got the best of me—I just had to know how much the “Not Recommended” reviews were impacting Service Champions’ score.

So I paid a guy on Craigslist $40 to tally the “Not Recommended” reviews and calculate the overall rating.

(Gotta loves Craigslist.)

Here are the results (remember, their average for “Recommended” reviews is 3.5 stars) …

Number of “Not Recommended” reviews: 1,302

“Not Recommended” reviews score breakdown:

1 Star – 35 (2.69%)
2 Star – 4 (0.31%)
3 Star – 3 (0.23%)
4 Star – 40 (3.07%)
5 Star – 1,217 (93.47%)

Average of “Not Recommended” reviews score: 4.84 stars!

If we add the “Recommended” reviews to these, the totals become:

1 Star – 86 (5.85%)
2 Star – 16 (1.09%)
3 Star – 16 (1.09%)
4 Star – 51 (3.47%)
5 Star – 1,300 (88.50%)

Grand total average for ALL reviews: 4.68 stars!

4.68 stars - shocked
The difference between a 3.5-star average (what Yelp says Service Champions has) versus a 4.68-star average (what Service Champions should actually have) is night and day.

Studies show a huge drop-off in prospect interest when companies dip below a four-star rating. That’s not just for Yelp, but also every other online review website.

Ninety-four percent of consumers said they would use a company with a four-star average, while only 57 percent of consumers said they would use a company in the three-star range.

What a difference one little star makes, huh?

This is why it’s important to constantly monitor your online reviews and generate new ones from satisfied customers. The amount of business you’ll lose out on with even an average online reputation is off the charts.

But how do you monitor your online reputation across 100-plus review websites AND generate a steady stream of new positive reviews… WHILE dealing with the 294 other aspects of running a business?

By having hired professionals manage your online reputation for you.

MYM’s Online Reputation Management (ORM) does everything you need to have a stellar online reputation that makes prospects want to contact you:

  1. New Review Soliciting – We shrewdly and respectfully email your customer list that you provide us and direct them to leave you a review.
  2. Subpar Review Interception – If a customer leaves you less than a three-star review (this number is customizable), it gives them a quick pop up that says, “Hey! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We want to make it right. Please call us.” This gives you the chance to take that poor review and turn it into a positive review.
  3. Brand Monitoring – You’ll be alerted every time a new review is published about your company. This is not limited to reviews we generate through the reviews process, but any review across review websites. This makes it easy for you to respond to negative and positive reviews quickly. (Which is something you should be doing—here’s how.)

Click here to find out more about MYM’s Online Reputation Management. Also be sure to use the free Review Scanner at the top of the page to generate an instant reputation report of your business.


P.S. I haven’t shown you a new client website in a hot second. That’ll change next week, as we’re rolling out a bunch of awesome new projects over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

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