The 3 Worst Responses to Negative Online Comments

When it comes to protecting your reputation, it matters less what happens to your company and more what you do about it. For instance, your response to bad online reviews will linger longer in the public memory than the reviews themselves. Don't believe us? Look at these examples of bad responses to criticism on the internet.


1. Nestle Fails PR 101

It began as a simple request: the candy giant asked their Facebook fans not to publish altered versions of their logo on Facebook. Forgetting for a moment that free viral marketing like that is actually good for companies and shouldn't be discouraged, especially in this age of memes and social sharing, Nestle's response to their fans' dismay was ... well, not helpful.

The lesson? As points out, "It's PR 101: Don't insult your customers."


2. Moving Company Threatens to Sue ... for a Bad Yelp Review

In May 2011, blogger Phil Buckley's wife Kristen wrote a negative review of a moving company on Yelp . Thirteen months later, the company responded to the review on Yelp, disputing Kristen's version of events. Five months after that, the Buckleys received a certified letter threatening to sue.

Buckley, being a blogger, promptly put the whole exchange up on his site, complete with photos of the letter, screenshots of his wife's negative review and other similar reviews, and a thorough analysis of the company's other, more positive online reviews and their likely legitimacy (not strong, according to Buckley).

The lesson? You may or may not be able to win a lawsuit against a disgruntled customer who takes to Yelp or Citysearch to complain about your business. But either way, you're likely to generate much more negative publicity than your company could ever have gotten from one online review.


3. Motrin's Ad Agency Asks, "What's Twitter?"

OK, it was in 2008, but still, an ad agency's unawareness of a Twitter storm brewing over one of their online ads let a potential blip grow into a reputation nightmare.

The lesson? Be on top of social media ... or make sure you've hired someone who is. Ideally, there should be someone at every company who finds out about the newest ways to connect before they become big enough to be a problem.


The Bottom Line

A bad review isn't the end of the world. If you want to protect your company's online reputation, your reaction matters much more than the initial review. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Images: Nestle's Facebook, via, davedames/Flickr