Ripoff report is a place where anyone – and I do mean anyone – can post a “report” about an individual or a company. The report does not have to have any relation to the truth. It could be as far from or close to the truth as the poster cares to go. Once the poster hits send, that report is logged and usually will rank very high on Google’s search results page.
Like a bathroom stall in a seedy bar, anyone with a pen or a marker can go in and scrawl a message including names, business information, and even personal details with impunity. To see it, one would just have to go to the bar, walk into the bathroom and read away. Unfortunately for those lavatory vandals, not much credibility is given to restroom rumor-mongers. And you can only reach a small audience, the people who come to that particular bar and visit that little stall.
Unlike the grafittied-up stall, Ripoff Report is easily searchable from anywhere in the world and ranks highly on Google and other search engines. To make matters worse, the site itself lends some credibility to whatever someone writes. Someone searching for your name who doesn’t know the real nature of Ripoff Report might just assume, because it is a website that looks halfway decent, there is some merit to whatever accusation appears. As if those two things weren’t enough, Ripoff Reports also last forever. The site never takes down content on its own. So, not only is it easily found, people tend to believe it, and it lasts forever!
Google yourself. Go ahead! You should do this every once in a while. What do you see?
If your results are all things that make your proud, awesome! You probably don’t need to keep reading (unless you know someone who might not have such great results!).
If, like a lot of us, there are some results that you are not so excited about but nothing as malicious or persistent as a Ripoff Report, BrandYourself offers a free service that you can use to help get content that you do like up instead. There is also an online reputation management guide that can get you up to speed if this is something you haven’t dabbled with before.
If, like too many, you find a result from Ripoff Report, you are going to need a little more firepower to take it down. Do not fear, however, there are ways to get these results taken down or at least pushed down to the second, third, fourth page of your result or even further. This is as effective as getting it taken down as 91% of searchers don’t even click through to the second page and only 1% ever venture to the third. Contact us immediately to get support! Otherwise, keep reading to see what you can do.
What Can I Do?
As we learned earlier, Ripoff Report doesn’t remove content on its own. They also make it very difficult for content to be removed by anyone else, even the user who wrote the original report can’t easily delete what he or she wrote. They argue that if they had a more lenient process for removing content, it would be easy for large corporations or wealthy individuals to move in and intimidate or use their influence and financial backing to get the content removed. This argument makes a surprising amount of sense.
Imagine you post a aggressively negative but truthful review of a product on Walmart’s website. You bought a toaster and the toaster exploded and seriously injured your significant other. How long before Walmart takes that down? Minutes? So where do you turn? Ripoff Report would allow you to post that review and warn others of the problem so they too don’t get injured. If they allowed content to be pulled down easily, Walmart would quickly move in and have the content stripped. Or Walmart would offer you a deal to remove the content yourself, leaving the public at a disadvantage.
The only problem is, those are not the kinds of things people post on Ripoff Report. The site is little more than a glorified gossip rag. Very few people use Ripoff Report to ensure that their grievance with a large entity is seen by the public. Most use it for petty jabs at friends or business partners who they perceive scorned them.
So, how can we remove the content from our results?
Ripoff Report offers it’s own arbitration process for those willing to wait (and pay). It costs $2,000 and necessitates your signature on several documents, many of which remind you that there is no guarantee the arbitration will end with the removal of the content. They also declare that the burden of proof rests squarely on your shoulders (no innocence until proven guilty here!). You must submit evidence to prove the falsehood of the claim(s) no matter how outrageous or untruthful the claim may be. As anyone who has wrestled with liable law in the past can tell you, proving a hard truth, like whether or not a bill was paid, is easy. Proving a soft truth, like a claim about your character or an interaction with another individual, is false is another story.
Picture this, you are in the hallway at school opening your locker. The rest of the hallway is empty except for one other person, Trey. Trey turns to you and calls you a name. You know the drill so you do what adults have always told you and ignore him. Trey presses forward with the verbal attack and this time pushes you too. You tries to walk away but Trey pushes you again! It’s clear he is not going to stop so, to protect yourself, you turn and push Trey back. After a brief but intense stare-down, you part ways and go to your respective classrooms. The next thing you know, the intercom in buzzes to life and calls you to the office.
Who do you see when you walk in? None other than Trey, doing his best impression of a wounded saint. “Trey here says you pushed him in the hallway, called him names and generally are just a plain old mean person,” says the principal with disdain, “What do you have to say for yourself?” What can you say? How can you prove (sadly the school doesn’t have video cameras) that you didn’t? That Trey started it all? The sad truth is, you can’t.
As that school house drama illustrates, proving you are not the kind of person someone else claims or even proving that you did or didn’t do a certain act can be impossible. Ripoff Report makes it very clear that they are going to side with the poster if the proof is not airtight. So, for many, going to arbitration is just not going to help. You’ll be out $2,000 and be right back where you started.
2. Respond to the Report (not recommended)
One option is to post a comment on the offending Ripoff Report and hope that it sways readers enough to ignore the post itself. This is not a good idea. Google ranks sites based on relevance of the content and authority of the page. If you reply to a report and refer to yourself or the company by name, that adds relevance. Adding a comment at all counts as social activity which adds authority. This all adds up to the post gaining traction rather than losing it.
Not only will the comment add authority to the post in Google’s eyes, making it rank even more highly, it will also discredit you further. When has it ever helped to say, “Nuh uh!” after someone made an outrageous claim? The answer is somewhere between not once and never.
People reading will either ignore the comment, not even read it, or think the original post is even more true because there you are denying it! It seems counterintuitive but, that is how the human mind operates. Readers will see you more as the criminal returning to the scene of the crime than the bearer of truth and wisdom.
Don’t add fuel to the poster’s fire; don’t comment.
3. Go To Court
You have the option of suing the poster or even Ripoff Report to get a negative report taken down. Just like in the arbitration process, this would require irrefutable proof and cost a ton of money and take a lot of time. And, just like in the arbitration, there would be no guarantee that you would win.
If you manage to have the case ruled in your favor, you can get a court order that states the content is false. From here, you can use this court order to try and leverage Ripoff Report or you can use it to convince Google itself to remove the result. This will not do anything to eliminate the report itself but it will stop it from showing up in your results.
If you live in the European Union, you have a few other options available to you thanks to the Right To Be Forgotten. To understand more about those options, visit this page. If you think the Right To Be Forgotten might apply to you, contact us immediately for help navigating this tricky law!
Even if you won the case and submitted the order, what would stop the poster from just going on the next day under a different name and posting the same thing? Or something worse?
4. Show Yourself!
Of course, we saved the best for last. In our opinion, this is the most effective and longest lasting way to put that Ripoff Report to bed. You surround it with positive content you create or have someone create for you. These web properties can be optimized to rank highly for your name and can be customized to show the real you, not what some online bully wants others to see. As these sites rank really well, they can even push the Ripoff Report down in the rankings. This is the ideal situation as once the Ripoff Report is on the second or third page or even further down in the rankings, no one will ever see it. It is as close as you can get to deleting a Ripoff Report.
Ripoff Reports can really ruin your results and affect businesses and personal lives. Don’t let that happen to you! There are a lot of ways you can try and get Ripoff Reports removed but the only one that really works is to show the true you online. Use BrandYourself’s free software to help you do it yourself, or reach out to let the experts help you remove a Ripoff Report.