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Dealing with Ripoff Reports and unfounded accusations
The scenario – you search your name on Google. On page one there’s a negative site claiming that you are a fraud, a con artist, a liar or similar. How do you deal with this to avoid inflaming the situation? We receive a lot of queries from victims alleging defamation and cyberbullying on a site called Ripoff Report, and asking us to try and remove the posts from Google search results. Sadly, there is currently no legal method of achieving this. Ripoff Report refuses to remove reports, and unless there’s a case of copyright infringement there aren’t really any grounds to submit a takedown notice to Google – unless you have a court order. So far, there are no reported cases of successful litigation in the public domain against this firm that has resulted in such a court order.
However, there are ways to ensure the alleged defamation or cyberstalking doesn’t reach page one of Google search results.
For “name” searches – which is typically what our clients are most concerned about – the following sites will always rank better than Ripoff Report:
- A personal website with your name in the domain name, the website title, the title of every page, and the headers in every post or page.
How to bury the Ripoff Report
To ensure a Ripoff Report does not feature on page one of Google when searching for your name, you will need to create at least 10 profiles using Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook Pages – each using your name – but crucially, including entirely different information in each profile. For example, you might decide to create a Twitter profile about your interest in music, and another for your profession and another relating to your location. Alternatively, you might decide to create doppelgangers – a series of fictional characters that all happen to share your name. (Best not to do this with Facebook though, it might breach the TOS).
Once you have your personal website/blog and enough Twitter / Linkedin / Facebook Pages / Whitepages listing profiles, you will find after three to four weeks that any Ripoff Report post featuring your name will drop from page one to page two. Why is that important? Because 75% percent of readers don’t read beyond page one on “name searches”.
Don’t click on the negative material in Google search results!
Remember – never click on negative search results for your name in Google. Clicks could result in the material rising higher up the ranking, or remaining there for longer. Any result receiving no clicks before the next crawl is likely to drop down by itself.
Never reply to a Ripoff Report
Resist the temptation to reply to the Ripoff Report. Doing so only ensures it will rise higher in Google search results.
Our “Reputation Management” advice is free
Our take on ‘Reputation Management’ has always been that deleting material using valid legal mechanisms is best practice. Burying is always second best. That’s why we never charge for advice on burying. In this case, however, at the moment at least, it’s probably the only method to deal with this particular website.