You may have heard of this phenomenon. It can happen anywhere, to anyone at all with a reviewable presence, whether it’s on Facebook, Yelp, Google, Bing, Steam, Amazon, or even somewhere else. A review bomb, or review bombing, is when the internet turns against you.
What happens during a review bomb?
Review bombs usually occur for a couple of different reasons. It’s possible you’ve said something that a certain group of people don’t like, or you’re marketing a product that some people don’t like. This can swing both ways — it can be an entirely and seemingly just judgement for a maligned political view that raises the hairs on the back of everyone’s neck, or, it could be just the opposite — you could be rallying for positive change (for example, LGBTQ+ rights) and be the subject of a review bomb because of it. Social media outcry is common nowadays, and review bombing is unfortunately sometimes part of that.
Whatever the reasoning for the review bomb, it is entirely unfair. Whether you’re a developer putting out a game on Steam, or a writer trying to market a book, a review bomb is meant to tank your review rating from neutral or high to dismally low, without people having actually used your services. Basically, people you don’t know and have never conducted business with will leave zero, one star, or negative, bad reviews about your business or product.
Despite the idea that “you get what you deserve”, reviews should be a sacred place on the internet; they should only show factual, real life takes on a business’ services or products, based on the people who have experienced them. It is not just or fair to visit a Facebook page of a store you’ve never been to and leave a negative review.
Still, the fact is that it happens.
What can you do?
Your best bet for fighting review bombing is to hire a reputation management group, such as hasOptimization. We’re not just saying this to plug ourselves. The truth of the matter is that thwarting every single bad or negative review that reflects opinions or thoughts of people who have never experienced your services before can take a lot of time, and a lot of various avenues you have to chase down over and over multiple times until a resolution is had. Unfortunately, unlike how we have been willing to give advice tips for things in the past such as how to respond to a negative review, review bombing is an incredibly complex problem that simply does not solve itself over night.
Easy steps you can take
There are one or two steps you can take if you find yourself a victim of review bombing. If you find yourself in the middle of a review bomb, you may want to alert Yelp staff to place your business listing under active cleanup. Remove your review/recommendation page from Facebook.
Don’t sweat it too much — in the beginning stages much of it may be cleaned up by Facebook or Google, as it’s easy to see a business that has had 5 reviews total for its 10 years of business suddenly gets 600 bad reviews, they’re likely not true. Wait it out a little bit as some of the comments and reviews may weed themselves out. Bots or reviewers will likely peter themselves out as you become “old news”, and then you can try to handle reviews one by one.
Reaching out for help
After it’s over, you may want to rally your actual fans to help you bring your rating up in the meantime. Ask them if they can honestly review your business (don’t ask them to leave a 5 star rating, just ask them to be honest) and explain your situation, if you feel open to it, honestly and authentically.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to contact a reputation management company that can help you get your listing in order. If you don’t know one, remember that hasOptimization offers reputation management as part of our suite of services. Just contact us to get started!