Monday, 11 August 2014

Businesses v.s Bloggers (Two News Articles that Made Me Face-Palm)

I came across this news article a couple of days ago and I could not help but laugh a little at how face-palmingly silly some people can get. I'm thinking of doing some restaurant reviews myself soon, so I really want to vent my own feelings on reviews.

Basically, the first article is about a UK based blogger who posted a bad review about a shoe shop in Ireland. The bad review itself was the second link after the shoe shops homepage on Google and of course, the owner of the shoe shop was outraged and claimed that if had affected his business. He could not produce any evidence that he was affected financially, however. The end result was that the shoe shop and blogger did resolve the issue, but a link to a forum where the shoe has been slated is still searchable on Google. I'm happy that the issue was resolved to a certain degree...

And then I found this other link, again on the BBC news website.
A French blogger was fined [!!] because her bad restaurant review was "too prominent on Google". The restaurant owners claimed that the review was financially hurting their business.

So many things to vent, about both articles! But mainly the second one.
Image from: brandeducationservices.com
Firstly about both articles, was the service at the shop and the restaurant that bad? I mean that bad, that you needed to write a scathing review about them? This could have all been avoided if the bloggers took a step back and went: "Is what I'm saying necessary?" In this day and age, one crappy review can indeed affect a business. Look at the reviews on TripAdviser or Yelp, some are helpful and honest. And there are some are just that so outrageously bad and harsh that you can't take them seriously. This is a classic example, I recently read a restaurant review that had 4 stars on Tripadvisor, but failed to met that 5th star because it had a view of the highstreet... The restaurant address is on the highstreet, that can't be helped...think before you write.

Most professional bloggers or reviewers, I'm sure know how to write a critical review without being rude or disrespectful.

In saying that however, if a restaurant or a shop etc, did have a bad food/service/whatever, then fair enough. Bloggers should be able to write whatever they want to without being punished for honest opinion. I'd like to think that all bloggers are open and honest enough to write a decent and balanced review, whether the blogger is nice or not. Damaging a business owners' ego is not a crime.

The fact that in the second article got taken to court and fined for an honest review is, ridiculous. Her review was popular on search engines. She should not be punished because its popular on the internet. What would happen if, every single bad review ever typed, got challenged and taken to court? It would be a waste of time and money. Rather then taking on bloggers and critiques', isn't it better to improve on what they were commenting on in the first place? Is it not better to look in on a business and think "Ok why did they say this about my business? Is there something I can improve on?"

I think what I'm trying to say that, rather then placing blame one party, blaming a bad review, a judge, the business owners, the bloggers, whoever! There are lessons to learn from both articles:
  • Never underestimate the power of the online world, it can make or break you.
  • Bloggers have got be as honest as they can be without completely trashing a place and ruining its reputation or compromising their writing.
  • Business owners, if you get a bad review on Yelp (/insert other reviewing website here), respond in a respectful way. Really think about the comments and take some time to think how you would respond. You want to remain the professional business person you are.
  • Again business owners, if your doing a good job and 99.9% of your customers are happy, one review will not 'financially ruin' you.
  • Also, not everyone is going to like you. Blogger or business owner. The fact is there will always be a professional complainer out there, who is ready to tear you a new one. Respond politely and professionally.
But what do you think of the articles? Should bloggers and reviewers be more considerate towards hard-working business owners? Should search engines be blamed? Are these business owners taking these reviews to heart? or are they really being affected financially?
I'd love to hear you thoughts on this venting post, so leave a comment below.


Bake On! Penny x
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