I hope you can help me. I run a very niche writing service. For a long time, I was the only person that I knew of who was offering this service. A few months ago, I learned of another website that looked eerily similar to mine. Apparently, this person found my website, thought it was a great idea (it is), and decided to do the exact same thing.
While healthy competition isn’t a bad thing, what happened next was awful. The owner of the website started posting negative reviews about my service online. She has never used my service. As far as I know, she and I are the only ones offering this service. She posts under different names but the claims made and the writing style show it’s the same person.
I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer to subpoena websites for the true identify of this person. Her website is so new that I doubt she’s making much, if any, money yet so I doubt any lawyer would take my case on a contingency basis. I don’t know what to do! I can’t sleep at night anymore because I am so angry and I feel like I don’t have anywhere to turn!
Is there any advice you can give me?
Bad press really can be good press. When you are attacked by an unknown adversary, you MUST come out swinging. The absolutely worst thing you can do is to ignore the negative posts, and hope people will just forget some day.
If you are absolutely certain that the woman who owns that website is the one posting the comments, your offensive actions should include:
1. Posting a page on your website featuring legitimate customer reviews. If you did not solicit those comments from your customers, state, at the top of that page, that they are “Unsolicited Customer Testimonials.” That is very important.
2. Posting an article on your own blog telling the story about what your competitor has done to you. Don’t be afraid to include information on how much she has hurt you, caused you lost sleep, etc. Personalizing the story will get far more attention.
3. Grab a BIG cup of coffee, and start posting responses to ALL the negative reviews she has posted about you. Simple go to those websites, and click on the option to “respond” or “comment” under her scam posts. I would write it something like this:
The poster above is my competitor, and is online posting false negative reviews using a variety of fake names. To see unsolicited testimonials from my customers, please visit: (include the link of your testimonials for #1 above).
To read about my experience dealing with this scammer, please see: (include link to your article for #2 above)
When companies don’t respond to “negative press,” they always look guilty. While it may take some time, and may be stressful, once you come out swinging, that person will eventually skulk away into the night. Unfortunately, she’ll probably find someone else to victimize in the future.
A few years ago, a similar thing happened to us at WritersWeekly. We’d previously exposed a scammer in WritersWeekly Whispers and Warnings, detailing his illegal activities. He got mad, sent us actual physical threats, and then started an online smear campaign across a variety of websites.
After we laid out the details of what was transpiring in an article posted to our site, and promoted the link on social media, writers and authors were so impressed with our aggressive actions against libel that our business went through the roof! The following month, we had more sales than we’d had in any other month in the history of the company.
So, you see, you really can turn a negative into a positive. People love to read “dirt” online, and exposing a scammer for what she is definitely IS juicy. Give your article a good title that makes clicking irresistible, and watch how the chips fall. You may find that this scammer actually helped your business in the end. 😉
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