Reputation Management is one of those fields that inevitably must exist, even though the world might be better off without it. It is in widespread use online as a method for making a company seem more acceptable to the public. In this sense, there isn't technically anything wrong with reputation management. Especially when a good company is using it to ensure the public understands their ideals. Unfortunately, as with any money making opportunity, there are companies out there that want to exploit loopholes in the market. This happens on a large scale in the world of reputation management. On one end of the scale you have companies who make promises they can't keep. This extremely common. On the opposite end of the scale are companies who post false complaints or allegations against a company and then offer reputation management services to “remove” these allegations, which are usually posted on their own site. The Ripoff Report-Myrsol LLC case is one such example of this extreme, unethical, and illegal practice.
What Is The Ripoff Report?
Ripoff Report is the perfect example of a website that takes advantage of the growing market of reputation management. They claim to post honest reviews and complaints of companies by previous clients. They say this will help warn potential customers about companies they should avoid. On the surface, this sounds like a great and helpful website. After all, customers should have the right to know what businesses are out to hurt them. The fact of the matter is that Ripoff Report is one of those businesses, but the people they are hurting are business owners. You see, instead of posting legitimate claims that have been investigated and fact-checked, Ripoff Report posts anything that is headline worthy. They are only after sensational titles that will stir fear or anger towards companies. Ripoff Report intentionally post complaints, most of them fabricated, specifically in an attempt to harm the reputation of other businesses. If Ripoff Report truly did what they claimed, then their business would be number one on the list. Countless reports have been filed against them, petitions as well, and even pending lawsuits. Yet, you'll find no mention of their own company on their site. It's as if the real reports don't matter to them and that's because they don't. Ripoff Report can't profit from posting complaints against their own company, but they can profit from posting false complaints against yours.
How Do They Profit?
It might seem odd to do all of this work to harm a company's reputation, but they stand to make a significant financial gain from each complaint that is posted. Part of the problem comes from how highly Google tends to rank complaints. Search any business and you'll likely find some negative posts about them on the first page of search results. Having these negative posts near the top of Google is bad for business. Potential customers see these complaints and then decide not to work with that business. That is why reputation management companies make so much money working to remove these complaints from the front pages. It's even worse when the reports are all fabricated by a single company like Ripoff Report. The Ripoff Report-Myrsol LLC case is a great example. They posted negative reviews of this company claiming to have attempted to make contact with the company, but to no avail. These complaints now show up in the top three search results when Myrsol LLC is Google. To make their money, Ripoff Report offers exclusive memberships to companies willing to fork out big money. They charge a flat fee around $2,000 and then tack on several additional fees in an attempt to increase their profits. They know that the more the company wants the complaints removed, the more they are willing to pay. For this fee they promise to take down your negative complaints and then post positive reviews about your company. Even these positive reviews are completely fabricated, as is everything else on their website. They claim their goal is to help customers stay safe, but it's really the business owners who need to be kept safe from Ripoff Report and other companies like it.
The Final Verdict: Extortion
Extortion is when one person or business forces another to pay them money by threats of violence, damage, or damage to their reputation. By looking at the facts above, the information provided on their website, the Ripoff Report-Myrsol LLC case, and the 100's of other complaints filed against Ripoff Report, it is entirely clear that this is a case of extortion. Luckily, there are things you can do to help fight this online monstrosity. For example, there are petitions that can be filed to remove Ripoff Report from Google entirely. It's reaching a point where businesses and consumers are finally realizing the truth about this company. Now we need only help Google realize the truth as well.