We build our online reputation off the reviews people leave on sites such as Yelp, Facebook, Angie’s List and others. The more positive reviews the better chance customers will come calling…and keep calling. But what happens when you become the victim of a targeted attack?

Granted none of us like the idea of getting a negative review. If it’s just an occasional bad review where the customer was disgruntled, it’s a bit easier to swallow your pride and make sure the customer is happy in order to satisfy them.

Some sites, like Yelp, tend to allow anyone regardless of being a customer post a review. This tends to get business owners on edge and make them a bit proactive in their approach at verifying who is and isn’t a client. It also makes business owners afraid of upsetting real customers for fear of getting a negative post.

Customers are using just the threat of posting to social as a weapon to gain the advantage against business owners.

But it’s gone beyond that…

Now we have… Cyber Targeting!

It’s when someone with a large list asks their fan base to do their dirty work against a certain victim…a competitor, a former partner, or some random target.

This weasel of a scum bag may not like how you talked to him, or how you pointed out his wrong doing or showed him what a lousy person they’ve become in front of his so-called tribe. The retaliatory strike begins…and you become the target.

It’s a sick game…and one that can ruin your online and offline reputation really quickly.

First they post bad comments on your Yelp page…not just one or two, but hundreds and thousands. Then they go after your other social platforms. Then attack you on paid sites like Angie’s List and membership sites like the Better Business Bureau.

Vindictive? It’s just the beginning!

Then these followers of evil attack your friends and family’s online reputation like vicious vultures. They spam your website and blog sites with ludicrous garbage…and when you think it can’t get worse…

…they barrage your phone with hate speech.

Not fun! Yet it happens more than you think.

Can it be prevented?

Yes and No!

You see, the very reviews that enable us to attract new clients can also be used against us to repel. Turning off the review mechanism on your Business Facebook page is one thing…but there are other social reputation sites out there.

Engaging in the argumentative mentality against negative comments is not your best option. Nor is thinking that you are invincible to the attacks of bullies.

Of course you want to stand up against these bullies and put them in their place…but, be careful that you don’t wake a sleeping giant and get your reputation flatten because you felt like being a hero.

Until the online reputation services get their act together to help protect businesses against senseless shamming, negative targeting will continue to grow.

And sadly, it seems the rise of negative feedback regardless if true or not, seems to fuel the traffic to these sites.

Have you been a victim? Or maybe thought about targeting someone?

Some have labeled this type of cyber targeting as terrorism. And yes, it’s an act of aggression (whether provoked or not) against an individual, entity or product.

Lawyers and insurance companies are gearing up for this type of hostility and joining the ranks of cyber defenders. It’s a new world out there. With new bad guys.

Some tips to keep in mind…

  • Employees and/or family members should be careful of where commenting and understand their actions could have consequences
  • Never think that you can’t be a victim…it’s just a matter of when.
  • If your company does a great deal of business online, see if your digital footprint (your online reputation) can be insured against cyber targeting.
  • Be vigilant…be aware of what people are posting about you, your company or products on social sites.
  • Have a plan. Make sure your staff and or family understands what to do in the event of a cyber targeting.

Your online reputation is how people see you, how they know you can be trusted…don’t let someone’s vindictive behavior be the cause that drives clients away.

Anspach Media | Website | + posts

Rob is affectionately known as “Mr. Sarcasm” to his friends - to everyone else he’s a Certified Digital Marketing Strategist, a Foremost Expert On Specialized SEO, a Best Selling Author, Podcaster, Speaker and Authority Broadcaster who can help amplify YOU to your audience.

Rob has authored, coauthored or produced over 40 books covering social media, search engine optimization, podcasting, copywriting, personal injury law, weight loss, military law, life lessons, scams, sarcasm, customer service and more. His book clients include lawyers, speakers, doctors, real estate professionals and more.

Rob is also host of The E-Heroes Interview Series available on Apple, Amazon, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify & many other podcast channels. Rob works inside corporations across the globe, helping companies generate new revenue and capture online business.

Rob is also available to share talks and give interviews. To learn more and to get started visit www.AnspachMedia.com or call Anspach Media at (412)267-7224 today.