Your business may have received a 1-star review, and of course, it isn’t delightful. Rather it is dreaded. 

However, consider what if you had several with no actual feedback? Several one-star ratings are tanking your overall average, hindering your brand image, and damaging your rankings.

With Google’s changing algorithm, having negative reviews can only cause more problems. With today’s hyper-aware “cancel culture” mentality and general competitiveness, dealing with one-star reviews will continue to be a priority for businesses.

Now the question is, what can be done about it? Let’s dive into an example! 

Recent Example of One Star Retaliation

one-star reviews

One-star reviews without feedback can hurt a business’s online reputation.

For a recent example, author and entrepreneur Rachel Hollis made some questionable comments on her Tik Tok and Instagram recently, causing a firestorm of anger on behalf of followers. Some took to Amazon to leave several one-star reviews, clearly from the controversy and as a form of retaliation. Now the damage is done, and it will take a long time for Ms.Hollis to repair her online reputation and brand image, something she’s worked 20 years on.

Whether you agree with her comments or not, she’s still a business owner who relies on reviews and feedback to keep propelling her business. Having one-star reviews is ruining her image. 

Why Does This Matter?

Removing one-star reviews can be difficult and hard to prove, especially if there are no comments. The ability to flag reviews on Google has helped mitigate that situation, but a one-star might stay longer without words.

When it’s only a one-star rating, there’s no proof of defamation or negativity per se. You can only assume it’s due to retaliation, but you’d need to prove it first, have them removed, and yet STILL rebuild your online presence.

1 star review - free speech

Unfortunately, one-star reviews without words are legal under the 1st Amendment as “free speech.”

Is This Considered Defamation?

Given the importance of online reputation and presence, having several one stars from one person or several is likely to ruin their online presence. Since online reputation is a significant player in businesses and their success, people question whether these one-star ratings can be considered defamation since they ruin your online presence.

The legal ramifications have been questioned recently, and Eric Goldman, lawyer, and professor at the University of Santa Clara, wrote an opinion regarding a case in Michigan. The courts determined it, “We conclude that, as a matter of law, a one-star wordless review posted on Google Review is an expression of opinion protected by the First Amendment.” As Eric also resided, there’s no case since people have the right to their opinions regarding a business. However, the situation remains controversial.

Most likely, Google and other review sites will have to create their own system of watching these situations or flagging content. A solution will arise sooner than later.

How Automation Software Can Help!

The high importance of online ratings and stars makes it necessary to have an online reputation management strategy. It’s vital to respond to all reviews but, more importantly, act on ones that are fake or could potentially damage your reputation. It’s important to respond to one-star reviews immediately if they have feedback and collect more reviews so that the higher ranking ones outweigh the 0ne-star reviews. 

With ReviewInc’s reputation management software, businesses can have a team overseeing their online reputation and all reviews left. This allows our team to respond quickly and appropriately. They can handle giving advice on handling fake reviews, so you don’t have to stress about who to ask for help.

To learn more about ReviewInc’s Review Flow and how it can help your business get more reviews, request a demo here.