A lot of the writing about online reputation management(ORM) focuses on how to respond to negative reviews–both from regular consumers and professional reviewers. They talk about responding positively, owning up to your business’ mistakes and trying to make amends, but according to website onlinereputationreviews.com, one thing that they don’t tend to focus on is the huge negative effect that poor ORM can have–not just on your business, but on the consumer who left the review.
Well, Angie Orth’s story is a terrible, dark pit of an example of what can happen when a business does not conduct itself professionally. Angie is a reviewer from Jacksonville, Florida whose wedding was nearly ruined because of poor communication from the hotel she had booked for the event. Ongoing construction, closed restaurants and more made her special day less special. These negative events in turn cause her to write a negative review, and with proper ORM the situation could have ended there, or even turned positive.
Proper ORM is not what happened, however. A few months after she wrote her review, Angie started receiving strange messages on Twitter from an account belonging to a member of the resort’s onlne marketing team. What started as vague threats and harassment and eventually started becoming much more specific, mentioning her review and details about her guests and their spending–things that should never have been made public. Eventually, Angie was receiving upwards of 30 messages a day despite asking the account which was harassing her to stop, but it didn’t even stop there. The account began harassing friends, colleagues, professional acquaintances and potential employers.
Eventually, the threats became more specific. The account would send threats which included her home address or the addresses of her friends, and if she mentioned traveling anywhere he would say that he would be there too, waiting. The specific phrase “rest in peace” was mentioned. Luckily, Orth knew the proper procedure for when something like this happens and kept logs of all of the harassment, and nothing has happened to her offline because of this, but it is still a terrifying prospect that looks terrible for the business. Whether or not the harassment was ordered on the part of the business, it serves as a reminder that ORM may be more important than it seems.