Anyone can go online, for better or for worse, and leave a review of your company. Nielsen Media Research identified that besides word-of-mouth, consumers rely on online opinions by other consumers in their daily purchasing decisions. Customer reviews are now a critical component of any business marketing strategy besides ads on TV, websites, print ads, radio, etc.

Paul Cardis and Tim Bailey write for Builder Magazine on how to utilize online reviews to your advantage and how to avoid “shady practices” by some companies and consumers.

Wise consumers and businesses consciously avoid the temptation to misuse the power of reviews. Consumers face legal responsibility for what they write in online reviews, and businesses that engage in unethical review practices can be exposed and brought to justice. The inevitability of occasional negative reviews is not worth the brand damage of being revealed as a counterfeit. Solid research companies refuse to enable review fraud and post 100 percent of the reviews received, while maintaining a process by which verified customers can submit reviews, and clients may only exclude profane or abusive language.
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