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Yesterday, I posted an article about a college student who searched his name on Google and discovered he was wanted as a murder suspect. In order to prevent the death of our online reputation, I recommended we all set up a Google Alert to notify us anytime our name is found online. This will help you to know when someone mentions your name (or your company name) as soon as possible after the information is uploaded to the web. So, now that you've done that and you've Google searched your own name, what did you find out about yourself? If you discovered a negative comment about yourself or your company online, the first thing you need to do is stop and count to 10. Our natural first reaction in the case where someone is trying to ruin our good name is to lash out at that individual, but that is the absolute worst thing you can do, for obvious reasons. The cold hard truth of the matter is this, we can't make all of the people happy all of the time. Occasionally, someone who is unhappy will tell the world about their unhappiness. Here's a quick list of what you should do if you find a negative review of your or your company:

1. Fight fire with… water – Begin gathering the testimonials from all of the satisfied clients you have had over the years. If you don't already have a testimonials page on your personal website, then now is the time to put the comments from all of those thank you notes that you've received over the years on your website. Be sure to give the author credit for writing the kind words, otherwise, it will look like you just said all of those wonderful things about yourself. 

2. Contact the website that has the negative comment – Ask them for a chance to prove the negative review to be erroneous and for them to remove the comment. When you do this, be sure to have your ammunition in hand – a copy of the sales contract, settlement statement, MLS printouts, etc. can all help in proving your case.

3. Think against responding directly to the comment – If the owner of the website will not remove the comment that has been posted, move on. Don't worry and don't post any rebuttal online to the comment. Today's consumer typically does not search only one source for information. If you have positive reviews posted on numerous sites online, then one negative review is likely not going to have a negative effect on someone's decision of whether or not to hire you as their Realtor.

Now, start posting those glowing testimonials of you on your personal website today. Even if you never have a negative review posted of you, your business will benefit from taking this action. After you've gotten them posted, send me a link to your website, so I can read them. Happy Selling!

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