International Search Engine Reputation Management

A Blog about International Search Engine Reputation Management

Internet Complaints

Posted by internationalserm on February 2, 2008

Author: S.E. Fullen

I prefer a peaceful life. Do my errands in familiar places. Sometimes I like to try something new. Generally, all my needs are well met by the retailers I patronize offline and online. If there’s a glitch, I’m either patient and get what I need in the end, or just go to a different store that has the item. No big deal. I just want to pick up my stuff and go home.

That is not the world of the Global Mouthpiece that is the Internet.

The Web has so much potential for global commerce, bringing people together amicably, and an awesome resource for research and information. Unfortunately, this great tool is often identified instead by the worst faceless users in the world (some criminals), who spew mountains of hateful rhetoric for global publication every day. Ugly attacks and “Rantrums” against other people on the Web is way out of control, and is enabling public behavior that is openly uncivil, narcissistic, anti-social, and sometimes dangerous.

Really, there is a deep need for greater online regulation (never mind re-training in basic social skills), and a lot of retailers are quietly, politely, showing signs of getting proactively fed up.

One vocal online merchant says (and I totally paraphrase for his protection) that large and small retailers are increasingly and unnecessarily burdened with rude, undisciplined, and often abusive customers that cost way more than they should. Anger (sometimes enhanced by substance abuse?) can be stoked further by safe anonymity and what is often unregulated libel in Chat Rooms, Forums, Blogs, and online “Review” sites. Smaller business has been undeservedly damaged, or even ruined, by some of the more awful attacks from people who will destroy anything, and harm anyone, when they can’t have their way. Even the last word in a dispute is up for grabs.

Customer Review Sites: Like most things in life, they are fair in concept. But in practice, they’ve become vengeance attack zones designed to ruin innocent people and small businesses, plastering personal issues all over the internet, sometimes under false names. Nobody can justify a nasty third rate public rantrum under the guise of legitimate “review”. The only online reviews I trust are about the product, not broadcast 10-volume versions of silly complaints escalated into a federal case because some woooooookid@witless.com’s special underpants were backordered. Chillingly stupid.

Complaint sites and “Consumer Rip-Off” Forums: Granted if a pattern of bad business practices can be detected, published complaints may be helpful. But in most instances, entries are no more than public temper tantrums, and embellished versions of everyday disputes, with few options for rebuttal from accused companies. While there are a small percentage of fraudsters that deserve to be exposed, most businesses do not deserve to be attacked.

General Forums and Chat Rooms: Again what a great way for people to get together and share ideas and opinions! On the other hand, there are a few bloggers out there who are generating some serious rage because anonymity seems to protect them from legal backlash. Hey, if you’ve published something really egregious that’s appearing all over the place, any decent tech/lawyer team can easily locate you. No sympathy!
Unfortunately small internet businesses do take a constant barrage of nastygrams and published tantrums from difficult people who enjoy attacking reputations and livelihoods of innocent people far more talented than they are. Why? Because lime green crew socks are backordered a couple of weeks. Sorry, but given the potential for irreversible harm on the global Web, mere words can’t begin to describe a person of that ilk. If such shenanigans happened in a physical store or mall, many would be rightly tossed out the door.

Sure, there are occasional issues between consumers and businesses, but almost all can be reasonably resolved with cooperation from consumers who are sane, literate, and possess a few basic interpersonal skills. There is a world of good companies large and small whose people just want to do an honest business without fielding a daily barrage of broadcast hystrionics from self centered jerks.

I am sure anybody who cares to read this through will erupt into a state of enraged, inflated indignation, with fingers itching to hammer a keyboard response that will blow my mind with brilliance and righteousness, but REALLY. Don’t we all have vacuuming or laundry to do … or something?

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