Rochester, N.Y. – Adam J. Main deejays and plans local events, including weddings, bar mitzvahs and fundraisers.
He got a phone call last week with a California area code. A company called Upfront Reputations left a message saying there’s a bad review of Main’s business on RipoffReport.com that comes up in Google searches.
Main was not aware of the complaints on the website. Two complaints posted last month say he made off with thousands of dollars of client money without providing services. Main said the reports are false.
“(Upfront Reputations) said, ‘Well, we can’t delete it from the Internet. Once it’s out there it’s out there. But if we can make it so it doesn’t appear in search engines,’” Main said.
Main said the company offered the service for $2,000. Main suspected the company planted the bad reviews.
“I was just like, this is a scam,” Main said.
A person who answered the phone number for Upfront Reputations said, “We’re not interested in any reporting, but I appreciate the phone call.”
A few hours later, a representative from Upfront Reputations called back.
“Our company helps to suppress information and clear up online problems… We contacted him to help him,” said a person who identified himself as the operations manager of Upfront Reputations. He said the company did not create the negative postings and solicits business by combing through RipoffReport.com postings. “We didn’t create this problem.”
RipoffReport.com will probably not be of any help to Main. The company’s website said it does not censor posts or verify their accuracy. It encourages businesses to post rebuttals to complaints. Businesses can also present their case to an arbitrator – for $2,000. The website has not responded to an email request for comment.
Hannah Morgan, a career consultant, said Main should hold onto his money. She said there are ways for people to bolster their online reputations without paying anyone. For starters, websites such as BrandYourself.com offer reputation management services for free. She said businesses and individuals should also secure their domain names, consider launching their own websites and signing up for Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to get positive content posted online that will show up in search engines.
“What we’re finding now is your search engine results are almost as important as your credit result,” Morgan said, adding it may take a couple months to improve search results. “The thing to know is it’s not going to happen overnight.”
“It’s a term now. You Google someone,” Main said. “So yeah, it’s not good.”