Helping Win Hearts & Minds on
the Battlefields of Online Media

Review Response Examples:
Responding to Attack Reviews

    The case studies featured here are responses to full-on attack reviews, which is only a subset of all the types of reviews. (See our Types of Reviews & Responses).

    We showcase negative attack reviews because the stakes are high—the reviewers are trying to do as much damage as they can to the business. The responses to these best illustrate the principles for effective adversarial communications, i.e., winning the battle for hearts and minds in a hostile environment.

    These response examples show that credibility is the foremost factor. Credibility is important in responding to negative reviews; it is important to any communication. In a hostile situation where two sides are diametrically opposed, credibility is a zero-sum game: what you gain you take away from your adversary. So in responding, one of our goals is to destroy the adversary's credibility—and failing that, to diminish it as much as possible.

    There is no other way. The attack reviewer is trying to kill your business. S/he is not trying to provide helpful advice to readers. S/he is saying that you're toxic, that you should have no customers. And once you're smashed to death, salt should be sown into the soil where you once flourished so nothing ever grows there again. S/he seeks a Carthiginian revenge.

    Decide for yourself if you think our responses to negative reviews are effective. Do they successfully neutralize the review and leave readers with a takeway that is not so damaging to the business that it would turn off potential customers? Might our clients even come out ahead, i.e., have we turned the negative review into a positive marketing opportunity?

    (NOTE: All the names and locations in our review response examples have been changed—e.g., Donald and Daisy Duck, EvilDentist, GoodDentistCity, etc.—and the wording of both the reviews and responses have been subtly altered so they cannot be found through web search. We disguise our clients' identity in these so they don't get harassed by anti-business weirdos.)

    To get the full context of our approach to these negative review responses, we urge you to read all the essays in our Reviewbusters section, especially Why You Should Respond. These essays can also be found under our Insights & Resources tab.