How to Get Google to Remove Ripoff Reports from US Searches

May 22, 2014

Ripoff Reports is one of the original consumer complaint websites, and prides itself on being what it describes as “the only review site that doesn’t cave to bullying by businesses trying to hide negative information.” Site detractors point out that Ripoff Reports requires no verification of the facts beyond the author’s say-so; once published, negative reports (the only kind Ripoff Reports ever publishes) are on the Internet for all time.

Even in cases where information has been found to be incorrect or falsified, Ripoff Reports refuses to budge, claiming the protection of the Communications Decency Act. Under this federal law, US website owners are not liable for content posted by third parties.

Australia is one country that has no counterpart to the Communications Decency Act, and Yahoo 7 Australia recently delisted Ripoff Reports as a result of numerous complaints of defamatory content being posted in the search results.

Google’s Position on Defamatory Content
remove rip off report
At the present time, Google’s official removal policy has no provision for requesting the removal of defamatory content unless you obtain a judgment against the report author and can present a court order to Google.

  • Your first step is file suit against the author for defamation. This is an expensive and time-consuming process, and you obviously will have to prove that the claims made about your business are false.
  • Assuming the judge or jury agrees with you, your demand for relief should provide for a court order declaring the report about your business to be false and defamatory.
  • Present a copy of the court order to Google along with a written request that the defamatory pages be removed from the search results. Google has a history of honoring court orders, and the defamatory pages will most likely be removed permanently from the search results.

Other Options for Fighting Defamatory Ripoff Reports

While a successful lawsuit against the report author is the only practical method of getting a defamatory report out of the Google search results, you should at least be aware of the other options available to you.

  • Post a free rebuttal, which will appear below the original report. Be careful about using exact names in your rebuttal, as you may inadvertently provide additional keywords for the search engine to index.
  • Join Ripoff Report’s Consumer Advocacy Program. This is not free, and fees will vary according to the number of reports filed about your business. Ripoff Reports will examine the facts of the complaint made about your business and add their conclusions in a separate entry above the original report.
  • Pay for a Ripoff Reports VIP Arbitrator. Your side of the story will be heard and a decision made which may lead to the removal of the false statements made in your report.
  • You could hire a reputation management company to create positive content about your company that eventually pushes the Ripoff Report down and off the front page. A word of warning: Ripoff Reports have a lot of ‘SEO juice’ and pushing them down in the search results won’t come cheap or easy.
  • File a lawsuit against Ripoff Reports. This is almost a non-option: the protective shield of the Communications Decency Act makes your chances of prevailing in court very slim indeed.
  • Bob Pond

    Tough questions. I always have always been able to work with the provider or the customer to resolve the problem. That seems like a smarter move.

    • http://www.digitaleyemedia.com/ Gary Brewer

      Thanks Bob, there seems to be abuse of the platform because it promotes unnecessary revenge sometimes to your point.

  • Chris Manning

    Great article and often very necessary in touchy situations!

    • http://www.digitaleyemedia.com/ Gary Brewer

      Thanks for reading Chris, it is a slippery slope when the consumer has so much power these days!