Read the most comprehensive guide about Ripoff Report and find out how to remove its negative articles and how they affect a brand’s online reputation.
What is Ripoff Report?
Ripoff Report is a website where articles are published worldwide, “from customers, by customers and for customers” to submit and document complaints about companies and individuals.
The company does not guarantee the authenticity and veracity of the information, so many brands see their online reputation damaged.
The website began operating in 1997, and is operated by Xcentric Ventures LLC. Its headquarters are in Tempe, Arizona.
Today, it is a platform widely used by customers to express their complaints.
What does ripoff mean?
Cambridge Dictionary gives the following definition:
“Something that is not worth what you pay for it”.
The company is named after its function, which is to give consumers a voice.
They can express their complaints, or expose scams about the products or services of companies.
Ripoff Report History
The Ripoff Report website emerged as a space to promote the book, Rip-Off Revenge, whose author is Ed Magedson, founder of the platform.
He created it so that visitors could talk about the book and other complaints they may have about their experiences as customers.
Since its creation, personal and business brands have constantly avoided showing up on this website, due to its content being solely negative reviews.
Through the years, the website has been accused of online defamation and extortion.
Clearly, it is not the platform that companies want to belong to.
In fact, the website has been accused of promoting negative content since on its homepage they indicate:
“Complaints, criticisms, scams, lawsuits and fraud, submit your comments”.
Until 2021, Ripoff Report has registered 9.008.617.292 visits and 2,635,378 articles have been written.
Who is the founder of Ripoff Report?
Ed Magedson founded Ripoff Report in 1997, according to his point of view, to defend consumer rights.
With his first successful flower sales business, he lived through difficult episodes against the competition.
For this reason, he decided to run a business exposing corruption and malpractice cases.
The main reason why Magedson founded the website was to give customers strength, helping them to share information and fight for an efficient business service.
In fact, it was created as a mission and not as a business with which to earn a living.
Who runs Ripoff Report?
Nowadays, Ed Magedson is still the director of Ripoff Report.
After 24 years of work, it has grown into a large database of consumer comments and complaints.
Likewise, its policy is based on freedom of expression and not elimination of information.
In fact, writing an article is free, as the website’s revenue comes from advertising, donations, and a corporate advocacy program.
However, Ripoff Report constantly emphasizes on their website that, unlike the competition, they do not delete information in exchange for money.
How does Ripoff Report work?
The user must register to create a report in Ripoff Report. Or, if you already have an account, log in.
To register, the required data are email, password, real name and username.
The user can provide other information such as location, country or telephone but they are not necessary.
How do I submit an article in Ripoff Report?
In Ripoff Report, submitting an article is available to all users on the Internet.
The website allows consumers to share data about their experience.
On the main page, the user must click on File a report.
The user can write the article in a simple and intuitive way,:
- The company or individual who is reporting the information fills in the basic data, such as the name or the country;
- Select the category or categories for the report;
- Title and writing of the report;
- The user attaches the documents, photos and videos, which they want to share;
- Accept the Terms of service and the report is published.
What other actions does Ripoff Report allow?
Ripoff Report also allows you to update articles, at the top of the web, by clicking Update a report.
The user views their history and status of reports and rebuttals: drafts, pending and approved.
On the other hand, you can also search for a specific report by entering the company name or report number.
It is also possible to review the most recent reports, perform an advanced search or browse the categories.
In addition, the user has a company directory at their fingertips to search by name and location.
What are the categories in the Ripoff Report article?
The author has sixteen categories to choose from, with which to record their article.
The categories are as follows:
- Computers and the internet;
- Education and training;
- Health and fitness;
- Home and garden;
- Scandalous and popular scam;
- Sport and recreation;
- Unusual scam.
And within these categories, there are numerous subcategories to specify the subject of the report.
This classification helps users to search by topic.
Who can post to Ripoff Report?
To use the Ripoff Report services, the user must be at least 14 years of age.
In addition, you must not be a citizen, locate or operate from a country that is part of the European Union or the European Economic Area (countries that are part of the GDPR).
How much does a report cost in Ripoff Report
Running a report in Ripoff Report is free. The user does not have to pay any amount of money to share their experience with the rest of the community.
For other services such as VIP arbitration or corporate defense, the user does have to pay a price stipulated by the company.
Is Ripoff Report believable?
As indicated on its website, the Ripoff Report encourages, and even requires, the authors of the reports to provide truthful information.
However, Ripoff Report does not guarantee that the data is accurate and authentic.
The objective of the company is that, with this documentation, consumers have enough information to make their own decision.
According to the website, lawyers, different authorities and the media consult the reports.
What are the sources of the Ripoff Report?
The sources of information that Ripoff Report uses are the consumers themselves, who tell their experience about a person or company.
Therefore, the data is neither official nor verified; and Ripoff Report delegates to readers its ability to analyze and decide on the veracity of the information.
The website protects all its sources, under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
How does Ripoff Report affect online reputation?
Although Ripoff Report is a space where users express their opinions, the web has become an inconvenience for the online reputation of brands.
The editors of the information are not responsible for the comments; and therefore they are not legally obliged to delete the information.
Consequently, the companies and protagonists of the reports are the only ones affected.
A brand risks losing 22% of revenue if potential customers find a single negative link on the first page of Google.
Everything that is presented online is a label, and disappearing from the web is very difficult.
Opinions, comments and reviews form a positive or negative image, on which the company’s income depends.
So, having a good corporate reputation and knowing how to manage it is vital in the daily development of a company.
Ripoff Report in Google Search
For three years, the presence of Ripoff Report has decreased in the top positions of Google.
This is due to the update in 2018, of the Google algorithm, called Medic Update.
Subsequent updates in 2019 and 2020, again affected the positioning of complaint web pages, such as Ripoff Report.
The reason why Google undermines review and complaint sites is the poor quality and trustworthiness of the messages, as well as the writing, by unverified authors.
Even so, these spaces continue to be a threat to the online reputation of companies and individuals.
Why is Ripoff Report dangerous?
Ripoff Report is dangerous because it does not guarantee the veracity of the data published on its website.
It trusts the analysis and drawing of conclusions by consumers.
The danger lies in the false information, which can occur, for example, between competencies in the same sector, the unemployed, or angry relatives.
Misinformation can even amount to online defamation.
Thus, this data is available to millions of people, who not only search the Ripoff Report website, but can also find the report on Google with the correct keywords.
While Ripoff Report advocates believe the web supports consumer rights, critics believe it damages the digital reputation.
Should I respond to a complaint about myself on Ripoff Report?
As we have previously explained, Ripoff Report comments and articles can negatively affect a brand’s reputation.
Replying helps neutralize negative comments. You can use keywords to create positive content.
But this process takes a lot of time and requires some knowledge about online positioning.
On the other hand, keep in mind that if you reply, the page remains active. And so it helps it rank higher on Google. This is clearly a negative consequence.
In the event that the comment is true, the best thing you can do as a company is to acknowledge the error, apologize and find a solution
In this guide, you will learn what other options you have to remove comments about you or your business.
The scams on Ripoff Report
Scams are very common on Ripoff Report. We explain the two processes that are carried out.
- Scammers contact a company and complain they haven’t received an order, which they obviously haven’t made.
The company refuses to ship a product or send money, and the scammer threatens to write a negative report on Ripoff Report.
- A fake customer posts a negative comment about a company. The scammer sends the report link to the company, along with a cheap offer to delete it.
How to rebut a Ripoff Report article?
Faced with fake news, the first possibility that Ripoff Report offers the main subjects is to present a rebuttal.
This option is free and available to all registered users.
Let’s see how to carry out this process:
- At the top left of the report, click on Add Rebuttal to this Report.
- Indicate the relationship with the subject or company that is in the report.
- Write the title, description of the comment and user data.
- The user has the ability to upload content, such as images or videos, as well as include YouTube links.
- Finally, the user accepts the terms of service and submits the rebuttal.
How do I remove an article from Ripoff Report?
Ripoff Report indicates that it does not have sufficient internal resources to investigate the veracity of the reports.
The free rebuttal offer it offers is insufficient for many subjects.
Therefore, they provide an independent investigation, called VIP Arbitration, with the aim of removing false statements of fact.
Steps to remove a Ripoff Report article
There are three requirements for the VIP Arbitration request to be accepted:
- The Ripoff Report article is related to the complainant or their company;
- Believe in good faith that the content is false;
- Be a natural or legal person, residing in the United States.
The cost of this process is $2.000. It is carried out by private arbitrators, with extensive experience in justice.
Next, we explain step by step, how to request the VIP Arbitration process:
- Complainant’s Arbitration Statement: the claimant completes a statement, explaining what is false and why. In it, you can add documents, photographs and witness statements;
- Author’s Response Statement: the author of the report has the possibility to participate in the arbitration process. Likewise, they can provide documents, witnesses, etc;
- Complainant’s response in support of the arbitration statement: in the event that the above step occurs, the complainant may reply;
- Arbitrator review and decision: all additional information and documentation is sent to the arbitrator, whose decision is forwarded to the Ripoff Report.
In the event that the information is true, there will be no updates to the report.
On the other hand, if the arbitrator determines that it is false, the following sentence will be added in the original title of the report:
“Notice of Arbitrator Decision: A neutral and independent arbitrator has determined that the following Report contained one or more false statements of fact. The false statements have been redacted”.
Next, under the title, a summary of the referee’s decision is published.
Ripoff Report will remove any statement that the referee determines to be false.
A valuable option that a victim of a false report may consider is to contact a specialized company, such as ReputationUP.
The company is responsible for removing obsolete, false and defamatory content, from all countries, in all languages.
Corporate defense service
Ripoff Report‘s Corporate Advocacy Service offers a swap from negative to positive reputation.
However, the victim must pay around $7,500, plus a monthly fee and a critique fee.
A cost that, obviously, few companies or people can afford.
The website receives numerous criticisms for this service since it is understood as blackmail, in which only by paying, negative information changes to positive.
How does Ripoff Report affect small businesses?
The Ripoff Report policy primarily affects small businesses, which do not have enough money to pay for the company’s programs.
In the case that you are a small or medium-sized company, we give you some tips to take criticism as an opportunity:
- Main goal, a top service: the company must focus on offering the best service to its customers.
If the criticism is true, reply to the comment, apologize, and find a solution.
It is important that you answer to the review as soon as possible so that users see that you care about them.
- Improve the service or product: perform an analysis to see if the reviews always point to the same product or service.
If so, try to improve what the customer points out. You can modify the service or offer discounts.
Changes and new strategies can help you generate more income, and protect your financial reputation.
- Positive reputation: work on improving the positive reputation of your company.
When your service is good, customers reflect it through reviews on Google.
The company must interact with them, thanking them for their comment.
In this way, negative reviews will descend on the search engine.
One option that companies can consider is reputation monitoring.
The web scan allows you to see what they say about your brand in real time.
For example, you can find out what the comments of customers or competitors are.
This way, brands can anticipate a specific problem, or even a reputational crisis.
Is suing Ripoff Report viable?
The victim of the report has several legal possibilities, which they can take.
In the following section we analyze each of them and their effectiveness:
- Sue the person who wrote the comment: the result can be compromised by the anonymity of the author.
- Sue Ripoff Report: many users have chosen this option but none of them have won their case. Why?
The company takes advantage of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that:
“The Internet publishers of third-party materials are not responsible for those materials”.
In 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a statement:
“The Communications Decency Act does not immunize Xcentric for the content it creates and posts, nor does it immunize misrepresentations made by a publisher about its publishing conduct”.
- Deindex a Google URL: serve Google with a court order to deindex search engine results.
However, its response time is very long, reaching up to two years of waiting.
Similarly, Ripoff Report can move the report to a new URL, so it reappears in search results.
The fastest and most reliable option is to contact a company, such as ReputationUP, that helps brands clean the digital image of negative, outdated and false content.
Historic legal actions against Ripoff Report
As we have previously explained, many users, companies and institutions have denounced Ripoff Report.
In this section, we explain the most famous cases, since its foundation:
- In 2011, the Third District Court of Appeals in Florida ruled that Xcentric’s practices were gruesome but enjoyed full immunity under the Communications Decency Act.
This ruling came after Ripoff Report published false and defamatory information about the owner of a Florida drug treatment center.
They said about him that he was a convicted felon and that the employees were distributing drugs illegally.
- When a user creates an account on Ripoff Report, they agree to a specific location in Arizona for a legal dispute.
In 2013, a federal court in Maryland agreed that this settlement did not prevent a user from suing both the author of the article and Ripoff Report, in Maryland.
- That same year, the Government of India ordered a block on access to the Ripoff Report website. This decision lasted one month.
- In May 2014, Yahoo blocked the page for multiple online defamation complaints. An action that lasted a week.
- In 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Utah indicated that Ripoff Report is not a neutral editor but encourages negative content.
The court added that the website allows comments from users, but also from the competition.
- Two years later, Italy’s Garante per la Protezioni dei Dati Personali (GPDP) published a measure on the illegality of requests for money from Ed Magedson‘s website.
Furthermore, the GPDP observed that the Ripoff Report web servers were not accessible from Italy, to circumvent the controls of the Italian authority.
- Similarly, numerous people are suing Google for allowing Ripoff Report articles to appear on their search engine.
Has anyone tried closing the Ripoff Report?
In 2007, William Stanley created the Defamation Action League (DAL) (currently inactive) to force the closure of Ripoff Report.
The reason this organization was created was to fight online defamation.
The strategy consisted of protesting against the companies that were hosted on the website, creating sites where users could write their criticisms.
In addition, they could include personal data such as telephone numbers or emails of these companies.
Ed Magedson sued DAL and the company had to shut down for online defamation and death threats.
Ripoff Report vs others
Ripoff Report is not the only company dedicated to gathering information and publishing reports to guide consumers.
In this section, we explain who the main competitors of Ripoff Report are.
Better Business Bureau
Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization, which promotes trust in the marketplace.
It is made up of local organizations and its operation is based on a rating scale.
According to Ripoff Report, it differs from BBB in that the former does not hide ‘satisfied’ reports.
That is, all comments remain public and unedited, to create records of companies or individuals.
Complaints Board is defined as a virtual conference between companies and clients.
With 16 years of experience, they are responsible for successfully resolving consumer complaints.
Each process is treated individually by highly qualified experts.
Planetfeedback is a space for consumers to express their experiences and opinions about the main brands and companies.
They have offered their services for eighteen years; and they are currently on a break period.
Through this ReputationUP guide you have fully learned how Ripoff Report works.
In fact, you have discovered that deleting their articles is impossible and this affects the online reputation of a personal or business brand.
From this guide, we can draw the following conclusions:
- Ripoff Report is a website where articles are published to document complaints about individuals or companies;
- The company does not guarantee the veracity of the information published;
- Brands avoid appearing on this website because most of the comments are negative;
- Small and medium-sized businesses are the hardest hit by Ripoff Report posts;
- Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects the content on the website.
Ripoff Report‘s policy is based on freedom of expression and not elimination of information.
This is a disadvantage for the online reputation of personal and business brands.
ReputationUP guarantees the elimination of any negative, obsolete and defamatory content, applying the Right to be Forgotten.