Ripoff Reports has been experiencing a major rank drop in Google since November 2018.
Ripoff is a complaint website where anyone over the age of 14 can write a negative report about a person, business or website anonymously.
This allows for genuine consumer complaints and business defamation by competitors.
The site does not guarantee that all reports are accurate and truthful. Some people claim that they accept complaints without verification or proof.
Ripoff has a ‘no removal’ policy.
They don’t remove a negative report, even when it was posted by mistake. A counter complaint, rebuttal or sending a message to the company won’t help. The author of the complaint can’t remove it either.
They, however, accept payment ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for investigation of complaints and reports, and to remove negative statements from reports. The process is called VIP arbitration.
Ripoff was founded in 1998 and has been known for its good SEO. It always obtains a good position in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Unfortunately, once a person complains about your company on Ripoff, it appears at the top ten search results on Google for the brand.
This has become a huge pain for most businesses. Many have lost millions of potential deals as a result.
The site has been known to not adhere to court removal orders, or search engines removing its URL from the SERP.
It simply creates another URL with the same content months later, and the content will reappear on Google or Bing.
Since November 2018, however, Ripoff and some other complaint sites like Pissed Consumer, Consumer Affairs and Complaints Board have lost their visibility on Google.
Organic searches for company names do not show a Ripoff report at the top ten results.
Pierre Zarokian, who first discovered the Google ranking drop, says it might be caused by an algorithm update.
He called it the ORM update because he was searching for keywords related to Online Reputation Management when he noticed that Ripoff was no longer ranking among the top ten in Google.
He investigated by trying out several keywords and checking out other complaint sites. He went on social media to research the ranking drop. He asked his colleagues and they confirmed it.
He suggested that the ‘SERP punishment’ might be because Ripoff does n’t honor court-ordered removals.
Google hardly targets websites individually or remove them from its SERP anymore.
It tweaks its algorithms to disfavor certain actions. This reduces the rankings of the sites.
It seems Google has received a lot of reports about these complaint sites and is targeting them.
Nevertheless, Ripoff has been known to bounce back on its feet.
It has seen similar ranking drops and came back to the top of the SERPs weeks later.
If this is truly an algo update, will the complaint site bounce back this time around? Or will several businesses and people be happy that their Ripoff review will no longer be number 3 when their name is Googled?