As the COVID-19 virus continues to create unexpected and wide-reaching effects in a range of sectors, a new challenge has emerged: With practices closing temporarily so that even medical patients are being turned away from non-life-threating healthcare procedures, some negative online reviews are now taking the form of complaints, suspicion, and accusations. In light of this, review aggregators are temporarily altering how online reviews are handled. In particular, Yelp and Google have taken strong measures to protect businesses’ reputations from long-term damage that may come about as a result of businesses frustrating customers simply by following community guidelines for public protection.
Yelp has specifically called out reviews that suggest a business or its employees are spreading COVID-19. Under Yelp’s zero-tolerance policy, negative reviews of this sort can be flagged for removal by the user community Yelp’s COVID-19 Response and Support for Local Businesses. Similarly, Yelp is removing any negative reviews that result directly from businesses being closed during this time of social distancing and quarantining.
Google is taking an even stronger position, by temporarily but entirely shutting down its business review services Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19.
Online reputation management is a critical aspect of digital marketing—and just one of numerous services supported by MetaMed Marketing. As with all of our services and our guidance, we’re here to help during this time of upheaval and change.
Brent Cavender is a co-founder of MetaMed Marketing. He heads up business development and marketing for MetaMed where he is the organization's chief practice educator and primary point of contact.