Consumer-Based Review Sites Offer PR Execs Pain and Pleasure

Needless to say, there’s a lot for the PR pro to worry about out there in cyberspace: From Facebook to Twitter to pesky bloggers—for many organizations the danger lurks that a negative comment or string of comments can turn into a communications crisis. One particular brand of digital discourse poses a unique challenge for PR: consumer-based review Web sites. Not simply a place for passing comments on broad topics, review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Places and others give the public a forum to directly target businesses’ products and services, for good or ill. And just like the social media heavy hitters, these online outlets are not to be ignored, and must be handled with care. Consider Yelp, which boasts more than 30 million monthly visitors and 11 million total local reviews in 22 different categories (with restaurants by far the most reviewed).

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