Procurement · 11 October 2016

Know your enemy don’t feed the internet trolls

Internet trolls can cause significant damage from behind a cloak of anonymity
Internet trolls can cause significant damage from behind a cloak of anonymity
For the uninitiated internet trolls arepeople who deliberately posts upsetting or inflammatory comments on forums, articles and blogs to get a rise out of people.

It is unclear whether the word troll? in reference to this particular kind of internet reprobate comes from the fairytale monsters or the fishing technique of baiting a hook and waiting for something to bite. However, one thing that is unattested is that to qualify as a troll the commenter must be actively seeking to cause bad feeling.

The rise of internettrolls has led to the creation of one of the internet’s most popular mottos: don’t feed the trolls. Simply put, if you ignore the trolls, maybe they will go away on their own don’t take the bait.

Business owners defending themselves against trolls face an entirely different battle to those facing other negative feedback, such as a bad review, because the trolls are seeking something other than compensation. Trolls want attention, and notoriety within the forum.

According to recent research by reputation management company Igniyte, half of all British businesses claim to have had commercial interests affected by negative reviews.

Key findings:

  • 52 per cent of those questioned have experienced a decline because of postings online in the last 12 months
  • A further one in five (21 per cent) are terrified further negative content could destroy them for good up from one in six two years ago with more than one in ten (11 per cent) reporting the situation is getting worse
  • Almost half (47 per cent) of the 500 business owners and decision makers questioned by Igniyte have been affected by malicious posts and trolls in the past year too
  • Another one in ten (ten per cent) feel the landscape is becoming trickier to manage and one in eight 12 per cent of those affected say they don’t know how to make things right.
Finding a way to monitor comments left on your site can be challenging especially for a small business already pressed for time. Almost one in five (19 per cent) have been forced to create an in-house role to monitor and review online content, while 12 per cent have signed up to a third party review platform.

Speaking about the findings, Igniyte director Simon Wadsworth said: In a world where online comments, posts and reviews are constantly gaining in significance, firms must find ways to monitor and, where necessary, tackle damaging content.

getting to the root of the problem is essential. Employing good customer service and using negative feedback productively can help improve operations.



Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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