Home Builders Pay Off Gripe Sites That Have Prominent Search Engine Visibility–A Wise Decision?
Reminiscent of the RSA Homes Sues Google fiasco, NewsWeek published a story earlier this week that reveals how homebuilders are responding to gripe site participants screaming shoddy construction–pay them off! From the Newsweek story:
“Because of the binding arbitration clause in many new-home contracts, unsatisfied homeowners rarely make a court hearing—or the headlines. “I think that the problem with construction defects has been under the radar for so long,” says Nancy Seats, president of Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings (HADD), a nonprofit consumer protection group for homeowners dealing with defective construction.
“People just don’t understand how many people are just being financially destroyed by bad construction and binding arbitration. But now more and more people are going to the Internet to expose their problems and get back at the builder.”
“What happens instead of a trial, Seats says, is that big builders pay people to shut down their builder-bashing Web sites. It’s true that many links to former sites are now defunct, including the once-popular KBHomesSucks.com. “
This was the most outstanding Web site, and KB Homes tried to sue them,” Seats says. “The vast majority of [now-defunct sites] were people that were paid to shut up and go away.” Repeated calls from BusinessWeek to KB Homes (KBH) have, as yet, gone unanswered.”
Indeed, the once famous KBHomesSucks.com gripe site has mysteriously vanished as the screenshot below illustrates. But at what cost?
The NewsWeek story also lists a handful of homebuilder gripe sites:
The screenshot below illustrates prominent brand visibility in Google for the K. Hovnanian Homes Suck site, www.khovsucks.com.
Is it wise for homebuilders to pay off branded gripe sites? There are other solutions. Download our Brand Command White Paper to learn how to protect your brand from prominent gripe site visibility in the search engines.
Technorati tags: gripe sites, online brand protection