(530) 404-5556 vern@silkshorts.com

How Can You Repair Your Online Reputation?

You’ve been hearing for the last few years about how important reviews are to your search engine position.

Well they still are really important for that, but also they are playing a growing and very important role in your client’s decisions on whether to do business with you. There are still people who don’t know how to do reviews but as Internet savvy becomes more and more common, most do use reviews!

Anybody who does a search for a product or service has become familiar with the links to various reviews for the businesses they see in the results. Not only that but THEY READ THEM. And they do make decisions based on them. I do it, maybe you don’t, but I guarantee that many of your prospective leads do.

Who writes the reviews about you?

That’s the really scary part. An unhappy customer or client who wants to vent is the most motivated to do a bad review. It’s a chance to really poke at you if there is some real or imagined slight that they feel. Sometimes there’s a legitimate complaint and sometimes you may not think it’s so legitimate, but understand the only person who can take down that review is the person who made it. And once posted it’s there forever. Let me repeat, forever. There is almost no way to get that bad review removed by the reviewing website and the reviewer may not even be reachable.

Of course there are also some customers who are so pleased with your service that they’ll give a good review. In fact when you start researching reviews you’ve received you’ll find most are either one star (BAD) or five stars (Good). There are seldom three and four star reviews because people just aren’t motivated to go to the trouble of reviewing a business that is ‘OK’ or ‘Pretty Good’.

Over time you will get some bad reviews. I don’t care if you’re Santa Claus or Honey Boo-Boo, somebody will have a beef about how you treated them and will want to let the whole world know about it.

Review sites like Yelp and Google and others rank very high in search engines, so if someone searches specifically for your business by name, it is very likely that a review about your business will come up before your own business site.

For instance:

How do you know if you’re being hurt by a bad review?

You don’t know for sure, but stop and think if someone is interested in the service or product you offer and they are online looking for someone to do business with, how likely are they to choose a business with an average rating of one or two stars when right there in the same list is another business with four or five stars average?

If you expect to get Internet leads, you need to take this all very seriously.

If you do a search for Realtors® in any medium to large city you will see listings for dozens of Agents and Offices. Most will have a few very good reviews and some will have one or two bad reviews. To give you an idea of how important it is to manage these, here is a review of a very successful agent in Fair Oaks, CA who had only two reviews. One was 5 star and the other was 1 star as follows:


9/7/2012 First to Review

[Company Name], and their agent [Agent Name], are horrible to work with. She went on vacation during the beginning, as well as the closing period for the home we purchased. Her lack of communication, her refusal to meet deadlines, her deceit in the details of the listing, and her overall non-professionalism was shocking. She would rather be golfing rather than conduct business.

Here’s an example: She listed the home, then refused to take calls from our realtor while on the golf course, nor did she respond to any e-mails. Her excuse on the phone call was that she did not recognize the number calling…..what??? Her excuse on the e-mails, was that she never checks “that e-mail box” because it was her old e-mail account. However, it was this “old” e-mail account which was posted on the listing…….what??????

Avoid [Company Name] Real Estate, and [Agent Name] at “all costs”!!!!


In a long list of 5 star ratings for other agents this agent had a 3 star rating. If you were working with a buyer or seller and they “Googled” you and saw this Yelp review. How do you think it might impact your credibility with that client? Imagine how this could affect your sales over time.

If that one bad review had been “drowned out” with 5 or ten great reviews most people would realize that the bad review was probably due to a one time misunderstanding.

The takeaway is Manage Your Online Reputation!!

Seeing Sea Snakes While Cruising in the Fiji Islands

by Vern Clinton

Do you ever see any sharks?

That’s a question every cruiser gets when he is reluctantly drawn into telling sea. stories. Jaws has had its impact and Benchly fans the oceans of the world are populated with toothy giants cruising around just waiting for some tender morsel to come sailing into their dining room. Well, I’m no different. I’ve got a couple of great shark stories for hair curling at cocktail parties, and you’re liable to run across a couple of them right on this blog.

Still, while Jaws is the first thought of many, there are a large number of more sophisticated questioners with the question “What about Sea Snakes”.

Now there’s a concept to curl your hair. It’s pretty scary visualizing a futile battle with a great toothy monster gobbling you up amid “Mack the Knife” imagery but, still, if you must go, that’s an honest way for a sailor to go. Kind of like a safari guide meeting a tiger, or being trampled by a wild elephant, or being gobbled by a Tyrannosaurus Rex on a lost island populated by leggy Amazons with leopard skin bikinis. But a snake, yechhh. Slithery, slidy, sneaky, tongue-flickering, beady-eyed snake. There you are in some beautiful lagoon poking around for shells in some place where no self-respecting Great White Shark would ever even think of spending time, and “ping”, you feel a little nip about like brushing against a piece of sharp coral. Minutes later you’re writhing in agony, turning black and all that good stuff. Brrrr. I’ll take Jaws anytime. I admit to shivering every time I see even a garter snake and when questions about these Sea Snakes come up I prefer to be far from water. I don’t even like to have the water running in the sink.

Sea Snakes are ubiquitous in tropical waters. If you are cruising in Fiji islands they are everywhere. The species in these waters are a variety that has a particularly virulent poison with no antidote. On any particular snorkeling expedition, you can see several of them poking into nooks and crannies for small fish or whatever they like. Sometimes they will laze on the surface so they can be encountered unexpectedly there. While snorkeling you are looking down with that particular tunnel vision that a diving mask causes and you swim into the beast. They say it scares poor near-sighted snake, but rather than put a lot of thought into that I tend to scream and thrash.

Shudder, brrrrr, yahhh!! They are rather nearsighted and are curious so it is not unusual for one that is roaming the bottom to stop and swim directly toward you at the surface. It chills me when this happens and even gives me goose bumps when I write about it. Still (we are told) the snakes I’ve seen don’t seem to be aggressive, although I’ve heard that those found along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia occasionally are. All species have very small mouths not really suited to large prey.

Unless they happened on a small fold of flesh like you have between your fingers they could not bite you even if they were inclined to do so. OK my brain believes that although my stomach doesn’t accept any of it. My equanimity would be seriously disturbed to have one of these inoffensive beasts gumming me in a non-aggressive way.

If I feel this way why am I writing about them? Ah, well, it’s to set the stage for my snake story, of course. It’s a wonderful story that happened to someone else. If it had been me instead of that someone else you would not now be reading these pages as I would be no more than a memory having long ago disappeared in the sand as a quivering lump of jelly, a victim of my own phobia. Well, it will have to wait for another session at the computer…

Let’s Go Sailin’

Welcome to my personal blog.  I’ve thought a long time about publishing some writing I’ve done about cruising in the South Pacific, day sailing here and there and other sailing adventures like boat delivery or experiences while in the Navy.

Some of the writing is my own and other writing is by friends on the same subjects.