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Small Business Owners: How to Deal with Your Online Haters

online reputation managementLet’s face it – regardless of the size of our business and the good things our business has done to the local community, there will always be two groups of people out there in your community (or in your industry or market) – both online and off line: Those who rave and rant about you. The raves are all good; but how to deal with the rants – especially those made online?

Related: 9 Ways to Approach Anonymous Haters Online

You know what’s cherished on the Internet: Anonymity. The freedom of speech and so on are all good. But sometimes, things can go overboard, especially with haters of your business, your brand – or simply you: Instead of giving feedback and opinions in “civilised manners,” people use the power of anonymity on the web to say whatever they want. For some reasons, despite your hard work in building your online reputation, some people just allergic to your success.

I know how it feels like when you are trying to do good for you, your business and your community you get a group of people who seem to be dedicated to criticise you and rant about you – yes, such group of people just exist; that’s how the world goes. I have experienced this in the past, getting bad reviews, being called names, called as scammers, and so on.

How I deal with negative comments online

I once shared my make money online success story to inspire others to do the same on a particular social site; I’m not expecting any congrats or kudos, but at least I’m expecting my story to be at least useful for others looking to make a living online; as I don’t have interest in building a personal brand, that’s all that matters – be useful for others.

What I did get at that time caught me off guard: There was someone calling me a scammer or a liar. And there was someone else who said that doing what I did was easy and he’s not sure what to “brag” about (despite the fact that bragging didn’t cross my mind whatsoever…)

Well – things happened; now, should I be listening to them? Maybe. Should I be bitter? No. Should I embrace haters as they are part of your success? Absolutely!

You see, that’s how things could happen online; that’s why many people gave up even before they make their first $1 online – they can’t simply stand all the badmouthing and defamation. Well, whether you are now in the middle of building an online or offline startup, I would like to remind you that you should expect haters to come your way eventually. Get ready and be ready to cool your jets – it’s not the end of the world.

From my own experience, the best thing for you and me to do is not to respond negatively with regard to those haters. Instead, embrace them as part of your success; they are the ones who keep you grounded; they are a group of people who will help you keep you fire alight, giving you the energy to work hard making things better – indeed, you should turn those hateful remarks and such into the fuel for your business success.

If you are brave enough, you might want to respond to the negative comments, explaining your position and trying to clarify things. However, be aware that doing this could lead you to a never-ending “comment battle,” as your response is actually the fuel for lengthy debate. Maybe it’s a better approach to hire an online reputation specialist to help you out; your choice.

But hey, if you can’t simply stand all of the negativity, the best way you can do is just ignore them, and move on. Hang out with like-minded people in your community, so you don’t have to get through things alone.


Always remember – there always be two groups of people surrounding you and your business: Those who rave and rant about you. Unless you are doing something really bad – like really scamming others and such – you will always have someone who love your products and services – and willing to take the extra miles to get the words out about your business. Focus and invest on them; they are part of your team.

While you’re at it, you might want to read an article on how 9 rock-star entrepreneurs deal with anonymous, negative comments online.

Ivan Widjaya
I love my online haters – really!

Image: _tar0_ / Flickr

Disclaimer: I receive incentives to share my views on this particular blog post, but all of the opinions are my own. My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main.

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2594 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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  • Najee,

    Lol – yours probably the most interesting advice I’ve ever heard in dealing with online troublemakers!

  • Another thing we do with difficult people, we send them to our competition. Very early on in my career, I started observing that difficult customers end up taking an inordinate amount of your time, cause stress and end up sapping your energy. Why do business with such people. So now what I do, I suggest they take their business to our competition. Cruel? Yes :}

  • Deidre,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I bold it for a different reason, but yours does make sense – indeed, with the browser cookie, tracked IP address and such, we are actually not as anonymous as we think. I actually bold “anonymity” simply because they are what people are typically love being online; they can be whoever they want, do whatever they want without much implications in doing so. That’s why there are so many of our haters are anonymous – if haters are not anonymous, people or businesses could take action against him/her.

    The results of what you did in dealing with haters are actually interesting – since the result is encouraging, it’s probably a good way to deal with those leaving negative comments or feedback.


  • Sian,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Yeah, it’s what I did, too – trying to explain from my standpoint; something that lead to heated comment battle that ends up as just time wasted for nothing. I now typically ignore haters; my time is precious and I don’t want to waste my time trying to reason with them – as far as I know, it’s useless.


  • Deirdre

    “You know what’s cherished on the Internet: Anonymity. The freedom of speech and so on are all good. ”

    I’m guessing you made Anonymity bold for a reason in the piece because you know. It is ironic but people are not really as Anonymous as they think. WordPress sites send responders IP address with every comment they send to the web site owners.

    Occasionally I remind haters that this is so by returning the details I’ve received via their email. On one occasion I politely mentioned the sender had sent via their new anonymous email created especially to respond from their place of work. We received no more trouble from them via the site or FB. On other occasions we don’t allow it be published & delete instead. It’s ignored.

    As mentioned previously. The haters are the ones with the problem. Personally I can’t get Google adwords to shell out and apparently that’s easy. So all the best.


  • Well done for touching on this sensitive subject Ivan. I have been through something similar when I first started on Twitter and it’s only thanks to a few people (who I didn’t know then) who stuck up for me that I carried on with Twitter and thank goodness I did. My mistake then was to reply to these “haters” – not in an argumentative way but just trying to explain my point. And it got worse – comment battle is a great term for it. So now if it happens – which is rare thank goodness – I rise above it (and them) and ignore them. Thanks for sharing on

  • Thanks for this nice share, i appreciated for that!

  • Omar,

    Cheers for the kind words! You know what, I think without haters (and other kinds of naysayers) us entrepreneurs won’t be successful :) So, kudos to haters!

  • lol nice article. I love the title and the concept as well.

    “Haters gonna hate”.

    Yep you got that right. When people see others who are successful, they tend to wish bad things upon or make excuses or whatever.

    Just keep on doing you thing!


  • Hi Ivan,
    I commend your attitude and the way you have welcomed the negative reactions with open arms – that surely will neutralize a lot of the negativity.

    Bottom line is, statistically, there will always be a negative reaction on a SM or SN site. I don’t know what the ratio is +ve versus -ve, but even on the MOST inspiring of blogposts or videos I have seen online, there is always ONE who will be derogative, negative, accusatory or worse!

    My way of dealing with negative people online and offline, is simply the thought “whatever they are saying is more about them than me” If they say they hate me (and don’t know me) then they hate themselves, and I am merely the channel that they use to express that.

    Works for me every time :) [Happy hating – haters!! Do your worst!]