Almost One-In-Five Businesses Would Consider Sabotaging A Competitor Online

How high are the stakes in business competition? Data from Reboot Digital shows that more than 18 percent of businesses would consider sabotaging a competitor’s online business, while 0.3 percent of business owners surveyed have sabotaged a competitor’s online business.

Reboot Digital notes that competition between brands within a market niche can cause some to act unethically and consider sabotage. Acts of online sabotage can involve discrediting a business’s products/service with negative (and often fake) reviews, as well as running a link spam campaign to bring on/cause a Google penalty, or even hacking a website. In light of just how sinister the nature of sabotaging a competitor’s online business and reputation can be, Reboot Digital surveyed 1,672 business owners to expose just how many businesses would consider sabotaging a competitor if they thought they would get away with. Reboot Digital also sought to uncover out of those who had sabotaged, which industries appeared to be more culpable.

Reboot’s survey found that 81.7 percent of businesses wouldn’t at all consider sabotaging a competitor, even if they could get away with it. However, among those that would, recruitment and HR ranked first among business sectors at 25 percent, followed by advertising/marketing/PR at 22 percent. As for why they’d do it, 30 percent said they would if the competition had a better product, 18 percent would do so to make the competition lose clients and 15 percent said they would if their competitor was using “black hat” SEO to get ahead. Additionally, nine percent of businesses cited “lack of traffic to your website” as enough of a reason to consider sabotaging a competitor and “I have a personal grudge against a business owner” warranted just seven percent of business owners to consider unethical tactics.

As for how they’d do it, 57 percent said fake reviews on popular review platforms, 26 percent said running a negative influencer campaign, 14 percent said running a negative SEO campaign and three percent said hacking a website.

For more on Reboot’s findings, click here.

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Comments (2)
Jae M. Rang
August 5, 2020
I remember during the last recession that some of my competitors paid off brand managers at a shared client in order to get the business. Desperate times breed desperate measures, I guess, especially if one believes the "pie" is finite. I think if we dropped the term "competitor" and called them 'fellow creators" we might take a different approach.
Betsy Whitehead
August 4, 2020
This is very sad. To think that people would think like that - one in five businesses.
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