SMEs battle online with some even deliberately sabotaging competitors credibility.



Growing your SME is tough especially in the current climate. But sometimes, the hardest challenge is competing with established SMEs, especially if you have a limited marketing budget.

Consequently, competition from other brands in your niche may cause some to act unethically and consider sabotaging a competitor (hindering/damaging the reputation of an online business).

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 SME owners across the UK to expose just how many 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 can reveal that 18.3% WOULD consider sabotaging/damaging a competitor’s online business if they knew they would get away with it.

Encouragingly, 81.7% WOULD’T consider it at all even if they knew they could get away with.

99.7% haven’t sabotaged a competitor, whilst a tiny 0.3% admitted they have! The business sectors that would sabotage a competitor’s online business Out of those who answered they would consider sabotaging an online competitor, Reboot Digital discovered the businesses liable.

Recruitment and HR ranked first with 25%, whilst Advertising/Marketing/PR were second with 22%

Reasons for businesses to damage a competitor’s online reputation

The 18.3% of businesses that would consider online sabotage were then asked what the reasons would be (if they got away with it):

· I have a better product – 30%

· To make them lose their clients – 18%

· My competitor is doing ‘black hat’ SEO to get ahead – 15%

Interestingly, just 9% of businesses cited ‘lack of traffic to your website’was enough of a reason to consider sabotaging a competitor for.


‘I have a personal grudge against a business owner’ warranted just 7% of business owners to consider unethical tactics.


Techniques used by businesses to damage a competitor’s online reputation

Fortunately, there’s a big difference between saying you’ll damage a competitor’s online business and reputation and knowing how you’d do it.


Business owners cited these four techniques they’d use to sabotage a business:

1. Fake reviews on popular review platforms – 57%

2. Running a negative influencer campaign– 26%

3. Running a negative SEO campaign – 14%

4. Hacking a website – 3%


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