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STARTUP

What to Do About a Negative Review

Main Street Hub, a start-up that wants to help you manage your reputation on social media, received $2.6 million in funding.
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Main Street Hub, a tech start-up that manages the reputations of small businesses, has received about $2.6 million in funding, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The money technically was raised by Keepwheel, which shares a CEO with Main Street Hub. Andrew Allison, the CEO, told the Austin American Statesman that the funding would support the growth of Main Street Hub.

The company charges small businesses a fee (starting at $199 per month) to take care of online reputation management and spreading the (good) word about the company on social media. Main Hub will monitor Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and more, deleting inappropriate Facebook posts, e-mailing the company with their proposed response to any negative reviews or comments, and thanking customers who check-in on FourSquare.

The company also will update you on your social media presence. (Main Street Hub is not the only company that offers these services, but it appears to have the lowest, most straightforward pricing structure.)

Allison and his business partner Matt Stuart met and started the company in March 2010 while earning MBAs at Stanford University. They moved to Austin in May with 11 employees and have expanded rapidly. (The start-up looked at Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and San Diego before settling on Austin, co-founder Stuart told Austinnovation.)

By the end of August they had 27 employees. The current number is 41, and Allison expects the number to rise to 50 in November.

"This helps to fuel our growth," Allison told the Statesman, declining to name the angel investors. "We have been growing a lot this year, and this money helps us continue to grow into 2012 at the same pace."

Main Street Hub maintains that all is not lost for small businesses when they receive negative reviews online. Instead, it's all in how you handle the review.

"A courteous response to a negative review can persuade the reviewer to change their reviews from two to three or four stars," Allison told the New York Times. "That’s one of the highest victories a local business can aspire to with respect to their critics."

Last updated: Oct 25, 2011

Inc. contributing editor COURTNEY RUBIN was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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