Let’s face it—if you’re in business, you’re almost certain to encounter less-than-favorable feedback at one point or another. That’s why last week’s blog post covered the best ways for businesses to handle negative online reviews.

I have to admit, however, that I hadn’t given much thought to an entirely different genre of online review: the joke review. The joke review came to my attention via a recent article from The Wall Street Journal (“These Amazon Products Are No Joke, But the Online Reviews Are,” May 1, 2013).

Apparently, online review sites have become the stage for thousands of amateur comedians. Truth be told, some of these comics are quite good. Here are two samples from Amazon.com:

I purchased this product 4.47 billion years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty.” – Review of uranium ore sample sold by Images Scientific Instruments

Obviously, I don’t use it for vulgar endeavors like math or filling out a voter application, but BIC Cristal for Her is a lovely little writing utensil all the same. Ask your husband for some extra pocket money so you can buy one today!” – Review of BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pens

Good publicity, or bad? Well, both companies were featured in The Wall Street Journal (in a front page article, no less). So I’d say that the witty banter hasn’t been too detrimental. More important, spokespeople from both companies have taken the attention in stride. BIC USA spokeswoman Jill Johnson says: “We continue to be intrigued by the conversation that surrounds the BIC For Her line and are always interested in hearing consumer feedback about our products.”

As I pointed out previously, how you handle online reviews can determine the direction of your business’ word of mouth. Even if that means acknowledging the comedic talent and creative capacity of your online reviewers.

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