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The Emergence Of Reputation Management Companies

If you’re starting up a new company are have been managing a small business for a few years, chances are you have recently been introduced to the term Reputation Management and are learning how it applies online. What may have been just a simple Public Relations effort a few years ago for some enterprises has quickly blossomed into a full fledged online strategy to not only release data about your company, but also control that information in a way that is beneficial.

No longer can small businesses rely solely on the traditional PR movements that consist of giving out press releases to certain local media outlets while also counting on word of mouth marketing. All of that has changed with the online realm and one must depend on either his or her own skills when it comes to forging a new marketing path or contract the services out to a third party in the form of outsourcing.

Why Reputation Management?

The emergence of reputation management companies since 2008 has not been a coincidence. More and more, companies are finding it difficult to balance out all of the responsibilities that must go in with SEO, Public Relations and RM. In fact, there are so many social media facets to this practice alone that it can often be too intimidating for a small start up business owner to actually dedicate time to improving online reputation while at the same time keeping on top of any new information that is spreading through the Internet.

It can all seem simple enough at the beginning, but once negative reviews, undesired search results and other information begin being archived online about your business, the general tendency is for a small company rep to panic and react incorrectly. After all, the main goal is to push down unwanted search results and stay on top of information that can be controlled via accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

Reputation management companies differ quite a bit from one another, but all offer some blend of online marketing, public relations, and other services that can be extremely general or specific depending on what a firm’s needs are at the time they reach out to outsource a third party.

Why RM Is Important To Your Company

It’s no secret that the Internet has changed the way the general population views its news, information, and other resources. No longer is a small business limited by region. If planned correctly, even a one person company (depending on which services are being offered) can benefit from tapping into a global market thanks to the Internet. It only takes a few Do It Yourself methods and a business owner can easily begin gaining exposure provided that he or she takes the time to research Reputation Management and how it applies to online use.

If you’re new to this site, I suggest taking a look through the many articles we have archived and learn what you can from the information that is written out. We encourage our readers to do their own research in order to save both time and money in the long run, yet we also have our own staff who deals with different aspects of the business on a more personalized basis.

Either way, there is plenty more coming from Reputable.com in the form of guides, tips, and additional info on how to best assist companies who are seeking out Reputation Management needs. As always, feel free to contact me at your convenience if I can be of help in any way. You can also leave a comment below this article and I will reply as soon as possible.

-David H.

How To Claim Your Brand Online

HavingStarbucks Google Places been around the online reputation management business for some time, it still irks me somewhat when I find suspect seminars and fee-based marketing gimmicks designed to rake in hundreds or thousands of dollars for simply pointing small businesses in the right direction concerning SEO. I’ve long believed that there is undoubtedly a niche for this service, yet in my opinion this is derived from 1-on-1, honest, simple dialogue between a reputation management service and its client rather than fancy marketing terms and gobbledygook. My stomach still turns when I see some obvious online ploy (usually disguised as an entry-fee seminar or monthly fee contractual agreement) with a handful of suits jockeying for position by offering an unreasonable price for everything from social media consultation to developing online brand identity. The reason for this isn’t due to a lack of demand for such information, but rather the fact that most small businesses and individuals could do the research themselves for less than one-fifth of the overall cost; if not much less than that.

Claiming Your Brand Online

This brings me to an introductory step that many firms must take when deciding to take a hands-on approach to reputation management. For our readers who are just now getting into the concept of monitoring and responding to online feedback about a particular brand, online branding encompasses tasks such as ensuring that your company’s data is published correctly and responding to online entries (such as reviews) in an effort to improve the overall perception of your firm while also gaining valuable feedback from customers.

If you’re completely new to this process, the first website you’ll probably want to visit is Google Places. If you type Your Company’s Name into the Google Search engine, the information displayed (along with a map) is due to the data gathered by Google Places. Once you’ve created an account, you can simply click on the “Business Owner” link while visiting your firm’s page to properly identify yourself as the owner or official representative of a particular company. The verification process involves providing as much key information as possible about your business (this is beneficial in the long run). There are separate slots available for providing photos and video content of your site (in cases where customers are expected to visit a physical address) along with a space for adding an online coupon for those who are referred to you by Google searches.

Foursquare is another commonly used website that integrates social media and allows users to check-in when they are dining out, shopping, or partaking in any other professional service as a client. You might find that upon visiting Foursquare.com that there is already a profile listed for your particular company. This is due to the fact that customers are allowed to create a listing for you (just like Google Places and others) in order to check-in. Once you have gone through the simple process of claiming your Foursquare account, you will then be allowed to enter all relevant data related to your business as well as offer bonus rewards for those who check-in the most often. Ensuring that all the information published is correct is vitally important due to the online marketing aspect that comes with a Foursquare entry.

The process is very similar when it comes to claiming your brand at Facebook Places, or review sites including Yelp.com and TripAdvisor.com. It really doesn’t take any large amount of effort; only a small amount of your time and the ability to sign up for an account plus verify that you are the owner or an official representative of the firm in question.

Hopefully this guide will prove helpful for those who would like a non-intimidating way to get involved in their own online reputation. If you have any questions, feel free to leave your comments below.

Strategic Product Placement And Reputation Management

One of my main leisure activities over the past few years has become keeping up with my favorite cooking programs that are broadcast across the cable TV airwaves as well as video sharing websites such as YouTube. The Reality TV business has taken so many twists and turns since becoming popular in the early 1990s that it’s sometimes difficult to tell where the drama ends and the real instruction begins; yet there are plenty of shows out there with their individual take on what is needed in order to become the next recording artist, athlete, or even professional cook. Admittedly, my favorite programs revolve around food, with a personal soft spot for the global MasterChef phenomenon which pits a handful of home cooks against each other in a series of difficult culinary predicaments to see which one comes out on top. After more than a dozen weekly episodes that feature eliminations, the winner generally takes home a substantial cash prize along with a cookbook deal and other benefits.

MasterChef And Product Placement

If you’re anWal Mart Steaks observant viewer or someone who’s spent time in the advertising industry, chances are you’ve noticed quite a bit of strategic product placement within the MasterChef kitchen. Not only that, the attempt to collectivize opinions and drive new business toward certain chefs, restaurants, equipment manufacturers and even food critics is often so obvious that it’s easy to question how genuine some of the “real-time” reactions actually are. A prime example of this is the promotion of Walmart steaks as well as the fact that the supermarket behemoth is recognized as the “Official Grocer” of the competition in the United States.

It’s interesting to witness how the product placement variables are flirted with and to see just how a company’s reputation is managed within a specialty environment such as cooking. In many cases, the home cooks are given ingredients to work with as they construct their dream meal while abiding by a specific time limit. When there’s any sort of filet mignon used, a quick in-program advertisement is launched by one of the judges repeating a sentence or two about Walmart and reminding all the contestants (and of course, viewers) that “only one in five steaks are good enough to be called Walmart steaks.” Another way that the judges promote the supermarket in real time is by displaying a basket-full of ingredients and then informing everyone that they were purchased from Walmart as they go over how delicious some of the chocolate is or how ripe the strawberries are, etc.

Does Product Placement Work?

As is the answer to just about every question… it depends. In order for product placement to be successful, it needs to alter a general perception, create a need, or serve some other advertising/marketing purpose that ultimately leads to greater consumption combined with a more positive general outlook on how the merchandise fits into a person’s daily routine. All the obvious shenanigans aside, it’s hard to criticize the effectiveness of how the brand is inserted in key situations within the MasterChef competition.

For example, it’s easy to see how viewers might decide to make their own grilled steak at home and actually replicate the scenario that the competitors had to go through by purchasing $15 worth of ingredients at Walmart to cook a meal for four. Unlike other competitive cooking programs such as Iron Chef, MasterChef makes a point of featuring amateur cooks who may have skills more in line with those of us watching at home. They are people who the average viewer can more easily relate to, root for, and even imitate.

Although this particular head of household may not be rushing out to grab a fistful of Walmart steaks the next time I want a nice marbled rib-eye to put on the grill, it is indeed interesting and educations to see how advertisers are constantly updating their techniques in an effort to maximize a brand or product’s potential.

Online Reputation: Sarah Jones vs. The Dirty Lawsuit

If you’reSEO Magnet in the reputation management business, perhaps you’ve heard about this week’s jury verdict that found Nik Richie, the owner of TheDirty.com, was liable for content published on his website that was submitted by a third party. The dispute began several years ago when an anonymous post on the gossip site accused former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and former school teacher Sarah Jones of having had sexual contact with the football players on the team and went even further in posting negative tidbits about Jones.

On her behalf, Jones was convicted late last year for having a sexual relationship with a former high school student (who was 17 at the time, but is now her fiancee) while she was teaching there. As a part of the plea bargain with prosecutors, Jones was given 5 years probation without having to serve any jail time or register publicly as a sex offender. However, the recent lawsuit – which initially resulted in a hung jury in Kentucky – has gained a massive amount of attention in the past 24 hours due to the verdict which awarded Jones $338,000 in damages (Jones sought $11 million) due to content that was posted about her on TheDirty.com website.

Publishing Third Party Content

In the past, those who have sought to get content removed from a website or to even seek damages for something personal or damaging that was posted on a high traffic source have been shot down by the Communications Decency Act that was passed into law in 1996. The Act was originally aimed at regulating pornographic material on the Internet. However, it also specifically states that operators of Internet services are not publishers. Section 230 reads, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This is an important designation due to the large amount of opinions and views that are published anonymously on forums that enjoy heavy online traffic.

According to the law, the content published by others does not mean the owner of a website is publishing it personally – nor is he/she responsible for removing that content except in specific cases which are covered by copyright. What is so distinct about Thursday’s ruling is that for the first time in a high profile case, a jury has found in favor of the victim (and against a website owner) and has even awarded punitive damages for content that was posted anonymously by someone other than the actual operator of the site.

Moderation Format

While this will certainly turn a lot of heads in a business where high traffic online forums often dominate the rumor mill in a particular industry, it may not mean that website owners will suddenly be held responsible for posts that are published on their sites by visitors and members. In TheDirty.com’s case, the material is directly moderated by Richie himself, who then routinely adds a brief sentence or two at the end of the “news item” in his own words.

This differs substantially from how most high traffic forums deal with content moderation – where a group of employees or volunteers forages over submissions as quickly as possible as it evolves in real time in an atmosphere where posts are automatically published by default. In most cases, website owners who have a high traffic forum on their site may not be directly involved with how posts on a public forum are handled, but in Richie’s case the posts are approved directly by him with his own comments immediately below the post.

Appeal Is Next

After Thursday’s verdict, news quickly spread on TheDirty.com and several reputation management news outlets – while Richie’s lawyer David Gingras told media members that the verdict had been reached due to an incorrect mandate by U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman. TheDirty.com’s attorney on the other hand said, “What the jury did today was follow a legally incorrect instruction given by the judge that said basically they were required to treat a website owner as a publisher or something that someone else wrote.”

Gingras promised that TheDirty.com and its owner Nik Richie will appeal the verdict and went on to state that the judge’s instruction was “100% wrong” according to federal law.

Balancing Air Travel Proficiency With Reputation Management

We’ve all beenFlight Delay there… on our way to an important business meeting or a reunion with loved ones when all of the sudden we are advised that our flight will be delayed (or even cancelled). The decision by an airline can greatly dampen our hopes and plans; not to mention the inconvenience involved. Like it or not, delayed flights are a reality for those of us who are on the go and constantly traveling from one location to the next. But how should airlines balance the inevitable while still ensuring they are taking the proper steps to retain customer loyalty? The answer depends on a number of factors, yet there definitely ARE proper measures staff can take to have a better chance of booking a returning customer in the future.

Security Measures

When we think of security measures and how they relay to flight cancellations, the first thing that pops into the minds of many is personnel’s ability to ward off threats that potentially endanger the lives of passengers. However, the most common form of security measure that affects a flight’s status is whether an aircraft and its crew are fit to transport us from one location to the other. Mechanical maintenance, although a huge inconvenience when it happens to intervene with and change our plans, is a necessity that must take place regardless of the time or place. Realizing this as a customer is something we have to accept and we can make our lives quite a bit easier by remaining friendly with the airline’s staff when something like this happens.

Customer Support & Service

On the airline’s side of the coin, flight delays and cancellations occur on a daily basis. Unfortunately, staff and passengers are often at odds when it comes to who’s to blame and how best to move forward and arrange lodging or book a separate flight. This often stems from how disappointed the customers will be upon learning that their plans have just been changed without them being able to do much about it. However, it is very important to keep in mind that although it is highly unpleasant to deal with a customer who is clearly upset, he/she still has a valid justification for being slightly miffed at having secured a ticket for a certain date and time; only to learn at the last minute that the schedule (for whatever reason) won’t be respected.

One way for airlines to attract new and returning customers is to be among the most on time airlines worldwide. In a recent article published by the Huffington Post, American Airlines and Continental were ranked among the top 5 globally. When it comes to passengers who expect to make it on time to their appointments the vast majority of times, being an airline that ensures the highest percentage of promised on time arrivals is a huge plus.

Aside from that, having staff that is trained to be as pleasant as possible and to be considerate of customers’ inconveniences can (in the long term) go a long way in retaining them in the future. There isn’t anything staff can do about the decision to prolong a layover, but there IS something (a lot, in fact) that can be done in the form of common sense and politely fielding complaints. Taking to social media to address some of the imperfections that have caused a specific delay or cancellation can also improve customer relations insofar as to let them know that the company is aware of the issue and standing by to look for solutions.

Regardless of which airline a customer chooses, he/she will be faced with a delay or cancellation when frequent flying, but having staff and clients work together to find the next best option can only result in overall improvement in the long run.

Foursquare And Today’s Word Of Mouth Marketing

Remember the daysFourSquare when word of mouth advertising meant sharing personal and professional tips in real time communication with neighbors and friends? Those times of the 20th century have quickly passed us by, and today’s virtual environment has been focusing more and more on massive social media in which people interact via the Internet in a way that influences purchasing more than ever. Take for example the site Foursquare, a relatively new method for sharing with friends, colleagues and family where an individual is at a particular moment. If you haven’t signed up for an account at the social media giant yet, it represents a way to relay information not only on your whereabouts in real time, but also acts as a way to indicate which purchases are being made; everything from the mechanic you use to service a vehicle to baby sitting services.

Foursquare Concept

When it comes to online reputation management, few websites do a better job at revealing real time preferences than Foursquare. This is due to modules that provide users with the ability to make automatic check-ins that can be repeated (complete with statistics) at the user’s leisure. Are you taking the kids out for a pizza night? Or perhaps shopping for a new pair of shoes? Those who follow your personalized feed can quickly gain information on where you’re currently shopping just by checking out the places you frequent.

By using maps to pinpoint a customer’s location, followers can often be drawn to using the same services when deciding on which locals to go to when they have similar needs that relate to those of their online friends. On top of that, new features such as being able to check-in your own friends saves time and encourages users to connect and share information when they happen to be at the same location. Instead of you and your acquaintance both pulling out a mobile device and checking in separately, the tools that come with Foursquare now allow you to check your own friends in for events that range from a birthday party to a night out on the town.

There are also modules that let users visualize places they’ve visited in the past by highlighting dots on a zoomed-out map along with enhanced opportunities for companies to use sites such as Foursquare to show customers which courses are being attended and the places of interest that could potentially boost sales.

Reputation Management Via Social Media

Many of us have learned that a firm’s reputation can often be managed via social media; especially for small businesses in cases where news items seldom hit the media airwaves. Want to inform clients on where your staff is attending a meeting without having it come off as a full fledged press release? If you have enough followers, then posting detailed info on sites such as Foursquare can help get the word out in an efficient manner. Individuals who have similar tastes in clothing, television shows and more can often share ideas on what they want to spend their free time on without having to use the traditional word of mouth method that has quickly become inconvenient in today’s on-the-go society.

Best of all, entering data via a smart phone or tablet computer has become easier than ever thanks to innovations in social media websites that even allow some firms to offer discounts to clients who happen to be checking-in with a site such as Foursquare. In the very near future, it could very well be commonplace for a shopper to receive a significant discount at a retailer by simply checking-in and sharing his/her location with friends and followers.

In today’s virtual environment, word of mouth marketing is something that all companies should consider when thinking about how to best manage one’s reputation.

Pew Internet: Teens More Aware Of Online Reputation Management

Those of us whoFacebook Login Page have used social media for years and have experience in search query technology often think twice before posting information on the Internet and ask internal questions before publishing. How will this information affect the company I represent? Should this photo be made public? How many individuals will this news post reach? Guidelines that have become second nature to many are increasingly being implemented by teenagers as well, according to a recent study released by Pew Internet.

General Statistics

Overall, more teens are publishing a larger amount of information on the Internet that directly relates to them personally. The Pew study revealed that 91 percent of teens now post a photo of themselves on a social media network or blog – up from 79% in 2006. Other stats show that 76% post the name of their school, 71% give out information on which city or town they’re from, 53% give out an email address and 20 percent publish their cell phone number – all of these are up significantly since 2006.

When it comes to Facebook, the survey shows that 60% of teens set their account profile to “Private” while 56 percent say that it is not difficult at all to manage account settings. The Pew Internet experiment surveyed 802 children ranging from ages 12 to 17, saying that teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past, but they are also taking a variety of technical and non-technical steps to manage the privacy of that information. Despite taking these privacy-protective actions, teen social media users do not express a high level of concern about third-parties (such as businesses or advertisers) accessing their data; just 9% say they are “very” concerned.”

Online Reputation Management Awareness

Also growing along with publication trends is the ability of teens to control or privatize information that is posted on social media sites. Pew Internet states that 59 percent of those questioned have edited or deleted something they posted in the past, while another 53% have deleted comments posted by others on their profile. Another 45% have removed their names from photos that they were tagged in, and 31% claim to have deactivated or deleted an account altogether.

Pew Internet Senior Researcher Mary Madden says, “Far from being privacy indifferent, today’s teens are mindful about what they post, even if their primary focus and motivation is often their engagement with an audience of friends and family, rather than how their online behavior might be tracked by advertisers or other third parties.”

Director of the Youth and Media Project at the Berkman Center Sandra Cortesi provided insight into what the study’s results were. “Our focus group findings revealed complex and often negative feelings about Facebook interactions. Many teens longed for some online place that was free of ‘drama,’ and complex audience management requirements. Instead, some are turning to Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to avoid these difficult peer dynamics.”

Active Participation In Reputation Management

Researcher Amanda Lenhart also contributed to the report, saying that “teens with larger Facebook networks visit the site more often, share more information about themselves and are friends with a greater variety of people. But these large networks are also associated with greater engagement in reputation management activities, and these youth are more likely to be spreading their social media energies across a broader portfolio of social media sites.”

With new technological aspects being introduced to social media sites on a frequent basis, it is likely that teens (and the rest of us as well) will soon have more privacy tools at how fingertips that will enable us to maintain a tighter reign on managing personal and professional reputations. Large scale data gathering means that the general public may find it necessary to be extremely considerate of long term consequences whenever posting any type of information online.

Amy’s Baking Company And Its Reputation Management

If you’ve been browsing our site and have read our latest articles, then you are aware of the Kitchen Nightmares Season 6 finale that focused on Amy’s Baking Company; a locally owned Scottsdale, Arizona eatery. Even TV viewers who normally don’t tune in to cooking shows seem to have been drawn to the drama laden episode which showed flaws and highly questionable management tactics by the diner’s two owners: Samy and Amy Bouzaglo.

Following a debacle that highlighted everything from store-bought frozen food (that was advertised as “fresh”) to wait staff not receiving the tips that customers left, it seemed that the future of ABC would be short lived. In case you haven’t heard of the scenario, here’s a screenshot (taken from Friday, June 14th) of Google News Search Results for Amy’s Baking Company.

Amys Baking Company Google News Query

Kitchen Nightmares Season 6 Finale

From the beginning of the final episode of this year’s Kitchen Nightmares featuring Gordon Ramsay, the owners stated they had been plagued by negative online reviews from “haters” and bloggers who had criticized the diner’s food as well as the owner’s treatment of customers. When Ramsay entered the restaurant and took a look at the desserts on offer, he was genuinely impressed. Another rare moment for the series came when the chef inspected the on-site refrigeration area; noticing that everything was stored securely and properly labeled. However, the wheels started coming off once he tasted the restaurant’s main dishes, which he described as undercooked (pizza dough) and not good.

By the time the episode had concluded, the husband and wife who own Amy’s Baking Company had completely come off as inept and unable to absorb any type of criticism. For the first time in the show’s six years, Ramsay decided to give up on attempting to save the diner and ordered his crew to remove all the video recording equipment that is typically set up for the week-long visit in which the chef usually invests quite a bit of time and money into a struggling business in order to save it.

ABC’s Reputation Management

As soon as the show aired last month, news stories and blog posts from around the world surfaced on the Internet; criticizing the company and its methods. Due to an onslaught of negative publicity, ABC decided to temporarily close its doors as it focused on re-branding its food and image. Ironically, bookings soared after the season finale was televised, as customers were eager to dine at the restaurant just to verify for themselves if it was as bad as it appeared on TV (or to witness one of the owners’ meltdowns in person).

After a short commercial was released to the public (ABC hired a PR firm for this), the owners may have thought everything would work itself out and that the flow of customers would continue to be steady, but overnight fame (or infamy in this case) can only peak customers’ curiosity for so long; then you are stuck with the same issues you had prior to so much exposure.

Unfortunately, that’s where Amy’s Baking Company seems to be now – somewhere near the end of an unsuccessful attempt to explain away video footage that is highly conclusive and tends to affirm a viewer’s long-term opinion instantly.

Sadly, the latest queries for Google News show that the most viable option for the company now may be to sign a contract for its own reality show. Due to how many networks focus on drama and problematic situations, the deal could result in the restaurant (and its owners) maintaining their bad habits in order to satisfy a segment of viewers who enjoy watching disorder, yelling, and outlandish behavior regardless of whether it pertains to the food industry.

Only time will tell when it comes to whether Amy’s Baking Company will make a comeback. In this particular situation – with so many members of the public already aware of the restaurant’s actions – it will likely take a long-term effort in order to save the business.

Dealing With Negative Online Reviews

Ever sinceReputation Negative Review opinion based journalism has existed, negative reviews have haunted businesses in small to large markets who have had to deal with the eventual repercussions of a less than impressive customer experience being laid bare. With the invention of the Internet and particularly social media, this danger has increased significantly due to the amount of online readers who often check out review sites before engaging in business; regardless of whether it’s related to deciding on one’s next cable provider or dining out. The age of social media has made it possible for non-journalists to have a massive influence (which at times can be even greater than well regarded “critics”) on how public perception is swayed.

Hire A Reputation Management Company?

If you’re a public relations officer for a large corporation, then chances are you’ve dealt with a reputation management company in some form as a part of your duties. While going this route can offer some support and peace of mind in receiving qualified assistance, it’s by far the least effective way of dealing with negative online reviews for businesses that don’t have the luxury of a large budget; not to mention that many of the steps reputation management companies take can be performed by the individual or business at a significantly reduced cost.

One of the main issues with hiring someone else to deal with your online problems is precisely that; it promotes a hands-off approach while giving the reigns to a representative who is often more interested in charging an hourly rate than actually dealing with and solving the issue at hand.

Address The Problem

Assuming a negative review is receiving attention and making its way toward the first page of search engine results, one of the most straight forward methods of dealing with the review is to address the problem directly. For example, a company could directly reply to the reviewer and offer a solution to the problem or address events that transpired along with a new approach that will be taken in the future to avoid a recurrence of the situation. For minor issues, this can generally be an effective method for diffusing a negative review and getting public perception back on your side.

Search Engine Blues

Although not quite as common in 2013 as it has been in years past, a company’s reputation can sometimes be sidetracked by a single inflammatory article, review or rant that may be completely irrelevant and even false. What’s worse is that depending on where the review was published and related keywords, your company or service could find its way at the very top of search engines regardless of whether there is actual validity to the negative claim. There are few things on the Internet that are more intimidating with the potential of damaging your business than fabricated criticism.

In these cases, the first step toward getting back on your feet may be to solicit a recall or complete removal of the article/review in question. However, this approach will sometimes prove fruitless due to a website’s internal policy, so the next logical move is to begin getting your name or company reputation back in good graces by ensuring there is alternative, more informative content available for readers. This does not mean that a false review should be published, but rather that keywords that were used to get the negative criticism to rank so highly should be targeted in order to move previously published content or new write-ups toward the top of online search queries.

It is definitely tough to deal with all negative feedback and each circumstance should be evaluated on a case by case basis. However, with the proper tools and a good amount of prudence, negative online feedback can be successfully addressed and even result in a long term positive boost for your business if handled correctly.

Introduction To Reputation Management

In theReputation Management old days, when bad news came out about an individual or business, resources on how to deal with the problem or “get the word out” were limited. In most cases, the specific problem could be localized and dealt with on a word of mouth basis and/or by a gradual rectification of previous actions. However, today’s virtual world is much different, with even the most minute of circumstances finding themselves communicated in real time across the Internet. Regardless of whether you represent a large firm or are simply the victim of a rumor, social media websites, live television, search engines and other outlets can significantly harm your reputation and make it difficult for you to conduct business or even improve personal relationships. Here at Reputable.com, our aim is to provide readers with relevant content on different situations that are a direct result of reputation sabotage, useful tools to assist you in dealing with problems, and create an open line of communication with our readership.

What Is Reputation Management?

According to the official Wikipedia site, Reputation management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results. Although it is often associated with ethical grey areas, such as astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints or using SEO tactics to game the system and influence results, there are also ethical forms of reputation management, such as responding to customer complaints, asking sites to take down incorrect information and using online feedback to influence product development.”

Often, it is best to be open and responsive whenever possible; as this can be the best way to get your own message across while increasing exposure for your business. Personally, I have a friend who is in charge of a local restaurant and received a high profile negative review that was posted (and later re-posted) on several social media websites. Before she knew it, diner levels had dropped while even the most loyal regulars inquired about the reason behind the “poor service.” Rather than getting upset about the criticism, she took it to heart, offered an apology to the reviewer, met with staff, and implemented changes before the situation got out of hand. Unfortunately this resulted in one long-time waiter losing his job, but it turned out the experience wasn’t isolated to a single reviewer and that customers had been “putting up with the bad attitude for years.” By acknowledging a problem, the restaurant owner was able to quickly assuage the hurt feelings of returning diners and even attracted new business thanks to time-tested menu selections.

The Individual

But what should be done in cases where social media and other methods are used to ruin an individual’s reputation? Believe it or not, this happens for reasons that many of us would not deem pertinent. For example, “x-person” offended someone else through written or verbal words, or another person may get the royal negative treatment for actions that may not have been initially thought of as harmful. When these circumstances arise, seeing your name at the top of search engines tagged along with negative feedback can go a long way to damaging one’s self esteem and can even ruin a career.

So from this point forward, our aim here will be to publish content on turning a negative into a positive – for both corporate and personal situations. Although some go as far as to hire expensive consulting services to mend fences, proper measures can often be taken with little or even no overhead.

Thanks for taking the time to read through our introductory article. We look forward to communicating more of our insight and knowledge here at Reputable.com.