The DIY Trend Of Reputation Management

OnlySearch Engine Optimization a couple of years ago, the term Search Engine Optimization (commonly referred to as SEO) struck quite a bit of fear into even the most experienced business owners along with many individuals who were seeking to affect search engine results. That trend has quickly gone more towards a Do It Yourself method; tasking those same people to help themselves by using easy to understand concepts in an effort to have a more positive impact on relevant data published throughout social media sites, blogs and review hubs.

Perhaps the main driving factor behind the DIY trend is the exorbitant costs that many so-called SEO specialists have charged clients over the years. Granted, there is definitely a value in ground work performed by a company in an effort to make negative feedback on an individual or company less relevant in search rankings. However, the data compilation and entry necessary in order to make one’s online reputation much more positive rarely justifies dumping tens of thousands of dollars (which is grossly over budget for a large percentage of those interested in altering their online reputation) into the project.

Do It Yourself Reputation Management

One of the most frequent complaints that I’ve seen from companies and individuals when it comes to online data that relates to them is false or misleading information posted on a website. Yes, there are plenty of negative reviews and comments on the Web that are worthwhile and important for the general public to be aware of, yet generic entries such as “This business stinks” or “this person is bad” that provide no additional information are usually a culprit when it comes to lowering a larger audience’s perception of your company or person.

Instead of shelling out a lot of dough and asking a large reputation management company to take care of lowering the importance of these posts for you, it might be a good idea to look into ways you can improve search engine results on your own. The task may prove to be tedious; but it’s nothing a person with a rudimentary understanding of how online perception works can’t handle. All you have to do as an individual or Public Relations officer is take the time to get to know the proverbial “method behind the madness.”

Hands-On Experience

This often begins with one’s willingness to sign up to free online services such as Google Alerts to find out what is being published online. Without having to pay any amount of money, you can receive updates directly to your email Inbox whenever new information about you or your company is posted online. You can also request that the service only send you notifications on News entries, blog posts, discussions, videos, etc. Once you have subscribed to the service, you can much more easily (and thoroughly) monitor data that is being published; allowing you to respond to negative reviews, incorrect information and even work on lowering the search ranking importance of unwanted entries in a timely fashion.

Responding to legitimate negative reviews can be one of the most important factors in changing public perception throughout social media sites and review hubs such as Yelp. The reason for this is that many potential customers genuinely appreciate it when a representative of a company takes the time to address and issue and work towards improving its service. Bluntly speaking, this measure is well worth the time invested.

Another tactic that should be immediately employed is claiming your brand online. Business directories and review sites are generally reasonable in allowing firms to claim their own data online once they have identified themselves properly; plus this step improves relations with the sites themselves as well as their traffic.

Overpaying for reputation management work is something that is quickly going by the wayside thanks to more reliable tools as well as the need to stay within budget. It is our aim here at to provide our readers with as much information as possible on how to avoid paying too much to perform SEO tasks by doing much of the work yourself.

How Companies Currently Manage Their Reputation

RegardlessReputation Management of whether you are the owner of a small business or an official public relations officer for a large publicly traded firm, the concept of reputation management has grown in popularity in lock-step with the rise of social media. In today’s virtual environment where opinions can be broadcast to a large audience with a few taps of a mobile device, it is common for collectivized opinions to dominate search rankings, which can greatly affect a product’s reputation even if the criticism or insight was not originally intended to do so. Depending on the search rankings of any given website, a company could quickly find itself in the spotlight for something as small as a poor customer review at a local restaurant or a bad customer support experience that an everyday consumer received when seeking assistance.

Because of this, it has become increasingly important for firms to stay on top of consumer opinions and even monitor them in real time. Like it or not, being one of the “first to know” can save a business from a viral outbreak of bad publicity while at the same time enabling public relations efforts that could save quite a bit of negative bottom line exposure in the long run.

Google Alerts

One of the most common tools currently being used by companies to immediately find out what is being said about a particular brand is Google Alerts. This search feature allows individuals and firms to discover new content that satisfies certain keyword queries within a database and can send the alerts to any valid email address worldwide. Has a blogger recently published feedback on your business? Or perhaps a news article regarding your latest product launch has found its way to the virtual airwaves. Regardless of the content and its perspective, you can be notified of news and content as it happens; taking away much of the “element of surprise” that comes with being caught off guard by an emerging story that is getting a large amount of views.

Of course, being active on other social media sites such as Facebook, Yelp and others can greatly increase your firm’s chances of being directly in touch with the end consumer. Having a dedicated page on Facebook for example can give your PR representatives an opportunity to interact with any individual or company that has a complaint to levy. While some are uncomfortable with this concept due to its “public” nature, the technique has become a fact of life for those who wish to avoid negative publicity or at least respond to it in a timely fashion. At the very least, being aware of a bad review can give executives valuable time to come up with a strategic response and plan of action beforehand; rather than waiting until negative feedback has gone viral.

Reputation Management Services

One website that specifically works with companies to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to manage their reputation is On its homepage, the website states that “in basic terms, online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of giving people and businesses full control over their online search results. As the internet grows and technology progresses, protecting your good name may feel like a daunting task. To combat negative press, rip off reports, social media attacks,forum posts and other negative search results pertaining to your name or business, you need a leader in online reputation management with time-tested results.”

In many cases, simple steps taken by companies can ultimately save a lot of time and money – without the need to consult professional services offered online. By using free tools available to anyone with a computer and reliable internet connection, company reps can relate directly to clientele in an effort to improve overall relations as well as revenue.

Summarizing Reputation Management Services

RegardlessGone Viral Sign of whether you’re an individual who would like to use social media and other tactics to get a step ahead of the competition in a job search or a business looking to improve its image and branding while reaching a large audience, there is certainly no shortage of services out there to assist the consumer. But how do reputation management companies go about their business of improving relationships between a firm and its consumers or cleaning up a personal resume that could be plagued by high ranking negative searches? The answer lies in a variety of tactics that range from entering positive and/or correct data to press releases.

Reputation Management Services

A recent article published this week by outlines whether or not reputation management services are worth the dough. “People who sign up with sites like BrandYourself and receive different services based on the packages and tools that they choose,” the articles states. “For example, do-it-yourself products, which allow you to submit up to three links for search engine optimization and tracking advice, are free through BrandYourself. Meanwhile, the premium option costs $80 per year, and lets you submit an unlimited number of links to be optimized. There’s even a $199 per-month concierge service—you’re basically hiring someone to do the work for you, like removing addresses and phone numbers from the web.”

Indeed, a quick look at the services offered by shows that customers can gain access to free software that allows them to track keywords (such as their name) across the most popular search engines to ensure that entries are current, correct, and not of a negative nature. The firm’s premium concierge and web tools service deals with more complicated issues in cases where an article or entry remains high on search ranking engines and offers a customized strategy for dealing with such instances. “We believe you should be able to control your own online reputation without any price barrier, so our plans will help you no matter what your situation,” says. explains that “the internet is an open forum that allows anyone to make comments about you or your business – whether they are true or not. Negative content from online articles, blogs, and inaccurate reviews can appear almost instantaneously and you may not even realize that you have a problem and once this content gets online, it can almost never be deleted. Because today the first impression of you or your business is made online, negative material in search results can have an immediate impact on your business and your livelihood.”

DIY Tips For Reputation Management

Although these services can offer peace of mind and customized assistance, there are plenty of do-it-yourself tools that an individual or company executive have at their disposal when taking on negative content that is ranking high on search engines. For one, a person can set up a name alert at Google Alerts that will notify an individual instantaneously when a keyword appears online.

Filling out your own social media profile on sites such as Facebook and Twitter can go a long way toward letting potential employers or customers find out more about you or your products without having to search for review articles. Social media has become so important in today’s technology age that it has become commonplace for employers to pour over details of a prospective hire before making a final decision. At times, it could be a wise idea to stay away from extremely polarizing comments and views, but of course that should remain in the hands of the individual who owns the account to decide what is most appropriate to post. Just remember that a large audience could potentially view your social media profile.

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, 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 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’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 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.’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 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.