January 07, 2016
Reputation management is the practice of monitoring the reputation of an individual or brand on the Internet, addressing content, which is potentially damaging to it, and using customer feedback solutions to get feedback or early warning signals to reputation problems.
Most of reputation management is focused on pushing down negative search results
Google search results are the primary target of reputation management efforts. Some of the tactics used by reputation management firms include the following:
Improving the tagging and search engine optimization of company-published materials, such as white papers and positive customer testimonials in order to push down negative content.
Publishing original, positive websites and social media profiles, with the aim of outperforming negative results in a search. Submitting online press releases to authoritative websites in order to promote brand presence and suppress negative content. Submitting legal takedown requests if someone believes they have been libeled. Getting mentions of the business or individual in third-party sites that rank highly in Google.
Creating fake blogs pretending to be a different person that shares the same name in order to push down negative search results on the actual person or brand.
Using spam bots and denial-of-service attacks to force sites with damaging content off the web entirely. Proactively offering free products to prominent reviewers.
Proactively responding to public criticism stemming from recent changes.
The practice of reputation management raises many ethical considerations.
There is no agreement within the industry on where to draw the line on issues of disclosure and censorship. Firms have been known to hire staff to pose as bloggers on third party sites without disclosing they were paid, and some have been criticized for asking websites to remove negative posts. In some instances, the act of unethical reputation management can itself be risky to the reputation of the firm, if their tactics to hide negative information are exposed.
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