Reputation Management has been growing in popularity for the past year. I’ve started to hear ads on the radio, see them on TV and I’ve started to get junk mail from them. Now they are running out of customers and they have started targeting small business owners. But what exactly to do they do? And, are they worth it for small business owners?
First, it’s important to point out that just about every post here has been about reputation management. Either proactive or reactive, reputation management online is the whole reason we are here. It’s incredibly important for every small business operator to have a solid understanding of where they stand online. How are their Google reviews? Yelp? Ripoffreport.com? Reputation management is about being aware of your online reputation and being aware of your options.
It startles some business owners to learn for the first time that customers have written reviews about them on yelp. It’s an extremely public forum and they have little to know control over it. It’s no wonder that reputation management companies have sprung up to take advantage of such a surprising truth of doing business in the Internet age, that anyone with a keyboard can have their message read by 1,000’s or even Millions of people.
But what exactly are reputation management companies offering? Because there are so many this isn’t a question that has just one answer. We can, however, share one tactic with you that we feel is Representative of the industry on the whole.
Ripoffreport.com is one of the oldest customer review sites on the Internet. It’s an amazing resource when investigating companies ethics. I value it over the BBB. It’s great because they have tools for business owners to respond and they take great pains to ensure that reviews are legitimate.
Many reputation management companies offered to “remove ripoffreports.com reviews within 30 days.” This should set off alarm bells to anyone that reads it. You should ask yourself “um, how?” Well, unethically of course! These companies found a black hat way to make reviews disappear. Basically, they hacked ripoff reports. Ripoff reports has since fixed the hole that allowed this to happen, but it illustrates the way that some of these companies operate.
Tomorrow we will talk about the most common reputation management tool and at that point you should be able to decide if it’s a service you actually need.