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Online Reputation Business Management

Apr 10, 2008
It only takes one irate customer with an internet connection to do serious damage to a company or individual's character and reputation. One unsubstantiated rumor can travel across blogs and forums and be spread worldwide in less than a day; damaging your credibility and the profit line of your business.

It is a regrettable aspect of human nature that so often people are credulous enough to believe anything they read without bothering to research the origins of the statements. To help combat this dangerous threat to a person's integrity an entire new business has developed to monitor one's online reputation management.

There are several ways to manage your reputation online. If you have a large business, it is a good business investment to hire an individual or professional service dedicated to researching for rumors and doing the required damage control when someone has tried to activate a smear campaign against you.

There are online tools that can help you track where damaging statements and innuendo's are flourishing on the web. Monitoring for your business strategic keywords on a regular basis is the first step in identifying developing problems. "Monitor This" at uckan is a good place to start. They allow regular searches for up to twenty-two keywords at a time. Bloglines and Google Reader make it easy to keep an RSS feed coming in to you with hourly results on any references to you and your business.

Monitoring and participating in relevant message boards and public forums is another method of keeping up with what people are saying about you and your company. It is also an excellent place to begin the process of correcting and debunking these rumors or unflattering comments. It is in your interest to always maintain and honest business to start with so that you will have some built-in sympathy from people familiar with you. Through monitoring such boards and forums you can quickly find what you need to pull out proof of your innocence and be able to post whatever needs to be shown to debunk the attacker's claims.

Researching for the individual leading these attacks can also aid in proving the rumor or complaint false. DomainTools and Whois can help you track who owns the blogs or websites that demean you and helps show what particular bias they may have for trying to trash your reputation. If you can prove the blog that is trying to destroy your good name and reputation is owned by a competitor, then you can easily backfire the situation on them and take the high ground of injured innocence.

However, you should not just jump online and start a shouting match with your detractor. Do some internal research into the matter first to make sure there is no legitimate reason for the complaint. If there is no data to support the attack, then present your defense with honesty and openness. If you discover that some slip-up have occurred then take the tack of helpful apology. Discuss the problem and what you are going to do to rectify it. Detail what actions you are willing to take to make your disgruntled customer happy with you and your business again.

Never use these venues to create "false profiles" and use these fictitious entities to try and debunk or shout down your detractors. Such practices are not difficult to expose and by doing so will only prove the original detraction but add another provable dishonesty to your account which will further destroy any credibility you might have had left.
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