Top 100: 4. Online reputation management

 
Sept. 12, 2011

The business of reputation management has undergone big changes in recent times and, once again, social media is at the heart of it. (See why social media is No. 1 on this list?) The interactive, real-time, user-generated environment leaves businesses' reputations more exposed than ever to customer comment, both good and bad, justified or not. Every interaction prompts consumers to voice an opinion on products and services, whether commenting on Foursquare when checking in at a hotel, discussing smartphones on Twitter or posting a long rant on their blog about the terrible service they received at a newly-opened restaurant.

An influx of negative news stories, blog posts or updates to open-source platforms such as Wikipedia can quickly send negative content to the top of a search engine's hit list. Moreover, brand equity, which can take years to build, can be unfairly colored or destroyed by anyone with an agenda and working knowledge of search engine algorithms.

Considering that 90 percent of users trust the first page of search engine results and rarely click deeper than the top ten, online reputation management is critical.

Companies such as Defendmyname.com have developed new programs to help companies combat negative links in major search engines. Defendmyname.com also is launching an online video educational system with tutorials on how to remove negative links from search engines, tips on search engine optimization to help push negative links further down the list and ways to utilize social media, video media and press release distribution to a company's benefit while protecting its reputation on the Web.

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Topics: Top 100 Retail


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