With more than 10,500 financial service companies out there, professionals are more exposed than ever to the backlash of negative online reputation damage. When words such as “scam”, “fraud”, “thief” or “criminal” are even casually mentioned in the context of a financial services entity, the company almost always takes a hit to the bottom line.
These comments are not to be confused with information on sites managed by state agencies or federal government and regulator sites such as the SEC and FINRA. Nearly every state provides a site to file either a formal or informal complaint against those involved in financial services. Many of these sites provide online forms and even extend office hours for convenience. If services provided fall within the broad definition of insurance then each state has an insurance commissioner to oversee such regulated businesses.
You’ve done everything experts recommend to keep your Twitter feed private. You’ve protected your Tweets and you’re careful to only accept follow requests from people you’ve verified. You’re free to post anything you want, safe in the knowledge that no one outside of your small group of followers will ever see it.
Or will they?
Reputation Advocate http://www.reputationadvocate.com recognizes that Twitter can provide a level of comfort for users who forget strangers, friends, and even employers might be watching. In fact, tweets might show up in search results years after they’re posted, staying out there to haunt posters for many years to come. Until recently, people have assumed these tweets would eventually have an expiration date, but the U.S. Library of Congress’ project to catalog tweets on a server for posterity has many realizing the lasting power of comments posted on the Internet. Read more
I like speaking in metaphor. Because I learn visually, getting word pictures in my mind helps me retain knowledge. This past week, I was reminded of a sermon I heard that provides a good word picture for me. In this spiritual teaching, my friend shared how we–both as a race of people and individually–wake up to find ourselves in places we never dreamed we would be.
His perspective is that for most of us, life begins in a place of relative peace. Loved and sheltered, we are not confronted with the hard realities of life. Think of this as Eden, a place of safety and goodness. At some point, however, we all lose our Eden. There is a point where we are confronted with a greater reality that is far less perfect. Hopefully, we accept life with a level of resolve and move forward. For most of us that shift represents a move from “A” to “B”. It’s a small move, but it is required in order to function, to deal with the new reality as it is coming at us. We seldom define this minute shift as good or bad. Read more
With Google’s most recent changes to its local listings functions, users are once again left to figure out exactly what it all means. For the small business owners dependent on local reviews, stars, smiley faces and other rating indications this may be one of the most frustrating aspects of using the Internet as a core-marketing tool.
An attempt to understand basic concepts of search engine optimization (SEO) is daunting to most daily business users. Expanding on that platform in an endeavor to discuss local search and SEO quickly sends local businesses heading for the exits. Dozens of consultants, vendors, college students and friends-of-friends all offer to clarify exactly how to benefit from these various services and search algorithms – for a fee. In the middle stands small business. Owners who are focused on the challenges of day-to-day business understand that the Internet is changing the way business is done but have little time to learn a whole new set of skills. Read more
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!” [from the movie Network]
I love this movie for a lot of reasons. At the core of this speech lies the essence of how most people feel about online slander and blatant anonymous attacks. While we cannot rationally understand how an attack on us, our families, or our businesses can possibly be allowed by the government, we know that we are on our own.
The question always comes down to, “what do I do about it?” My answer is simple; start by getting mad as hell! Our culture’s apathy is obvious in the way that victims of online slander usually respond: worry, wring your hands and lose sleep. Carry guilt and shame because a friend or business associate may read something online and assume it is correct. Talk about it with friends or declare that it is so wrong to your spouse; none of it does any good.
There are very few things in life that can’t be altered. The question to answer is whether you’ve gotten mad enough at the situation to do something about it! Read more