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Posts tagged ‘business’

14
Apr

A REPUTATION VACCINE?

You would think that surely there has to be a vaccination for all of this online complaining. After all, Western culture demands a quick solution for every malady that we encounter.

Certainly some smart, academically advanced scholarly type has offered a suggestion. Surprise… Of the following, which one do you think is untouched by online complaint sites such as Ripoff Report?

  1. Doctor reputation
  2. Cosmetic surgeon reputation
  3. Hospital reputation
  4. Nursing home reputation
  5. Dentist reputation
  6. Chiropractic reputation

Answer: None of the above.

And then there’s attorney reputations. Just try searching the term “bad attorney” or go to the blog attorneys-suck. If that vocation can’t find protection, then how about car dealerships, rmoving companies or day care centers? There is a single truth for all companies–and for that matter all individuals–within the reach of the Internet. Anyone can post anything at anytime. No pill, vaccine or magic solution exists.

But there are three things that can be done. First, be aware of what search engines find when your name and/or the name of your business are searched. Second, take advantage of free listings and social sites and third, if you find something negative or bad information on a complaint site like Ripoff Report, then pro-actively fight it.

There are firms such as our company, Reputation Advocate that can do this work, or you can expand your own knowledge and do it yourself. One way or the other you end up either dealing with it, or living with it. Those are the only two options available.

There is a fourth action that you must take. Do not avoid the illness, but face the Internet head on. Remember the old proverb, “An ounce of prevention is better then a pound of cure?” It has never been more true.

-Steven Wyer

1
Apr

OBAMA RESCUE WON’T WORK

When a villain openly attacks, it’s highly unlikely that rescue will arrive at that moment of desperate need–and that includes a rescue by our Super Prez Barack Obama.

As I write, a computer virus is building a head of steam that promises to hit many businesses–and they may never see it coming. Almost all companies run anti-virus software to prevent their networks from being “hacked”. Today, the eyes of the IT world are glued on global computer networks, waiting to see what effect the Conficker virus will have on up to 15 million computers that may have been infected since last autumn. Conficker finds vulnerable computers and automatically disables security services and blocks access to anti-virus websites. This is one bad worm. I define this as cyber-terrorism, would you agree?

Now, what about cyber-terrorism that defines itself as identifying vulnerable websites and disabling their ability to effectively market through ecommerce? How could this happen? Simply.

Online corporate reputation may be the most vulnerable point of impact that companies face today. While almost all businesses connected to the Internet are vigilant about anti-virus software updates, analytics and impressions, few consider what can be done to damage a corporate reputation by ensuring that routine online search results return negative, slanderous and in some cases even libelous results.

It is estimated by industry insiders that by the end of 2010, criminals will routinely use the Internet to actually extort payments from companies. Nonpayment could result in a type of cyber-terrorism that few have considered. Alright, alright, you say. This is a far-fetched idea, a kind of doomsday scenario. The question for consideration is this: If you knew it was coming, what–if anything–would you do about it?

There is one simple answer. Get a firm grip on your company’s online reputation. Persistent monitoring and intervention is the only current solution that I am aware of. The best way to counteract negative postings is to do it with positive information that has greater credibility. Consistently scanning and evaluating for online reputation attacks is the proactive approach of defense.

Absent Homeland Security, we common people cannot look to SuperPrez for our solution. We must protect and defend ourselves in the real world. There is no bailout or rescue for this type of crisis.

–Steven Wyer, Reputation Advocate

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30
Mar

DELL HELL

Learn from a big business experience. Do you remember a phenomenon referred to in the media as “Dell Hell”?

Dell Hell resulted because a single person–who happened to be a blogger–had a very bad experience. Jeff Jarvis was upset with Dell Computers. In true blogger style he documented his experience on a blog and word quickly spread to the point where it was covered in print by Business Week magazine.

Dell, however, failed to respond to his rant and so his bad customer experiences continued as did the negative comments on the blogosphere. And what happened next was hell for Dell. Their reputation worldwide suffered enormous damage. A coveted reputation for great customer service turned quickly into fodder for late night television humor.

The cost not just to their reputation, but also to shareholder value, was astounding. A study reported on responsesource.com showed that Dell sustained long-term damage to its brand and that the culprits for the poor reputation of Dell’s customer services were bloggers!

So, what can you do? If an online mention is negative, but true, then find a conduit to present your side of the story and try as hard as you can to keep it offline. A phone call, a meeting, or if need be a letter, are all viable. If you are civil, the author may consider removing the post or at least adding information that will help you.

Beyond this, step back and get a plan so that you aren’t caught off guard again. Utilize blogs, forums and social online networks to present information about you, your company or your family that reflect true character. Unless the bad publicity and false information is countered, the assumptions that will be made are likely to cause you long-term injury.

And you may never know exactly just how. Most people simply “google” someone, look at the information on the first page and then draw their own conclusions without verifying the source. By proactively addressing bad information, you can protect your online reputation now and in the future.

–by Steven C. Wyer

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24
Mar

BE HUMBLE

Before you can recover from an online attack you have to be aware that you can be attacked.

Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, celebrity or a working professional, bad information on the Internet can exist without you even knowing it’s there. If Dell, Apple, JetBlue and national figures with deep pockets are touchable, then you are touchable. Bad publicity can destroy a good reputation.

An online attack cannot be prepared for by simply using conventional weapons. It is a new day and you must accept that you are probably not prepared. Recently, as I was explaining the business of Reputation Advocate to a group of business people, a comment was made to the affect of “I’m sure glad I don’t need that type of help”. You guessed it, within a few days my phone rang and it was the person who made the comment; they had found bad information on the Internet and they were in need of assistance. With sites like ripoffreport.com, no one is safe.

ReputationAdvocate.com can assist individuals, professionals such as doctors, dentists and financial service professionals, as well as private and public companies in defending themselves against misinformation and negative publicity on search engines such as Google.

The first line of defense in reputation management is humility.

–Steven Wyer

21
Mar

GOOGLE IS A REPUTATION ENGINE

Would you like a coke? Do you need a bandaid? Do you have a jacuzzi in your home? If you want to find something just google it!

Most everyone knows that Google is a search engine. So are Yahoo, MSN and a dozen lesser known search platforms. But no one, and I mean no one, has the power that Google does. How many times have you heard someone say “just google it”? Some terms have integrated into our culture and a specific brand ends up defining an entire business category.

Now the real concern: anything can be googled. The whole method for people evaluating and making decisions has moved online. Just stop and think: medical services, daycare, plumbing, schools, churches, cars, banks and financial services can all be evaluated online before a decision is made.

If it is true for products and services, think for a moment about you, your family and your job. Bad information, negative search results and complaint sites such as ripoffreport.com combine to create a whole new level of concern. I am told that more then half of all headhunters evaluate potential clients by “googling” them before accepting an assignment.

Single people looking for relationships through social websites; don’t you think that information is sought out before having that first encounter? Civic organizations, school acceptance, scholarships and even your child’s social life can all be impacted by a simple point and click. Your online reputation can be affecting your current life and impacting your future without your even knowing it.

Professionals such as dentists, lawyers and doctors are not the only segments of society that are impacted. Take a moment to consider how bad online publicity can impact all the areas of your professional and personal life. Making a decision to retain a company like ReputationAdvocate to protect your reputation is a positive, proactive approach to defending your good name.

–Steven Wyer

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