The Online Reputation Management Industry

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Reputation.com logo (Image from Google)

What do online management companies offer in terms of fixing their clients online reputation? How can we avoid a fate like Justine Sacco’, a social media user who tarnished her reputation with a single tweet. Some specific questions I hope to answer are; how can one stop others from slandering their reputation online? If somehow does mess up your reputation online, how much will it cost you? What sorts of additional services do these companies offer?

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Michael Fertik, creator of Reputation.com (Image from Peter DaSilva for The New York Times)

Sometimes what is said about ourselves online is not of our doing. So where can people go to stop others from slandering their online reputation? Reputation.com, a leader in the online reputation management industries, might have the answer. Michael Fertik, the CEO of the online reputation management company Reputation.com, says the primary goal of his website is to navigate through Google’s program to highlight positive content and to minimize harmful content for their clients.In an interview, Michael Fertik, answered some questions about what his website can do–in terms of fixing rid a damaged online reputation– for his customers, businesses and individuals. In the article the a reader had asked “How do you help companies protect their online reputations?” , Michael Fertik said his company had a procedure in which “they move their customers favorable content such as excellent reviews and promotions higher up in the search ranking, so the defaming material is less available”(Mount). However, if someone is deliberately and consistently defaming your reputation, Michael Fertik says, “that must first be taken up with law enforcement”(Mount). The next step then, as mentioned before, is to divert attention away from the slander on search engines by advertising and your positive assets. I think this is a useful technique because most people will not get past the second page when “googling” someone or something. So the best way to clean or maintain a clean digital profile for anyone is to put out positive and quality content on the Internet! The more quality content you put on the Internet (via your social media accounts or blogs), the better your online reputation looks.

Another question that I wanted to inquire was if someone did belittle your reputation online, how much is going to cost you? In an article addressing Representative Anthony Weiner’s lewd photo social media scandal, Michael Fertik stated “annual membership fee for his website is $99. Annual membership fee costs can easily reach $10,000 for a prominent person, like Anthony Weiner, who wanted to make a scandal harder to discover through Internet searches”(Sullivan). Fairfax Group, a risk and reputation management firm, can also suppress harmful information about their clients for a large sum of $500 to $1,000. If the client wants complete eradication of their information from the Internet, then it could wind up costing them thousands more. Thankfully though for the average person, who may suffer from an Internet bully or happened to make one ill thought tweet, ninety-nine dollars isn’t a bad price.

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uProtect.it’s Control Panel (Image from The New York Times)
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Social Monitoring’s Control Panel ( Image from The New York Times)

The last question that I tried to answer was; what other additional things do online management companies offer in terms of fixing or maintaining a client’s reputation online? Many people have information stolen by applications from their social media accounts and the information, may it be pictures or posts, can be used to defame someone.  Reputation.com in collaboration with Facebook has come out with an app, UProtect.it. Unsubscribe.com, another social media managing company, also came out with the app called Social Monitoring. Both apps are browser plugins and aim to monitor the privacy levels on social media accounts. UProtect.it and Social Monitoring assess what information is accessible to Facebook applications. They then assess if the apps are trustworthy if they are deemed not then UProtect.it and Social Monitoring flag the applications that are breaching your data.  Monitoring your online reputation is as easy as downloading an app.

With the world getting more and more digital, the online reputation industry is booming. It seems that online social management organizations are abundant and offer variety solutions regarding managing an online reputation. I’m looking forward to what more the online reputation industry will provide.

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