Online Reputation SCAMS – Part Two

We don’t sugar coat things here. The digital world is evolving at a tremendous rate and professionals of all kinds are struggling to maximize results.

This is part two of Online Reputation SCAMS. You don’t get many changes to “get it right” and it often feels like a brick upside your head when you “get it wrong.”

As a professional, it is amazing to continuously hear about companies that are charging anywhere between $19.95 and $25,000 a month to do online reputation work. At SMR, trying to compare what we do as expert consultants with advanced understanding of business and audience mechanics to an overseas worker who doesn’t speak English is often laughable.

It is often insulting as well.

We keep close track of other companies offering similar services. We would be hard pressed not to use our own competitive intelligence tools to review serious contenders in our market space.

Knowing your competition is common sense.

We also talk a lot to industry peers. There are some that we respect and others that we don’t. There are also ones that break common sense rules.

One such firm clearly states:
“The simple truth is our company was the first in the reputation business”

Really? The first? I smell something… this statement is right up there with “we created the internet”  There have been dozens (if not hundreds) of professionals involved with the origination of the reputation business. There are international council and associations, ranging from public relation pros to digital crisis experts. This is such an easy statement to disprove, that only the most unknowing person in the industry (aka the “victim”) would take it with merit.

The second statement
“is the only company that has a large group of techs solely dedicated to reputation work.”

Okay… I’ll bite. They must be using the term “large” to mean thousands of techs. Otherwise there are dozens of firms with teams ranging in size from 1 to 500 that deal with digital presence (aka online reputation)

The third statement:
“The $1500 package you have your own dedicated tech.”

Ouch. Can we say overseas help? Intern? You do the math. $1500 x 12 months is $18,000 yearly. Assuming a 25% business margin, the “dedicated tech” and support personnel involved are making less than $1k a month. As an executive, I don’t even like ordering fast food from someone making less than $1k a month. Knowing that they are underpaid, I know that I am not dealing with an expert… simply a high-school kid who is thinking about what songs he needs to download on his iPod.

Why is this a scam?
Well… they lied on two points (and a few others),
Let us look at the larger concept.

  • If we reduce online reputation simply to only include search engine problems, we are only addressing a very small fraction of a bigger problem.
  • If we hand over any portion of our executive and corporate reputation to someone who isn’t thinking about the big picture, we are handing the keys of success for our business lives to someone who doesn’t really care.
  • If we don’t educate ourselves to understand the online space, along with the professionals who affect it (co-workers, peers, industry influencers) – we are doomed to repeat mistakes.


Reputation and brand firms should be able to clearly describe how you business interacts in the online space. If you are dealing with issues as an individual, a firm should be capable of defining your social presence, possible points of interaction, areas of trouble you should address, points where you can successfully grow and methods for interconnecting your other business goals.

As a corporation: a firm should be able to do the same breakdown at the executive, management and worker levels; combining brand components from marketing and sales while knowing how to work with cross-departmental teams to define niche areas of opportunity within your company.