Online Reputation, articles from our founder

In addition to some of the exclusive content here @ Social Media Reputation, our founder’s blog has a variety of informational articles covering the crossroads of online privacy, reputation management, and corporate risk. He deals with a variety of elements that touch within these three spheres, while also looking at the benefit points within each.

If you would like us to review a specific reputation management item or dive deeper into one of these issues, simply contact us and we’ll take a look at it! You can also follow our tweets @ceoreputation

  • Online Privacy and our Digital Crisis – there is so much data created, shared, collected, and sold about us as individuals that we all need to take more responsibility for.
  • Corporate Reputation on Complaint Sites – businesses spend a huge amount of effort creating on-going reputations, but new ‘net savvy’ businesses are using complaint sites to steal brand traffic and cause significant damages.
  • Reputation Management and Work Life Balance – tired of having a split personality online? this article talks about the details and reasoning behind a personal and professional online presence.
  • Avvo Ratings, why lawyers and doctors should be scared – attorneys and doctors are low-hanging “SEO Fruit” to own online. Find out how different professional niches are being targeted by new online business models to steal online brand traffic that includes prospects, clients, employees, and more.

If you have any questions about digital brand or reputation management, please feel free to use the comments below or share some questions via e-mail.

Hotel Reputation, TripAdvisor being targeted to comply

Destination owners who are suffering from hotel reputation problems caused by TripAdvisor and similar review sites may have a light showing up at the end of the tunnel.

KwikChex (a  U.K. based online monitoring service) released a press release targeting negative reviewers, saying that it plans to publish a list of suspects that are fraudulent and defamatory.

While this sounds like a good step forward against complaint sites that affect business, we are just beginning to see a round of industry centric lawsuits regarding online reputation. In August Google was ordered to name anonymous online bullies. This further defined precedent cases for online slander and libel in the U.S., while opening up other international conversations like those involving TripAdvisor.

Chris Emmins, Co-founder of KwixChex – is leading a legal challenge in the U.K. that has amassed 800+ properties and how TripAdvisor affects hotel reputation.

The reality is that this ‘trend’ is costing the hotel industry millions of dollars.
(as we previous covered in Hotel Reputations, search brand value under attack )

According to Tnooz Travel Tech Talk, Chris had confirmed several aspects of the case being brought fourth:

  1. Cases based on TripAdvisor allegedly being responsible for misrepresenting standards/quality of businesses that its systems have singled out.
  2. Cases where serious allegations have been made that have been supposedly supported by TripAdvisor by means of a pop-up stating: “This review was written by a trusted member of the TripAdvisor community”. Kwikchex claims this is an endorsement.
  3. Court action to disclose information on identities of posters making defamatory comments.

TripAdvisor is fighting back on hotel reputation, issuing “red boxes” against hotels that attempt to manipulate review results –

“TripAdvisor has reasonable cause to believe that individuals or entities associated with or having an interest in this property may have interfered with traveller reviews and/or the popularity index for this property. We make our best efforts to identify suspicious content and are always working to improve the processes we use to assess traveller reviews.”

This is just the beginning, not the end

While companies like KwikChex are moving forward to target negative hotel reputation and review sites, such properties have a list of rights and protections regarding free speech. Outside of hotel reputation issues, complaint sites such as RipoffReport and have both managed to win court cases defending negative commentary.

Businesses dealing with hotel reputation or online reputation management issues need to be aware that legal systems are decades behind our web usage trends.
There are few (if any) up-to-date laws regarding the specifics of how internet conversation is monitored, managed and regulated.

As new laws are written, it is fairly common to see ‘web enabled’ companies like TripAdvisor have pre-existing migration paths to newer methodologies that are NOT covered by current legal decisions.

This effectively places web content companies in a continual 18 to 60 month process gap that regulating and legal groups cannot catch up with. (it is the very nature of many web content business models to target business models that have undefined business opportunities and little existing precedent.)

If you know of any hotel reputation problems worth checking out, leave a comment below or tweet us @ceoreputation

Reputation Management and Internet Privacy articles

In recent reputation management and internet privacy conversations, we are seeing an increased trend in users and corporations going head to head. These recent articles give a good perspective on some recent debate points that CEOs and executives should be reviewing:

Facebook to Simplify Privacy Controls : Facebook is simplifying its privacy controls amid growing unrest from many of its users. Protesters have been organizing campaigns to quit Facebook and privacy groups have complained to regulators after Facebook announced new features last month, including “instant personalization” that tailors other websites to users’ Facebook profiles.

Senate Preps Online Policy for Candidates: Lawmakers voted Tuesday to establish rules for candidates using Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites, making Maryland one of the first states in the nation to regulate the increasingly popular means of campaigning. Starting two weeks from now, candidates must begin including an authority line — a declaration of approval that lists their campaign treasurer — on the social networking sites run by their campaigns.

Senate Preps Regulation for Online Privacy:  A Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on online privacy Tuesday will focus on technologies used to collect and use consumer information and could help lay the groundwork for legislation governing those practices.

Facebook Launches User Safety Page: Facebook doesn’t aspire to the status of a nation state. All its users are citizens of other countries with their own governments, police forces and armies. Yet given Facebook’s immense scale, it’s not surprising the social networking site feels it shares responsibility for the safety of its users.

Hotel Reputation 101, follow-up offline

Many hotels and destination resorts are being plagued by guest reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Travelpost – many hoteliers are wondering “what should I do next?”

The answer revolves around two simple points:

  • practice good customer service
  • search engine optimization is not always your friend

As a business owner or staff member, if you can keep these two points front-of-mind… then you are a lot farther to saving your sanity and protecting your business.  Read more

Hotel Reputations, search brand value under attack

The hotel and travel industry is suffering from one of the most aggressive issues of online brand and reputation attack, which is rooted firmly around the value of hotel brands and search phrases.

This is seen within primary search results, where 80% or more of branded search traffic on keywords directly related to a hotel’s brand are stolen by directory and trip review sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Priceline, Hotwire,, and TravelPost. There are dozens of smaller sites and sub-properties involved in this marketplace attrition model, high-lighting an ongoing and growing problem.

Needless to say, that this is a monumental issue.

If we want to apply real world numbers to this problem, we can establish a baseline value of traffic redirected by encroaching on branded terms by looking at the monthly unique traffic of the top travel sites dealing with hotels and comparing those numbers against the percentage of traffic originating from search engines.

The chart below list some of the top sites involved in leeching off organic traffic through brand related hotel terms: Read more

Reputation Insurance, why it makes good sense

Like any asset, there are hundreds of unforeseen risks that are associated with online reputation. A common viewpoint shared by many business executives is that they don’t know how to gauge how virtually explosive different aspects of their business model are. If you don’t know what smoke is, you probably can’t justify cost of fire insurance.

The cost and risk are real.
(Let us use a little example below)

As the size of a business increases, an exponential multiplier of risk is applied to the digital model:

  • more consumers increase opinionated reviews
  • more employees increase HR related violations
  • more marketplace share increases chance of competitive arson
  • exposure to social networks increases chance of
    • confidential leaks and privacy disclosure (family, friends, bedroom talk.)
    • ethical misbehavior (executive compensation, regulation violations)
    • employee / x-employee complaints (unions, disgruntled employees)

Read more

Reputation Toolbox, tools for online professionals

Just a few years ago, the traditional business professional didn’t need to worry much about digital conversations said about them. In today’s modern marketplace, your online reputation controls many of your professional opportunities. So far that online reputation is overtaking the traditional credit score as a means to identify if you are a worthwhile business partner. *If you would like to read more detail, you can read this four page whitepaper about reputation value or my CEO blog article on reputation score vs credit fiasco.

With that said, this reputation toolbox is a collection of resources to help you establish, maintain and protect your “online reputation score.”

Why should you read this? My company provides online reputation management services to executives and corporations. We believe that a good online reputation company doesn’t hide behind dozens of secrets or manipulative strategies to keep clients in the dark: if a professional wants to self-train themselves on hundreds of overlapping technical points and spend hours refining an expertise as a digital reputation specialist… they can. Read more

Xfinity vs Comcast, No Reputational Escape?

Earlier this month (February  2010),  Comcast made the announcement of shifting over several products to a new brand: Xfinity. The downside to the brand revamp appears to be a spiral effect of news channel, industry critics, and industry peers passing along a series of criticisms trying to rebrand reputation.

Unfortunately it isn’t going so well for Xfinity. Starting with Reuters article “Comcast Seeks Reputation Change with Xfinity brand“, critic after critic is asking big questions about the rebrand effort.  In essence, the brand was not what was the target of the change (its reputation was.)

This is a digital issue we have covered before (Supermedia, Idearc, Verizon, and GTE) , as companies continue to re-brand business units in an attempt to fix areas of concern in online reputation and real world business issues.

A core problem of these rebrand efforts is the digital portion, where conversations connect old brands to new brands, along with some related problems on the side of search engine results. Read more

Executive Reputation – digital trust in the enterprise

Reputation is a growing concern for executives at many enterprise organizations. To help understand the wide range of impacts that reputation has on both an individual and corporate level, you must consider both a “top down” and “bottom up” effect.

We also have to keep in mind that the nature of healthy reputation relies on the ability for those “in the know” to pass along the correct information to the correct audience. Without having a mechanism in place to highlight success points and positive messages, the resulting absence of information creates a vacuum that is filled with the loudest voices (not always supportive or even correct.) Read more

5 tools for Free Reputation Management

Everyone wants to keep up with the digital conversation and know what people are saying about you through blogs and twitter. You need to be proactive in listening to conversations that are important to you.

There are three basic components of reputation management:

  1. Listening to the conversation (read this article!)
  2. Being proactive and highlighting your information with professional information (read profiles for professionals & executive URLs, personal domains)
  3. Getting involved in the conversation (check out executive branding & online reputation)

Before venturing into your effort, we need to identify a list of things you want to monitor. We don’t want to waste time or energy focusing on the wrong things. Read more