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.

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

Online Reputation Repair

Professional communicators have many names for it: Brand Management, Brand Preservation, Reputation Control, Public Relations, Identity Messaging. It all comes down to having a unified presence for your professional image. When people search online, they begin with the initial step of reviewing information about the “who, what, where” of your company and staff. The decision to do business with you may come down to a brutal but simple “thumbs up, or thumbs down”

This situation can be boiled down to one or two very simple questions: Do you remember a professional situation where you found out through a friend of a friend that some nasty rumor was floating around? What about the time you found out six months afterwards – or the time it seemed like everyone but you knew the rumor?

While the online world is transforming business, it is also transforming the way potential customers, employers, employees, and mainstream media is finding out information about your business. The blogosphere has begun transforming search engines into conversations about your reputation.

Many businesses understand the value of showing up for a beneficial keyword such as “New York Real Estate,” but what happens when your business shows up for “Real Estate Fraud” because an unsatisfied client or unscrupulous competitor managed to get a story to show up under searches for your company name?

When such reputation nightmares happen, companies face the challenge of removing those negative results off the first few pages of the search engines or with getting information out there that provides a balanced dose of positive articles. Unfortunately it is often impossible to get a negative article removed from search engine results, but it is possible to make sure that it is hard to get information to show up instead.

Here are ten recommendations for establishing a healthy presence and reputation on the search engines.

1. Make sure your own Web site shows up.

This may sound like a no-brainer, but unfortunately I’ve seen several $25k sites that don’t even show up in the search engines for the proper name of the business or the executive team. Do not trust your Web designer when they say your Web site shows up. Check yourself. Try doing a search for your company name and brand, along with the personal names and brands of the people on your team.

2. Buy the domains that are important to your business.

When you created your site, sounded great. How about your personal name How about your Domains cost less than $10 a year each, so spending an extra $20 to $100 dollars a year could be a very worthwhile investment if you plan on having control of your brand. If properly setup all those extra domains provide a sure-fire way to have your main business site show up on a variety of names that are important to you.

3. Start a blog.

You have, but how about buying as a blog? You can use popular blogging software such as to create an almost free blog attached to your current Web site. By providing fresh and weekly content to the blog, the articles in it will show up on various long-tail keyword phrases for your company name. After a few months you will have multiple results whenever someone searches for your company.

4. Use sub-domains.

If you really do not want to budget for buying individual domains, try sub-domains on your primary domain. Most hosting services allow you to have multiple free sub-domains such as Sub-domains are treated as individual sites in the eyes of the search engines and have almost as much power as the primary domain. By adding a few pages of information to sub-domains such as biography, careers, location, and team, you can add dozens of results for searches to find your information.

5. Use social media accounts on other sites.

There are literally dozens of social media sites out there that can be used to create free profiles that show up for your company name.,, and offer free profiles that show up in the search engines. When you are given the choice of creating a profile name or adding a title to the account, think carefully about the exact phrase you want to be found under and try to utilize your company’s most common name.

6. Grow a social media site.

Search engines love constantly growing and evolving information. By starting your own forum or social media community, you can provide the search engines with new pages of information under your company name every time one of your users creates a new page or comment on your social media system.

7. Check out pay-per-click ads.

While I almost never endorse paying for pay-per-click advertising, you may find someone has decided to spend the $1 a click to advertise why they hate you on your own name or for the terms that drive business to you. There are ways of requesting this advertising cease by contacting the search engine, and if you spot something on your own name make sure you click it once or twice… you’ll find some quick comfort knowing you just cost the person a few dollars.

8. Use free directory profiles.

There are literally hundreds of free directories online. Google, Yahoo, and Superpages are all examples of sites with free directory profiles. In addition to having the benefit of being found by the search engines, having profiles on these directories is a way of being found by fairly substantial user communities. After creating the profiles, be ready for the follow-up sales call looking to offer you a lot of fairly useless advertising enhancements.

9. Volunteer your information and expertise on other sites.

The blogging world is always looking for fresh information. If you have a recent article or viewpoint to share, contact a local blogger or newspaper. Good information is always newsworthy, and it is usually fairly easy to get information published about a local community event you are sponsoring.

10. Use video.

You may be saying “but I don’t have a $5k budget to waste on fancy video.” Don’t listen to your budget! It doesn’t take a huge budget to put on a business suit and find a decent backdrop to take a quick thirty second video of your office. Even a casual video on YouTube under your company name is a hundred times better than an aggressive attack from an opinionated critic.

There are hundreds of other ways that can be tied together into a solid foundation for your business reputation and brand. Depending on the goals of your business, the above points can be integrated into search engine marketing plans to drive SEO results, to aid specific business projects, coordinate affiliated business partners, or even to establish your own business community. Taking a few minutes to examine and detail your current situation and the goals of your brand is essential to safe-guarding a company’s future. Understanding what people find when they search for your company name and how they interact with that information is critical to making sure that searchers find the information you want them to.