Business Week Gets it Wrong on Online Reputation Management

Business Week‘s recent article, “Do Reputation Management Services Work?” creates many more questions in mind mind than it solves. There is a lot that is missing from this article.

I get that Business Week is a business publication and one that does not necessarily focus on technology, but there is a lot that they either gloss over and get wrong. I’ll be post a TON more on online reputation management in coming days, but one of the disturbing sentences is:

Most reputation services work by tracking what written about a client on a site, then doing search engine optimization.”

To me, this is the epitome of oversimplification. The article presents a “Google problem,” not a “reputational problem.” What about gauging the reach and impact of the source that offers a positive or negative opinion on your brand or your issue? What about, if the mention is bad, developing a methodology for response? When do you “go nuclear?” When do you engage third-parties? And how do you do it all in a transparent fashion, not screwing it up like Edelman and Wal*Mart did?

These are some of the questions that I plan to blog about beginning this weekend. The good news is that online reputation management is something that is reaching the mainstream conciousness of the business world. The bad news, in my humble opinion, can be summed up by the following words in the article:

ReputationDefender, a two-year-old Menlo Park (Calif.) company that mainly markets to individuals, plans to introduce a service for companies that would cost a one-time fee of a few hundred dollars, according to founder Michael Fertik.

<Shudder>.

More to come.

Mark

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