Top 3 Threats to Your Online Reputation
As we’ve seen over the past decade or so, online reputation plays a major role in public perception of individuals and the financial performance of companies and brands. While a positive online reputation can do wonders for an emerging brand, it takes only the tiniest bit of negative publicity to snowball a client’s online reputation in the opposite direction. Here are three of the most imminent threats to your clients’ online reputation:
By far the most common source of online PR issues for companies and brands, negative reviews can impact financial performance in a major way. While established brands may be able to weather the storm of a few negative reviews, a low rating on sites such as Yelp and Urban Spoon can utterly sink a small business. Unfortunately for small businesses, responding inartfully to a negative review often produces a Streisand Effect and may actually increase the prominence of the negative review. Instead of fueling the fire of negative reviews, small businesses should encourage their loyal customer base to post positive reviews of their products and services. Negative reviews should only be responded to with caution and care.
Large companies and brands often employ a team of dedicated PR professionals who carefully craft a professional image on various online platforms. At its best, a PR department coordinates its efforts and only speaks on behalf of the brand at all times. Mistakes do happen, however, and the effects can be disastrous. It only takes a few seconds for a team member to accidentally log in to the corporate Facebook page and post something embarrassing. Considering how difficult it is to take something back once it has been posted, managers should always be wary of internal breakdowns, especially in public-facing departments such as marketing and PR.
In the online marketplace, brand identification can be a tricky thing. Especially for lesser-known brands, it is incredibly important for consumers to have clear, easy access to the proper websites. Certain companies have been known to snatch up domain names similar to their competitors which they can use to confuse customers or even post negative content. Many companies take a pre-emptive approach to doppelgänger domains by purchasing all domains related to their brands and products. When it comes to doppelgänger domains, a small investment up front can save a major headache down the road.
About the Author
Chris Sundermeier is General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for Reputation.com. He comes to the company after representing various Silicon Valley Internet and technology companies for more than a decade as a litigation partner at Cooley LLP. There, Chris focused on disputes involving complex commercial contracts and technology agreements, securities, fiduciary duty, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property.
Mr. Sundermeier graduated magna cum laude with his law degree from Boston College, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Sundermeier taught philosophy at multiple universities and colleges around New York City while working on a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Fordham University. He also holds an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from Creighton University.
Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with Reputation.com.