A Practical Guide to Online Reputation Management

Bloggers

Bloggers can have a powerful negative impact on your brand as the views of even a small blogger with few readers can potentially go ‘viral’ and be distributed to a large number of people in a short space of time through social sharing and voting sites like Digg, Stumbleupon and Reddit. Stories that pick up momentum on these sites are also likely to get picked up by more influential bloggers or even the mainstream press.

You can reply directly to most bloggers through comments on their post (where comments are enabled) however for serious allegations it is often better to attempt to make private contact with the blogger first before replying publically in the post comments. Most bloggers will have some way to contact them on their site, usually either a contact form or email address. Failing this you may be able to find an email for them by searching the whois[22] database- although the email address details on whois are not always accurate.

Ryanair provided a great example[23] of how not to respond to negative blog posts with their reaction to this post[24].

Ryanair negative blog post

Protecting your brand name online

Your brand name is your identity online; if people see something posted online under your brand name they will naturally assume you are responsible for it. However there are several ways competitors or individuals can slur your brand by creating online identities which appear to be operated by your organisation.

Typosquatting

Typosquatting (sometimes referred to as URL hijacking) refers to the practice of squatting on a domain name which is very similar to the official website of a well-known brand which is commonly misspelt. For example a typosquatter may try to buy a domain like yahooo.com to capture traffic when people mistype the yahoo.com domain name in their address bars.

As so many web users now access sites through Google searches rather than ever typing a domain name into their address bar typosquatting is talked about less than it used to be and is now less lucrative however it still goes on and it can portray a negative impression of your brand as in some cases visitors will not realise they are not on the official site.

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