The online reputation of your business is central to its success. The internet and social media have made it possible for a small number of people to have incredible sway over how your business is perceived. With 93% of people agreeing that online reviews inform their buying decisions, businesses must use both good and bad feedback to improve their business and alleviate any customer concerns.
This is why modern businesses need online reputation management.
Everyone knows that Google already has way too much information about each of us. And some of it is very private and we'd rather it not be so public. We'd like an easy way to remove certain search results that invade our privacy.
But it's not just a privacy issue. Google's search results can do actual harm to careers and reputations even when the information revealed is misleading or false. Because of citizen complaints and the fact that the search results are not filtered to rule out potential harm, the EU has legislated a fix for the privacy issue where Google must remove upon request, search results that meet certain requirements. But in the US, Google search results often are damaging to individuals and businesses in ways that are completely unaddressable at the moment. Google is creating victims and often those victims have no recourse to correct the record.
It's very clear we need a legal mandate to require Google to provide a process for removing search results that cause harm or violate privacy.
The core function of online reputation management is to regain control over the conversation around your business. This involves outmatching any high-profile negative impressions with good ones, as you present a wealth of content across your channels to explain why these viewpoints are either completely misinformed or written in bad faith. By harnessing the power of your own social media platforms and website, you can carefully curate your brand’s online reputation with facts and thoughtful messaging.
Google's search results have harmed so many people that there are now vendors profiting from this pain by selling a solution - they claim they can hide those problem results.
If you have the money, usually at least $3,000 plus a monthly fee you can buy help. An entire industry of online reputation managers has sprung up offering search result removal along with a list of accompanying services. You can find them by doing a Google search for "reputation management". This is typically an ongoing service with a monthly fee sold to many businesses to include things like monitoring the press for mentions, managing and encouraging reviews, advertising and pr, etc.
One common complaint that we hear from people is that when people Google them, they find mugshots posted online. This can be one of the biggest online reputational threats for individuals with convictions or arrest records. There are actually mugshot websites that pull photos from county and city police departments with no purpose other than publishing them online. Despite the fact that thousands of people are wrongly arrested or are later found not guilty, when someone runs across these photos they immediately draw the worst conclusion.
While the owners of these sites claim that they are only republishing information that is already part of the public record, the truth is that their only real motivation is profit. These sites will often attempt to charge individuals hundreds of dollars to remove their mugshots from the internet. Some have even disguised themselves as genuine reputation repair companies that offer guaranteed removal in exchange for a fee. Keep in mind that no reputation management company can actually guarantee that another site will remove your content. That’s only possible if they own the site the photos are on. This practice has caught the attention of lawmakers, who have started to take aim at these mugshot websites. Some of these sites have been accused of, and even sued for, extortion. They are essentially racketeering scams preying on the hard times of people.