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Web reputation management: it’s a must

Today people live in two worlds, the real world and the virtual world. They can do most things online, from banking, shopping, socializing to entertainment. The following statistics show the scope of the Internet users’ pathways (approximate):

  • 82.9% of active Internet users watch video clips.
  • About 1.2 lakh of blogs are created every day.
  • 72.8% of active Internet users read blogs.
  • Technorati currently tracks 111 million blogs.
  • 63.2% of active Internet users visit a photo-sharing site.
  • 38.5% of active Internet users upload a clip to a video sharing website.
  • There are more than 90 million users on Facebook.

And that is why companies are now striving to create a strong Internet presence for the broader marketing of their products and services. However, anyone can create content on the Internet, including users of commercial products and services.

Multiple avenues for posting product reviews and sharing experiences on the web have led to the rise of user-generated content (UGC) on the web. All businesses have user-generated content online about their business products and services, and these are crucial to their reputation on the web. Users can converge at various points on the web to share information, some of them are:

  • Social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, and orkut
  • Media sharing platforms such as YouTube, iShare, Vimeo, and Flickr for uploading photos, audio files, and video clips.
  • Knowledge sharing platforms such as Yahoo, eHow, and Wikipedia
  • Blogs.
  • Specialized online consumer forums and discussion forums.
  • Product review websites like Ripoffreport and Mouthshut.

The impact of negative and unfavorable user-generated content is exponentially greater through high levels of visibility, discovery, and networking from these online spots. There are many cases where negative online advertising has caused great harm to businesses. For example, Tata Consultancy Services has been accused of tax fraud, in a blog, which appears in search engines and smears the name of the entire company. Similarly, Times of India, a daily of Indian nationality, was criticized through a blog with the slogan “Slimes of India”. Comments on scam reports like “The Helen Foundation took me for 4722.00 and said my insurance would pay for it, but they didn’t give me the bills” also affect a company’s brand image. As user-generated content is unregulated, taking legal action against it may be unproductive. Said content is fragmented in nature, which makes it difficult to identify the author of the information.

A professional web reputation management consultant can counter negative publicity by using new approaches and strategies, such as friendly language, user-controlled messages, SEO content creation, and dialogue. Hence, web reputation management services have become a business necessity to survive and succeed in the world of e-commerce. Only a professional firm can handle the negative publicity your business may receive and make sure it has the least possible impact on your brand image.

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