At Reputation.com you can pay the company to ‘manage’ your online reputation. Hmmm. This strikes me as very odd. Now I realize that there can be circumstances when a person may need to have some help in “fixing” things online. Everything from an old school photo to an errant rant might need to be managed.
But as a rule, the idea of paying someone to change, improve or alter your digital reputation or “digital footprint” sounds crazy to me.
I know a lot of people don’t like Google but the reality is that Google’s search algorithms (their own self interest notwithstanding) are designed to give real people who are creating real content the best chance possible of being found by other real people.
Before I came across this article, A Primer on Online Reputation Management, I didn’t even know these companies existed. While I appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit, I question whether this is a viable alternative for 99% of the population. Here is one of the tactics employed by such organizations; they “include things like “astroturfing,” or the creation of anonymous commenter accounts to buttress a positive piece of content or lash out against a negative one.” Another tactic is to “sneak a client’s name into a site with a lot of rank with Google, such as IMDB.com.”
The whole point of a reputation is that it be a true reflection of who you are. Trust is built by being consistent and ethical. What many of us love about ‘social’ networking/media/business/commerce is the transparency. You can manage your own online presence by paying attention, reading and commenting on blogs, posting to Linked In and so forth. For heaven’s sake be genuine because if you get exposed as a fraud– you WILL need to pay someone to help you get rid of that and good luck doing so!
Photo credit: sarahmelnychuk.blogspot.com