Protecting your Online Reputation

     Reputation management is a rapidly growing industry.  Review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List serve an increasingly important role for businesses and consumers.  Experts say that a single negative comment can have lasting repercussions, from lack of business to career setbacks.

     A growth industry consisting of companies and marketing consultants that specialize in protecting and promoting online healthcare reputations have arisen.  Businesses are now spending hundreds to thousands of dollars a month for these professionals.  Addressing a negative review on Google Plus or an inflammatory comment on Twitter could backfire.

     Posting a reply that attempts to repudiate a negative comment or review may be perceived as retribution from a service provider who is out of control.  Indeed, some professional reputation protectors claim that their services may be helpful in these situations.

     An important parameter that determines the influence of a negative review is its placement in a Google search.  A negative review comes up within the first 20 results of a Google search of your name or the name of your business certainly has more impact than a search that a buried under a myriad of pages.

     Companies and marketing professions provide services that include disputing negative comments, promoting positive reviews, setting up websites to facilitate a positive online presence, and social-media campaigns using Facebook and Twitter.  Depending on how extensive such efforts are, the cost can run tens of thousands of dollars.

            Here are a few steps to enhance your online reputation without spending a fortune:


  • ·       Google yourself to see what’s out there and set up a Google Alerts account with your name so you’ll be notified whenever something new is posted.


  • ·       Establish a website or blog so you’ll have a place to present yourself in the light that you choose and create a favorable impression.


  • ·       Register with websites such as where you can control the online presence of review sites.  The goal is to tip the playing field in your favor by using highly ranked sites that internet users are likely to encounter when searching the web.


  • ·       Use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to create favorable content about you or your business.  Hopefully, searches will lean towards these social media pages over internet sites that may not be favorable.


  • ·     Respond selectively to negative reviews and comments.  Be careful to avoid violation of privacy and confidentiality if you do respond.  A polite response that is reasonable and non-judgmental comes across much better than one with an angry, derogatory tone.   A positive rebuttal may counteract, at least to some extent, a wildly abusive negative review.

         Get accustomed to the fact that you may not be able to remove all of the negative comments posted about you on the web.  Also, think twice about suing for slander or defamation.  Many states have enacted laws that, rightly or wrongly protects the person who posts a negative review, even though it may be false or misleading.