A few weeks ago we discovered something quite disturbing online. It’s disturbing for two reasons: firstly it’s an unethical thing for a company to do and secondly it’s incredibly naïve.
What are we talking about? Reputation management of course.
We found that a company (who we shall not name) employs people to look after their reputation online. Now, this isn’t a bad thing at all. There are ways to look after your online reputation in order to make sure that when people search for your company that they’re not confronted with negative comments. To do this you need to be very skilful, very subtle and subvert the search engines results pages (SERPs) so that you control what people find.
You do NOT do this by going around websites and forums, such as blagger.com and ciao.co.uk, pretending to be satisfied customers of your company and leaving positive reviews on your own service.
Think of it from a customer’s point of view. If you were reading reviews of a company and 90% of the reviews were extremely negative, but 10% of the reviews were extremely positive… would you not think something was amiss?
Where’s the middle ground? Where’s the reviews that say the company was good, but there was this one little problem?
What about the people who have left these positive reviews? Have they reviewed anything else on the website, or have they signed up and reviewed JUST this company, moments after creating their account?
This is just one obvious way that you can be caught out – there are many, many more.
Of course, the biggest problem with commenting on sites such as this, with your fake reviews, is that you’re adding fresh content to the page, rich with the keywords of your company name. This will improve its rankings within Google, ensuring that you’ll never get rid of it.
If you need reputation management, speak to the experts.