Online Reputation Control: Brand, Insurance or Blind Luck?
In today’s world, it’s all too easy to ignore your online reputation. It’s even easier for you to instantly vaporize and let someone break it into a barely recognizable mark that you’ll confess to being involved with. Every blog, community site, customer review, or competitor has hundreds of different options for expressing views and concerns against a company. If you haven’t already, start understanding how to use social media monitoring tools and take proactive steps to keep your business running.
Your second option is to ask the simple question:
Can this happen to me?
Yes, sure you can.
As a case example, I pulled up a local Washington CEO Magazine article on the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2007. I pulled up a few of the names on the list and did a quick Google search. These are some of the headlines I found about the proper names of the “Top 100 companies:
Result 7 – Zillow – Google Headline “How Good Are Zillow’s Estimates?”
“Zillow approached 5% of the price in a third of the transactions studied by The Journal. It was more than 25% off target in 11% of them. In 34 of the 1,000 transactions, Zillow was off target by more than fifty %. “
Our take: If you’re a Zillow user or investor, chances are you’ve been exposed to this article and several others like it. How does it make someone feel that the Wall Street Journal (regarded as one of the most respectable news sources) says that Zillow’s estimates are 50% off?
Result 6 – Comcast – Google Headline “Comcast Tech Sleeping On My Couch” A Comcast cable technician came in to replace a cable modem and fell asleep while waiting for the customer service group. As of this article he was viewed: 1,219,303 times! (At 58 seconds long, that’s a LOT of negative reviews for Comcast.) It had 714 comments.
Our opinion: Holy smoke Batman. 1,219,303 views! I don’t know of any company that wasn’t marginally hit in the marketing, sales, and customer service numbers when a million different people have seen how lackluster Comcast’s support is.
Finding 3 – Spokane Federal Credit Union Review – Citysearch Review – “I had an account with Spokane Federal for many years and have never been so impressed, they pretty much only took care of what I needed and nothing else, overall I would say they met, not exceeded my expectations”
Our take: Even though Spokane Federal Credit Union has a lot of coverage, it would be easy to dismiss a mediocre review that says they’re nothing but mediocre.
Result 3 – Zango – PC Hell: Zango Removal Instructions – “Zango is an entertainment site with free access to videos, music, games and other downloads. The site is free for all users, but you pay with ads. present visitors with an end user license agreement that they accept before downloading any content.”
Our take: Here’s a desktop software company that has hordes of people using Zango gaming software, and every time someone Googles their name, you get “PC Hell – Zango Removal Instructions.” If you were to buy a desktop system that had them pre-installed, you can bet I’d remove it in a heartbeat. I don’t need a casual gaming platform slowing down my PC while I need to process my data or send an important email.
No matter who you are (how big or small), this can happen to you.
It happens to Comcast and Zillow.
It also happens to little ones.
If you look at this issue from a strictly numerical point of view, Comcast buys its own “comcast” keyword from Google so that it can keep the company’s brand and results at the top of Google. If I were to buy that keyword, it would cost about $1.25 per click, and there are an estimated 5,500 clicks per day on it (that’s a daily budget of $6,000 to $8,000 per day on that keyword).
If Comcast is only paying $.25 per visitor for that keyword, imagine that those 1,219,303 video views are costing Comcast a minimum of $250k in lost “clicks,” not counting how many customer service issues and PR issues cause.