Full disclosure: we recently Googled a friend from long ago to see what he/she had been up to in recent years and found ourselves confronted by an entire images page filled with mugshots. Is there a point to this sad story? There is! Yesterday our sister site Social Times (follow them on Twitter!) posted an interview on a topic that should be of interest to anyone in PR: the art of online reputation management. The primary lesson stressed by Mike Zammuto, president of rep management firm Reputation Changer, is “fight negative content with more (positive) content.”
What does that mean?
Zammuto says that he’s recently witnessed a big uptick in the number of unflattering/incriminating photos or other content that clients would love to push further down in the search results. Reputation Changer clients have seen opinions turn and job opportunities disappear thanks to things as obscure as an appearance on Cheaterville, the sleazy little site where users post on their unfaithful exes’ worst moments.
You may not think one negative story is too bad, but if those geeks at reddit get their hands on it you can kiss your reputation goodbye. Hell, there are folks in the ad industry who log on to sister site Agency Spy under other users’ names and leave inflammatory comments. People can be jerks, and Zammuto’s company is essentially an all-digital PR firm that specializes in, say, creating complimentary profiles, scoring positive press mentions and moderating the nasty responses to a celebrity’s social feeds. They even have tools for unknown clients who want to build a reputation from the ground up.
How do they do it? Zammuto isn’t revealing too many details, but the post is certainly worth a read.
Do readers have any experience with Reputation Changer or related services? How do they compare to traditional PR?