The Ethics of Reputation Management


As the internet expands and develops, so unfortunately does the level of negative and damaging comments floating around the web. It doesn’t matter which industry sector you’re in, what service you provide or how long you’ve been established, all it takes is one harmful comment to bring down your hard earned reputation. These could be imposed by a resentful ex member of staff, an unsatisfied customer, or you could simply find yourself at the hands of a random hate campaign.

Thankfully there are steps you can take to minimise this damage. Many companies have begun to invest in reputation management to protect their brand online, but there is often a level of controversy surrounding what is considered ethical practice and what isn’t. Here are a few ways to make sure you stay on the right side of the fence when it comes to dubious practice.

  • If you are working on behalf of another company the first step is to establish the level of damage and whether or not this has been warranted. Unfortunately even firms that strive to offer a great service to their customers can fall victim to nasty and unfounded content, but if the level of bad press seems extortionate, or it dates back a long way, chances are it may be justified. If you suspect that many of these comments may be true it is probably in your best interests and the morally right thing to do to avoid these firms. Not only will your task be near on impossible as more and more negative comments are likely to continue, but you could find yourself gaining a bad reputation too.
  • In particular there is a focus on the ethics of deleting bad comments. This is often frowned upon, especially when companies are keen to stress their willingness to listen to the customer. To avoid getting yourself in hot water, it is better to focus on creating new positive content, rather than concentrating on eliminating the undesirable. If enough of this new copy is produced and distributed, not only will this content bury old press but it can work wonders for your SEO campaign too.
  • If you are searching for outside help when it comes to online reputation management and you’re concerned about the ethics of bad practice, make sure you research prospective firms thoroughly and select a company that offers only legitimate and trusted methods. It may also be worth looking into the testimonials on their site for client feedback. If they do not have a relevant section on their site it is probably worth avoiding them altogether.

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