Category Archives: Business

ORM and the Environment: Environmental Reputation for Oil and Gas Companies

ORM and the Environment: Environmental Reputation for Oil and Gas Companies

Although the title may be a bit confusing, today’s juncture serves as the perfect opportunity for us at ReputationDefender to establish the evident link between online reputation and environmentalism. Do a company’s polluting emissions harm its reputation? Many people would actually agree upon it, arguing that both customers and suppliers are less likely to do business with organizations that overlook the importance of being environmentally responsible. Many years ago, perhaps a decade, a research carried out in 2005 presented compelling evidence that dictated otherwise: the only adverse consequence suffered by companies that would disregard the importance of environmental regulation was the legal penalty and the costs commonly associated with cleanup and compliance.

But this is 2017: a massive iceberg just broke off from Antarctica and is drifting out to the sea. Things have changed environmentally speaking, and even though conventional wisdom would dictate that customers and suppliers will never punish companies for their emissions through the marketplace, the reality is in fact diametrically opposed. Today, adopting a leaner and greener standpoint has a tremendous impact on a company’s online reputation; today, it is not nonsensical to see individuals preferring not to do business with brands or companies that do not comply with today’s environmental recommendations. In fact, some people are reluctant to work for one of these companies, and even some suppliers disregard the possibility of selling their goods to polluters. Thus, it is clear that disregarding the impact today’s green trend has on a company’s online reputation does more harm than good: polluters will end up facing lower revenues and, eventually, higher costs and overhead. And it just snowballs from there: lower profits prevent companies from starting a proper online reputation strategy and complying with environmental regulations to remedy such situation, causing what is called a «reputational penalty».

It is undeniable that today’s digital era runs on different trends; however, given the fact that trends tend to die inexorably, raising awareness about climate change is not only a must but something positive for a brand. Companies doing businesses today should strive to demonstrate an original and genuine concern for the environment or suffer the consequences a negative online and corporate reputation can bestow upon them. Today’s world is full of multinational companies that live under constant evaluation, and such evaluation is not as intense as in the hydrocarbon industry: oil and gas companies.

Today’s juncture suggests that when it comes to addressing oil and gas companies, the first thing to assess is their environmental practices, as they must always be second to none; however, it is arguably questionable that today’s rising antagonism around these companies means that they can do much better. Oil and gas companies can, and actually need to, do a better job at convincing their audience and people in general that they are not just trying to remedy the consequences of constantly being under such evaluation; that they are not merely responding to the glare of such accusing spotlight.

Oil and gas companies, just like most everyone else on this planet, ought to show genuine concern about safeguarding and protecting the environment for future generations and their own; nonetheless, it is also important to point out, quite rightly by the way, that the term environmentalist has been entirely deformed by those with more radical and extreme points of view. In that sense, it is quite obvious that it is almost impossible to convince all of the earth’s environmentalists and green trends advocates; however, the basic idea is to reach out to the widest possible audience conveying a compelling message about being environmentally friendly.

Image courtesy of Pixabay at

When it comes to improving a company’s online reputation, especially if it is not as good as one might expect, the only possible way to achieve it is by going the extra mile; and taking that extra step that is found beyond the boundaries of that is usually expected from organizations: going beyond the law and regulations. And this is quite important: in the past, companies that were practically forced to comply with environmental regulations were highly open to falling victim of the media should anything bad happened, which caused them to assume a defensive stance—basically the worst case scenario when it comes to strengthening online reputation management.

In that sense, it is way better for oil and gas companies to show a proactive stance instead of always starting a feud with the press: public perceptions, irrespective of whether they are accurate or not, represent public perceptions, and, subsequently, they create regulations. Online Reputation Management is key for every company and every industry, thus, given the fact that it is affected by what the audience perceives as positive—which is true in this case—, embracing today’s environmental trend will not only be beneficial for a company’s ORM strategy but also will provide additional monetary benefits.

* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at

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Why has the drone industry such a bad online reputation?

Why has the drone industry such a bad online reputation?

The more disruptive the technological advances in our society, the more involved are their online reputation. This has happened to the steam engine, nuclear power, the Internet, and it has also happened to the drones during the current decade. When we talk about drones, it is impossible not to think about Star Wars and those epic battles waged by armies of machines, but in reality, the drones are not simply reduced to their military use. In fact, these unmanned machines have been particularly useful in rescuing lost or seriously injured hikers in hard-to-reach areas, as well as in the control of destructive forest fires, and in data collection in nuclear accidents, such as Fukushima, a few years ago. These are some of the thousands of non-military uses of drones, however, no matter how incredible they are, the public is not able to dissociate these remote-controlled crafts from the well-known images of bombings in Iraq or Syria, as well as the espionage activities for war. This is one of the main reasons for the bad online reputation of this industry.

So far, most drones for civilian use are small and – apparently – inoffensive. Although most were built for recreational use by buyers, many of them are used daily for data collection (for example, to measure the boundaries of an extensive property, to measure glacier displacement, to observe volcanic activity, among others.) But despite the technological advantages offered by drones, the market for these products has not been exploited to its full potential, and this is due to the unfavorable opinions of many people on the Internet about the risks to public safety, and the ease with which privacy (both physical and online) can be affected.

Media scandals are common. DJI, the world’s leading drone manufacturer, has been embroiled in an online reputation crisis due to a computer security breach. Because, among other reasons, some terrorist groups have been using drones from this company to execute their actions of espionage and bombing, DJI has taken control measures. Since this year, this Chinese company has developed a software update that forces users to indicate the geographical areas that they want to fly before using the drones; also, it checks the location of users and constantly downloads forbidden zones of flight. In case a user does not download the updates, the drone does not fly more than 164 feet away, or 98 feet in height, nor is it possible to do direct streaming.

Read also: Reconstructing a corporate Online Reputation, by ReputationDefender

This was partly due to the pressure from the authorities of several countries to comply with local and international standards. Nevertheless, a software already exists that allows DJI drones to fly through forbidden areas. This software allows you to bypass the height limits and even trick the GPS of DJI drones so that they can fly through airports, war zones, or even military installations. The software confuses the GPS of the drone to make it believe that it is flying over a safe zone, and it even makes it possible to break the limit of five hundred feet of height that DJI imposes to its drones.

The main security issue here lies in three main reasons. The first one is the immense availability of purchase of these drones. Years ago, those were items that only millionaires could afford, and they are now increasingly available to anyone (and that includes sociopaths, of course.) In addition, the great distances that these drones are able to travel without losing connection makes them a war tool difficult to control by the authorities. Finally, the versatility of these machines allows, for example, to drop a homemade bomb, or to take samples of chemical substances with the aim of stealing industrial secrets.

Image courtesy of Jeremy Keith at

Nonetheless, DJI has also been involved in another online reputation crisis, and this time has been due to the bad comments of its own users, especially in our country. Many of them believe that the main motivation for buying the advanced drones of this company is related to the great freedom it represents for them, and they believe that the limitations to the use of these products should come from local laws, rather than the company itself. It is a complicated case regarding who is right: Customers, or those who consider public safety and privacy.

These improvements will never be clean of controversy. Last year, the US army unveiled the production and use of insect-sized drones to carry out espionage activities in enemy territories during the current wars. These drones (some of them, the size of a mosquito,) can take DNA samples, take photos, record audio, and track a person’s location by GPS when getting into clothing or luggage. This can be a powerful weapon, or it can be seen as an Orwellian nightmare.

The problem is that if we compare the safety and privacy cons with the pros drones can offer, forbidding or limiting the use of these devices would mean a technological backwardness that could cost a lot of money and human lives.

Recommended: 9 Incredible Ways Drones Are Overcoming Their Bad Reputation

* Featured Image courtesy of Visual Hunt at

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Reconstructing a corporate Online Reputation

Reconstructing a corporate Online Reputation

We at ReputationDefender have previously stressed the importance of Online Reputation Management within specific industries; however, the truth is that every business and every organization—irrespective of whether it is public or private—ought to pay special attention to this issue, especially under today’s fast-paced and rapidly changing juncture. 

Of course, every industry handles its reputation differently, as techniques are often tailored to the industry’s nature, but, when considering today’s landscape as a whole, and given the fact that even governments fail to respond to the financial crisis and its aftermath, a company’s or a business’s online reputation has become increasingly important.

Companies with online reputation problems are more likely to suffer the fallout of public outrage, legislators, and regulatory entities. Moreover, the credibility of the public sector as a whole will mark its capability to participate in contentious measures such as protectionism, which, of course, has several implications for today’s worldwide economic landscape.

These premises have not gone unnoticed, and senior executives are more aware than ever of how important and serious this issue—this challenge—is. The vast majority of them acknowledge that some industries and sectors have perhaps dragged others into the realm of pejorative perceptions. It is not a secret that some companies in certain sectors—especially the financial industry—have treated consumers, shareholders, regulators, etc., in the most possible unfairly manner, and thus, this perception seems to have spanned over other industries as well.

This assumption, although eschatological and a bit exaggerated, is backed up with facts: in accordance with a survey of senior executives and C positions carried out in 2016, almost 80% of them asserted that public trust in their businesses has deteriorated. In fact, they also assert that the audience and their customers seem to trust corporations less now than they did in the past. These circumstances, nevertheless, are the consequences of not just the speed, volatility, and unexpectedness of today’s economy, but also of several changes within the reputation environment that were not acknowledged in time by companies and industries in general. Those changes include, of course, the evident decline of trust in media and advertising.

So, how to reconstruct a damaged online reputation and, moreover, regain the public’s trust? Now, more than ever before, it will be action-driven strategies the ones responsible for building a solid and strong reputation. 

Organizations and companies, in general, need to improve the way they have been carrying out their engagement with their clients; most businesses actually fail to listen good enough what is happening around them and end up missing the red flags associated with substantial ORM issues; however, all of these can be remedied by adopting and taking actions to reinstate their relationship with their customers, thusly going beyond traditional PR and basic ORM strategies.

By doing this effectively, companies and businesses, in general, will be able to step up their sophistication and their coordination when it comes to developing a solid and reliable online reputation management campaign. As of recent years, some businesses have started to use not only more strict levels of segmentation techniques to understand their customers better but also cross-functional teams to gather and collect enough and precise information so that they can respond much quicker to plausible online reputation threats. This suggests that the existence of barriers within companies is indeed detrimental for the business’s reputation: a bureaucratic culture prevents the organization to react and act against ORM issues; however, one vital aspect to getting past these corporate barriers is a committed senior leadership. From CEOs to the lady at the reception, all employees should strive to achieve the same ORM goal without delegating such responsibility to other people and coworkers. Bear in mind that this, although simple to understand, is what will allow companies cope with today’s no less than energized public. Today is the day when CEOs will finally bolster their reputations of their businesses: it is no less than their sole obligation.

Image courtesy of Miguel Á. Padriñán at

Free markets have dispersed the economic spectrum, which is why companies ought to pay special attention to the way they collect information about possible ORM threats and the way they analyze it. It is not a secret that the key to not falling victim of an ORM debacle is by acting soon before it happens and by taking the necessary actions to mitigate it. Some would still wonder, is it possible for companies to do that just by themselves? Well, developing alliances with new partners is not something nonsensical: governments, consumers, and other groups are highly important when it comes to listening to what is happening, which, of course, is the only way to develop preventive measures. It, however, demands higher levels of coordination. Levels that can be achieved by getting past corporate barriers and the dreary bureaucratic culture that prevents companies, organizations, institutions, and businesses from doing so.

* Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash at

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ORM for some of the most hated businessmen in the world

ORM for some of the most hated businessmen in the world

Jack Ma, the richest man in China, once said that if you have a million dollars in your bank account that money is indeed entirely yours, but if you have more than a billion dollars, what you actually have in your account is the trust of the people, because what you do with that money will inevitably have social impacts. Not all entrepreneurs think like Ma. In fact, some profess a diametrically opposed thinking, and the increasing of their fortunes grows with the hatred that millions of people feel towards them on the Internet. This makes them, in addition to politicians, some of the worst online reputed characters in the world since most people blame them for many of the ills of today’s global society.

Let’s look at some of these unpopular characters.

Read also: Online Reputation Management: A must for the powerful, by ReputationDefender

George Soros

George Soros is a Jewish-Hungarian tycoon and a financial speculator. He is known for being the man behind the bankruptcy of the Bank of England in the early 1990s, an episode of which Soros made a profit of about $ 1 billion and produced losses to the English state amounting to about $ 3.4 billion. Soros is one of the richest people in the world. His fortune is about $ 24.2 billion according to Forbes.

He is hated in the Jewish world because of his dark past with the Nazi regime. When he was only fourteen years old, and the Germans invaded Hungary, he and his family collaborated with them to strip the Jews of their properties and thus send them to extermination camps while he posed as an average Christian kid. However, Soros is hated for much more than that. In addition to speculation and his opinions about not extending the lives of ‘useless people,’ Soros finances thousands of NGOs willing to politically counter the interests of organizations, people, and parties opposed to his beliefs, like drug legalization, abortion and the reduction of human population.

The interesting thing is that George Soros is not moved by his bad online reputation whatsoever.

Martin Shkreli

Martin Shkreli is known around the world as one of the most hated men in the United States. This drugmaker of Albanian and Croatian origin has been the target of several criticisms after buying the exclusive license to manufacture an anti-AIDS drug. Shkreli decided to raise the price of the medication to $ 750, which is a price that thousands of people can’t afford. Such increase unleashed a tremendous wave of disgust in the social media which eventually made him explain to the US Congress itself about his decisions.

Shkreli was charged with fraud in 2015, and his trial has begun this very week. The charges against him are, in particular, securities fraud, electronic fraud, and conspiracy to deceive several investors by more than $ 11 million during six years.

However, this entrepreneur seems to feel no regret for his actions. Although he has agreed to lower the price of the medication, he often broadcasts videos from his YouTube channel where he mocks his haters and occasionally talks to them over the phone. In fact, he is so detested, that even he opened an auction so that the winner could punch him in the face. Ironically, the proceeds went to research for cancer treatments.

Edward S. Lampert

According to 24/7 Wall St., Mr. Lampert is the number one most detested CEO in America. In fact, a very low percentage of Kmart and Sears combined feel some form of admiration for him. The reason for such a bad online reputation? Massive layoffs and unpaid wages to many of his employees. Like many entrepreneurs, Lampert’s logic is based on the premise that it is necessary to reduce costs, even if this involves dismissing big numbers of workers. Nonetheless, he is not only hated by the workers of both large companies, but by the shareholders, who have almost no confidence in Lampert’s executive decisions, to the point that the stock price of both companies has had considerable losses during the recent years.

What most draws the attention is his income. In theory, Lampert earns one dollar every month, although the compensation he receives during each year amounts to millions of dollars in total.

From some of his interviews, it can be concluded that Lampert is not worried about his bad image on the Internet mainly because he considers that both his ideas and his actions are correct.

Image courtesy of ValueWalk at

It seems that the indifference to bad online reputation is a common denominator among the most hated entrepreneurs in the world. Great tycoons like the recently deceased David Rockefeller seem to rely more on their financial powers than on the approval of the masses. The problem is that no one knows when a good online reputation will be necessary. Years ago, when Donald Trump was a hated businessman, the online reputation needed to build a strong political campaign seemed not to be one of his priorities, and now his critics use his negative old information to feed the hatred of large sectors of the American society against him.

* Featured Image courtesy of International Monetary Fund – Michael Spilotro at

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The Volkswagen Online Reputation Challenge Just Begins

The Volkswagen Online Reputation Challenge Just Begins

The Volkswagen 2015 scandal is one of its main sources of bad online reputation. Even though the legal storm that this major car company has been through has already ceased, the reputation crisis continues, and many of its users – especially in Germany – have stopped buying Volkswagen cars as a boycott.

In this post, we will analyze the case of the Volkswagen gas emissions scandal: An excellent example that demonstrates the need to invest in online reputation management after having solved the eventual legal situations that an individual or an organization has been going through.

This industrial scandal (best known as the ‘Diesel Gate’,) implied the use of various techniques for the fraudulent reduction of pollutant emissions (NOx and CO2) by the Volkswagen Group from some of its diesel and petrol engines during 2009-2015 in the certification tests. According to the VW Group, more than 11 million vehicles of its brands, including Škoda, Seat, Audi, and Porsche are affected by this throughout the world. The case, unparalleled in the automotive history, was revealed in September 2015 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and resulted in the resignation of Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Volkswagen board.

It really started at the beginning of 2014, while the International Council on Clean Transportation launched a study on pollution in driving conditions in twelve European diesel cars. It decided to add three European vehicles sold in the United States, convinced that these vehicles would behave well. The fifteen vehicles did not all make the same journeys, many of which only carried out the only reference route (which was secret, of course.) Some of the analyzed cars made a maximum of 25 quite long journeys of nearly 2485 miles between Los Angeles and Seattle (to and from the airport.)

The tests were carried out using a Portable Emission Measurement System, commonly known as PEMS, which is the conventional system to measure the CO2 of vehicles. This equipment is located partly in the trunk and partly outside the vehicle. For some tests, it incorporates one or even two electric generators and fuel.

Read also: 5 industries that have the most to gain from online reputation, by ReputationDefender

The tests showed that all vehicles behave on average in terms of CO2, HC, and other particulate pollution, and, in the case of NOx, three vehicles performed worse than the others. When the report was published, these vehicles were designated by the letters F, H and L, which, in fact, turned out to be the VW Jetta that, on average, for all routes combined, emitted 22.6 times more NOx than the threshold Euro 6 on the NEDC bench. The VW Passat emitted on average 11.4 times more than the threshold Euro 6. The last VW vehicle, designated in the report as a European luxury vehicle, emitted 22.3 times than the threshold Euro 6.

So, in September 2015, the authorities confirmed to the manufacturer that its practices violated the Clean Air Act25. The scandal went viral on the mainstream media and, of course, on the social media, and environmentalists got really angry (especially those who owned a Volkswagen.) And what about the subsequent economic consequences? Well, between the 19th and 22nd of September 2015, the share price of the Volkswagen group fell by almost 40% on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Moreover, the entire European automotive sector suffered heavy losses in the days following the breakup of the case.

Image courtesy of at

The group quickly announced the suspension of its commercialization in the United States of the Volkswagen and Audi four-cylinder diesel models (about a 23% of the whole sales of the Volkswagen brand in August in the United States.)

Recommended: VW emissions scandal widens with Audi allegations

Nevertheless, this automotive giant has already put in place a strategy to reduce its reputational damage. It has restructured all its leadership, has started to pay millionaire fines, and has done everything as possible to regain the confidence of the German government, its clients, and employees of all the factories around the world. In fact, the company contributed $ 6.4 billion for repairs last year as compensation to customers and sanctions. In the end, thanks to the 4,400 million provisioned in the fourth quarter, the total impact of the Diesel Gate has actually risen to 22,600. For this reason, it can be affirmed that Volkswagen has recovered its revenues in a forceful way and that its economic slowdown is already closed.

But what’s Next? Here begins the great challenge regarding online reputation, and, by the way, this company must invest millions in reputational marketing campaigns in order to clean up its image globally. It is not impossible, but it will certainly be a huge job.

All companies make mistakes at some point, and emblematic companies, with a long history like this one, have already gone through hundreds of such situations. However, no one should never underestimate the destructive power of an online reputation crisis when it comes to the image of a company, especially considering that the bad reputation remains unaffected by the passage of time in the memorable digital world.

A case full of lessons, indeed.

* Featured Image courtesy of freshwater2006 at

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Multi-level companies: A crumbling down online reputation

Multi-level companies: A crumbling down online reputation

During the last ten years, multi-level companies have played an important role in the global market for goods and services. Even though this type of business generally does not represent the entirety of the income of the vast majority of the people involved (since, normally, many of the vendors assume this business just as a complement to other jobs,) a large number of people worldwide sell and consume the products and services offered by multi-level companies, and with some satisfaction. However, all people do not have favorable opinions about these companies due to their bad online reputation. Some hate them because of bad experiences with the purchased products or services, while others have had bad experiences related to money managements, and the organization itself. Others simply dislike multi-level companies because they are already tired of hearing the same speech a thousand times about financial independence and other ‘empty promises.’ So, the online reputation management challenge for these companies is changing the mind of potential customers and vendors on the Internet after loads and loads of bad comments, negative reviews and news related to scandals on forums and social networks.

However, all people do not have favorable opinions about these companies due to their bad online reputation. Some hate them because of bad experiences with the purchased products or services, while others have had bad experiences related to money managements, and the organization itself. Others simply dislike multi-level companies because they are already tired of hearing the same speech a thousand times about financial independence and other ‘empty promises.’ So, the online reputation management challenge for these companies is changing the mind of potential customers and vendors on the Internet after loads and loads of bad comments, negative reviews and news related to scandals on forums and social networks.

Indeed, this revolutionary industry – in terms of distribution and profits for its sellers – has also had its special share of public scandals. The most popular and recent case is Herbalife, but the controversies surrounding this type of business are the order of the day.

Last year, this important multi-level company (which, by the way, is somehow the main referent when thinking about this type of business) was sanctioned by the Federal Competition Commission and had to pay a huge fine for fraud. According to the Commission, Herbalife has convinced a large number of its US adherents about obtaining a series of benefits that they were not able to reach in the first place. Furthermore, in 2014, the US Federal Trade Commission initiated an investigation into Herbalife following allegations that the company operated under a fraudulent pyramid scheme. The vitamin and weight-loss sales company, through a network of independent distributors, agreed to reimburse $ 200 million and to restructure its business system to settle the FTC’s demands. One of the most controversial aspects of this legal storm is that the company’s compensation structure has really been disloyal due to the cover-up of an illegal pyramid scheme for its financing, so that sellers, in addition to buying the company’s products, had to attract other sellers who in turn became consumers.

Read also: 3 things marketers need to avoid to help reputation, by ReputationDefender

In fact, Netflix launched a popular documentary this year based on the Herbalife scandal. “Betting on Zero,” tells the testimonials of former US distributors of Herbalife products and tells the story of Bill Ackman’s disputes against the company’s CEO Michael Johnson. The documentary recounts the stories of former distributors of products of the American Herbalife networks. Herbalife and other Multi-level companies have openly criticized the film, arguing that it ignores Ackman’s questionable tactics, including his calls for government regulators to shut down the company.

Another famous scandal occurred four years ago: Amway India executives were arrested for economic fraud. The arrest came as a result of the allegation of a woman who claimed to have been enrolled by Amway in a fraudulent business pyramid investment, related to a merchandise that she could not distribute due to the current legal prohibitions. The woman affirmed that she did not receive back the money she already had invested, although the people who linked her with the company were aware of the prohibition that prevented her from selling the Amway products.

Image courtesy of Ray Villalobos at

What makes this business model attractive is the possibility of generating linear revenues through direct sales, or through the sales made by a work team, which grows in the form of a network by word of mouth, as it happens with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat. This way of selling achieves a great increase in the market placement of products, which subsequently generates a billing that allows creating a system of compensation. Such system stimulates the work of all the distributors by sharing the products or services that they use. Many see this way of making money as an illegal pyramid, and although in some cases they are real pyramids, it is not absolutely the general rule.

This is where the strategy to improve the online reputation of this industry should be focused, indeed. It is important to inform the public about what a pyramid is and what it is not. In a pyramid, the participants recommend and attract more clients with the goal that new participants (who must be more numerous than the existing ones) produce benefits to the original participants. Conversely, in the multi-level system, a manufacturer or wholesale trader sells his goods or services through a network of independent traders and/or distributors, which work coordinated within the same trading network, and the economic benefits are obtained through a single margin on the retail price.

Content marketing is an appropriate way of working on the online reputation of multi-level companies. It is not only a strategy for bringing more visibility on search engines and the social media: The wrong harmful information is pushed off, and, at the same time, the public is informed about how things really are (which are not always that bad.)

Recommended: MLM – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

* Featured Image courtesy of Ernesto Flores at

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Online Reputation Management for PIs: Elementary, my dear Watson

Online Reputation Management for PIs: Elementary, my dear Watson

Inquiry agents, better known as private investigators (or simply ‘private eyes’) have nurtured the minds of thousands of writers for more than a century, and have been the main characters of a huge number of fascinating stories. But these characters do not belong exclusively to the terrain of fiction. In real life, private detectives, as well as investigative companies, are key players in solving court cases, in addition to knowing the truth about mysterious issues that cause problems for people. If you want to know if your partner is stealing money from your business, if you want to know if your life is in danger, if you want to find a lost family member, then you can hire this type of investigator. And they, on the other hand, like any business, rely to a large extent on an excellent reputation for being successful commercially. So, they not only do need a proper online reputation management to get more customers but to change the perception that some people have about them due to some unfortunate and popular cases on the Internet.

Five years ago, Chris Butler, a former private detective, was arrested in Central Contra Costa (CA) and sentenced to eight years in prison along with Norman Wielsch, the chief of the California Enforcement Narcotics Team. The crime for which they were charged consisted in selling material confiscated by the California police. Specifically, illegal drugs which were classified as evidence of legal proceedings taking place in the county. This case had a very intense media coverage, and public the opinion about private investigators declined a little. In fact, private detectives, who in turn are former police officers, often do not produce much confidence in the public, and this usually prevents some clients from hiring investigative services from inquiry agents.

In 2013, on the other hand, there was a hacking scandal known as the ‘Blue-chip case.’ A number of financial institutions hired the services of some corrupt private detectives to obtain information through illegal means. The information they stole, mainly through computer systems, was bank data, police testimonies and records of telephone calls. The purpose of the illegal investigation, it seems, was related to some plans to affect the reputation of an important public figure that stood between the above mentioned financial institutions (in addition to other individuals) and their own interests.

Read also: All right, you need Online Reputation Management: What now?, by ReputationDefender

In general, one of the main complaints that the investigated people have against private detectives is related to the violation of privacy. The point is that it is difficult to collect valuable information for an investigation that does not break certain legal limits, especially since the information of public knowledge is not usually what interests the investigators. If I, as a client, want to know if my partner is cheating me, a review of my partner’s Facebook profile will not tell me anything that I do not know already. It is necessary to follow my partner, take photos, record videos, listen to conversations … and this may be a legal problem in many cases.

Image courtesy of Alex Giron at

However, what most affects the online reputation of private eyes is the knowledge they have of legal loopholes and dirty methods that can be used to access the information requested by clients, because many investigators have been police officers, or have had some connection with the underworld.

However, there are several private detectives and companies that have a good online reputation and who seek to keep it flawless to attract more customers. At Yelp, it is possible to know if a private detective is reliable or not. In fact, the best ones have five stars, just like a good restaurant or a good dentist. Linked Investigations, for example, is one of the best rated and reviewed investigation company. In their portfolio of services, they offer the possibility to investigate legal issues, individuals or businesses, among others. Like a lawyers’ buffet, this company has a good team with a tight schedule.

Reputation in this business is a vital matter since many of the clients come to PIs after the recommendation of others who have had good experiences, eg in cases of surveillance, background check for selection processes of important companies, or to find missing people that the local police will not seek. Like any business, you should invest time and money in digital marketing and online reputation. For example, the mentioned company has a blog that feeds constantly, allowing them to be in the first Google search results thanks to the successful implementation of SEO techniques.

If you are an inquiry agent or you handle a company that belongs to this business, do not hesitate to hire the services of an online reputation expert. You will not only attract more customers but you can decide what image you want the public to have of your business and your guild. Do not let others take control of what is said about you on the Internet. ReputationDefender is a company with a long history in the world of marketing, search online optimization and online reputation and it may be extremely useful for you.

* Featured Image courtesy of Tom Simpson at

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5 industries that have the most to gain from online reputation

5 industries that have the most to gain from online reputation

It seems that the world can’t make a decision to buy something without checking with the internet beforehand.  We have become a society that has replaced word of mouth for review sites and social media.  Consumers are constantly looking online to see what others think about a company or product just to consider it as an option.  Travelers are depending on TripAdvisor before organizing their itinerary whereas diners are looking up restaurants on Yelp to see if an establishment is worthy of their business or not.  And let’s not forget the millions that log onto Facebook and Instagram to read other people’s comments.  Clearly, public opinions on the internet play a huge role for bringing in new business and maintaining loyal clients.  Even though online reputation is necessary nowadays, there are some industries that rely on it and benefit from it more than others.  ReputationDefender would like to let you in on which ones are more dependent.

1 .Table for two

Restaurants rely heavily on reviews, both through word of mouth and online reviews.  If any industry can benefit a lot from online reputation management, it’s the restaurant industry.  However, this industry’s online reputation management has little to do with traditional manners of handling reputation on the internet.  Instead, it’s everything they do inside the restaurant that can make a tremendous impact on reputation.  A night of bad service can lead to a number of patrons complaining on the internet and putting people off from visiting the restaurant.  Or how about over or undercooked food? That’s something that can also motivate restaurant goers to boycott the place and complain online.

2. Checking in or checking out?

As we mentioned in the beginning, a lot of travelers like to check sites like TripAdvisor before deciding on a hotel.  They will also take to other booking sites and have a look at the comments to see what ratings a hotel has and what the general opinion is like.  And just like restaurants, a lot of a hotel’s reputation depends on what they do when they have guests staying.  Bad room service or a messy room left by housecleaning is enough to have guests go to the internet to vent their frustrations.  Therefore, hotels would be wise to keep tabs on their online reputation to see if they are doing a good job or not.

3 . Watch out for those pesky paparazzi

All celebrities, no matter the craft, must make sure to take care of their online reputation.  Every single thing they do will be under public scrutiny.  Sometimes, celebrities forget that they are role models for millions of people around the world.  If that weren’t enough, they are sponsored by many companies and they have a moral obligation and responsibility to behave themselves on social media.  Any wrongdoing by a celebrity often affects how the general public view the companies which sponsor them.  People in the spotlight often have the most to lose from negative online reputation so they would be wise to ensure the balance doesn’t tip to the side which could cost them a lot of money and fans.

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4. Multinationals on social media

One of the leading strategies proposed by online reputation management firms is to be active on social media.  This is done to show the company’s followers that the company is about more than just business.  Through social media, companies can express their thoughts on what is going on in the industry and provide reliable insight for their readers.  However, sometimes companies feel the need to give an opinion on something that is going on in the world.  This can be a double-edged sword as any comment that doesn’t have to do with the industry could lead to a lot of trouble and a huge hit to online reputation.

5. Leading by example

Our final spot on the list goes to online reputation management firms.  If you are going to dispense advice on how to handle your online reputation, then you better make sure you lead by example.  Those in the online reputation business must make sure that what they are posting helps clients and sets the standard for what ideal online reputation management looks like.  This means being active on social media and having a blog that doesn’t generate controversy.  Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact, it should enlighten people and companies on how to go about it.

Five industries.  Each one with their own way of handling business and each and every one of them needs to handle their online reputation.  Not doing can have different types of impact.  It can be something as manageable as having to deal with negative comments to something as serious as going out of business.  In order to prevent tragedy from striking, businesses in these industries must set the standard for excellence, thus guaranteeing great online reputation.  

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Examining Social Media as a Tool for Reputation Marketing: Ventures, beware!

Examining Social Media as a Tool for Reputation Marketing: Ventures, beware!

We at ReputationDefender understand that getting an in-depth understanding of the full scope of Online Reputation Management —which has been re-interpreted as Reputation Marketing— is perhaps a daunting task, especially for small businesses and ventures. It is completely understandable to see entrepreneurs simply nodding when confronted with the sheer array of different techniques commonly associated with ORM and search engine optimization that have been linked to the possibility of getting more customers and boosting sales. In fact, it is the work in conjunction between all this digital era, avant-garde-ish terminology which results in positive outcomes. It is, therefore, no wonder why business enthusiasts are no less than curious about how other similar small businesses, startups and ventures are using reputation marketing tools alongside social media to thrive.

Saying that social media is a major asset especially for emerging businesses is no less than an obvious assertion. Nonetheless, both social media beginners and experienced users can find helpful information about the latest changes and trends so that they can come up with more accurate reputation marketing strategies. However, it is necessary to clarify that Reputation Marketing strategies can be carried out differently and interchangeably, and given the fact that startups have a myriad of limitations, particularly in terms of budget, this article focuses on the use of social media as a tool for coming up with solid Reputation Marketing strategies. With that being said, the following aspects may come in handy for seizing the full scope of what social media has got to offer in terms of boosting a business’s reputation and sales.

Social Media is no less than critical for Small Businesses

According to a recent survey, near 96% of small businesses and startups seem to be fond of using social media as a tool for developing their reputation; moreover, 92% strongly identify themselves with the assertion: «Social Media Marketing is crucial for any business». Such scenario suggests that companies, irrespective of their size, can benefit themselves with the scope of social media, which has proven to be efficient at different levels of digital marketing.

Facebook clearly dominates startups Reputation Marketing

The majority of the respondents asserted to carry out their Reputation Marketing strategies via Facebook. Alongside Facebook, Twitter also seems to be a strong choice, and in accordance with forecasts, small businesses will continue to base their Reputation Marketing strategies on the rest of social media platforms such as YouTube and LinkedIn. Apparently, Twitter has been gaining on Facebook due to its new advertising opportunities, which will be an interesting property for businesses. The same seems to be happening between Instagram and Pinterest. Given the fact that social media currently serves as the bridge between customers and businesses, this personalized engagement results in a vital asset which ultimately helps companies develop their reputation.

The vast majority of small businesses and marketers ignore if their Facebook efforts are working

Despite the fact that nearly 92% of startups and small businesses are fond of using social media as a tool for coming up with their digital marketing strategies, most also assert that they, in fact, ignore whether the way they have been using the tool is indeed the right one. Simply put: they may not be fully capitalizing on such efforts after all. However, it would be wise to determine what it means to use Facebook and social media «the right way». When it comes to linking the use of social media with startups, small businesses, and ventures, the simplest interpretation would be asserting that social media serves as the most efficient way to build brand awareness and develop solid relationships with customers. This, however, also extends beyond the boundaries of this reification: social media is also a way to bring more leads and sales. Nevertheless, the issue here is the fact that small businesses ignore whether Facebook per se is useful for achieving the goals companies have predetermined.

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Facebook’s domination of the social media marketing spectrum, despite the fact that many startups and ventures seem to be unaware of its impact, is something small businesses ought to pay special attention to: without the perks of having a marketing team constantly coming up with strategies to achieve goals and measure performance, knowing how to incorporate social media with Reputation Marketing strategies becomes key.


Today, reputation is perhaps the most valuable asset in terms of marketing a brand or business can have; however, too many companies, especially small businesses, are unaware of the fact that, given budget limitations, resorting to social media is the best way to develop such asset. Social Media as a tool for developing brand reputation is something that needs to be seized, especially during today’s seismic change in what seems to attract and influence customers to a particular brand or business.

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From ORM to Reputation Marketing: How startups can really thrive in the future

From ORM to Reputation Marketing: How startups can really thrive in the future

Many things have been said about the importance of Online Reputation Management: ORM is perhaps the backbone or the cornerstone of any business seeking to thrive under today’s digital landscape. Moreover, we at ReputationDefender have previously highlighted how, depending on the sector, companies should address the topic; however, as today’s juncture progressively unfolds, it is undeniable that the terms that have normally been associated with the current trends acquire broader connotations, and such is the case of Online Reputation Management.

In short, companies ought to rethink their approach towards what is being normally called Online Reputation Management; in fact, should they desire to thrive and outsmart their competitors in the near future, they might rather consider embracing the evolution of ORM: Reputation Marketing. Reputation Marketing is nothing new, in fact, the concept has been drifting around for decades. Every time entrepreneurs venture into making real their ideas, amongst the myriad of concerns, one always stands out: their online reputation. A brand’s or business’s reputation relies solely on what the audience says, and exerting control over such fact is, to some extent, almost impossible, and that is precisely why startups and entrepreneurs should start considering their ORM as serious as their marketing strategies in order to capitalize on the power of mouth.

We at ReputationDefender have compiled three main aspects that will come in handy in making the transition from ORM to Reputation Marketing. Of course, many people have already mentioned the importance of being on Social Media and being on the first page of Google Results; however, this goes way beyond Social Media Platforms and the good old search engine optimization techniques —reviews on Google, Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, etc.—; instead, the transition focus on the following three points:

Monitoring: be aware of what prospects and customers are saying

Startups and, by extension, entrepreneurs, should have already realized how difficult it is to get an accurate depiction of what their customers are saying, especially when there are a plethora of review sites available and limited budgets. Nonetheless, even though catching an accurate glimpse of what customers are saying is definitely a daunting task for startups and small businesses, it is also most certainly something that has got to be done, for reviews are always vividly consumed by potential customers prior to making up their minds in regard to a particular purchase —and that also applies to the competition.

It is not a secret that whatever customers come across on these review sites absolutely influences their perspectives; besides, it is not a secret either that entrepreneurs tend to be highly biased when trying to assess reality: pragmatism is something that can be developed over time. Monitoring reviews, and making it a habit, is, by all means, the first step. There are plenty of ways to do that without incurring in high expenses. There are lots of automated tools that can aid startups and entrepreneurs in collecting this information; be that as it may, the point is: start monitoring, since this serves as the perfect opportunity for businesses to maximize ever single opportunity to influence prospects.

Acquisition: strive to get more reviews

Although monitoring reviews is a daunting task, getting positive online review is also a tremendous challenge for every business, especially for startups, however, what seems to be a good approach towards it is engaging with customers: ask those seemingly satisfied customers why they did not take the time to write a review and 99% of them will definitely say that they just forgot to do it. Such scenario is compelling enough to get customers through a simple write-a-review process: ask, remind and guide them, but remember: this tactic will only be useful if the business has really earned a good review. That would be the starting point.

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Capitalization: use reviews in the marketing funnel

And since review sites provide customers with enough information for them to evaluate and discover new businesses, the power of mouth a.k.a “social proof” is the main force amid this whole process. Why should customers choose a product or a service over similar ones? Simply because that particular product has proven to be better — and previous customers can account for that. Harness the power of social amplification and have people come across that kind of testimonials, but always remember that such amplification depends on the width of the marketing mix of a particular company —the nature of the business—. In the end that is what Reputation Marketing is about; it is the most valuable asset a startup and business, in general, can have, but in the case of small businesses and new ventures, remaining in the mindset of managing their reputation only when problems arise will always be detrimental.

* Featured Image courtesy of Startup Stock Photos at

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