Managing the company's online image is a new business for former business partners

    In the era of blogs and digital media, when news spreads over the Internet at the speed of sound, any commercial company can irrevocably lose its reputation within a few days. One scandal is enough - and information about it will reach absolutely everyone who uses the Internet and can read. There have already been precedents. For example, in September 2004, the manufacturer of the prestigious bicycle locks Kryptonite was ridiculed when it was reported that the “highly reliable” locks of this company can be opened in a few seconds . Detailed instructions instantly circled through all specialized forums and blogs.

    The unsuccessful company had to take emergency measures and change 400,000 locks for free in 21 countries of the world. Until now, the company has not recovered from the financial crisis, and the uncontrolled blogosphere is to blame.

    What to do in such a situation? How to prevent the spread of bad rumors and manage your online image? This problem is being solved by specialists of a new profile, and the technology itself resembles SEO optimization, but only in real time and on the material of social media and the blogosphere. Lately, managing online reputation has become a very fashionable profession . But the question arises: how legal and ethical is this?

    Monitoring social media, consumer research through analysis of online content, marketing intelligence and SMO, that is, Social Media Optimization - all these terms are used to describe a new type of business. While most directors are afraid to trust new technologies and turn to similar specialists, but there are those who seek to get ahead of time and gain an advantage over competitors. The most advanced of them already place orders. For example, the world's largest IT corporation Microsoft has hired several companies to conduct pilot projects in the field of monitoring online image. Among the contractors are Visible Technologies and others.

    Typical Newfangled Businesses - ReputationHawk.com andBuildtelligence - Provide their customers with complete and comprehensive online reputation management. This is quite expensive: a campaign lasting 6-12 months will cost from $ 15 thousand to $ 100 thousand. The

    work of specialists is hard. They say that it is especially difficult to clean up negative information from Wikipedia. Another problem is that Google values ​​Wikipedia content very highly, although not as highly as before.

    The above companies in this market are adjoined by a completely different class of firms, the so-called "linguists". They are engaged in the collection and content analysis of posts on forums and blogs. Serious experts in the field of linguistics work there, at the level of doctors and candidates of sciences. Together with programmers, they create programs for automatic text analysis with an assessment of the emotional level of each comment on a scale, for example, from +10 (admired) to -10 (angry).

    There are also companies that specialize solely in removing inappropriate content from online. In such offices, usually teams of lawyers are involved in the distribution of letters to authorities. They quickly achieve the desired result through hosting providers, site owners and forums. Usually, one well-written letter threatening to sue is enough.

    Human rights activists and representatives of consumer protection societies can arbitrarily insist that the existence of all of the above firms is an attempt to play a dishonest game, manipulate public opinion and deceive consumers, but this will not reduce such firms as long as there is demand for their services .

    via Computerworld

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