Module 14: Online Reputation Management
Reputation management refers to the influencing and controlling of an individual’s or group’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the growth of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made search results a core part of an individual’s or group’s reputation. Online reputation management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, focuses on the management of product and service search website results. Ethical grey areas include mug shot removal sites, astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints, and using search engine optimization tactics to influence results.
Online reputation management focuses on the management of product and service search results within the digital space. A variety of electronic markets and online communities like e-Bay, Amazon and Alibaba have ORM systems built in and using effective control nodes these can minimize the threat and protect systems from possible misuses and abuses by malicious nodes in decentralized overlay networks. Reputation is a social construct based on the opinion other people hold about a person or thing. Reputation effects success anytime group interaction is involved.
ORM includes search engine reputation management which is designed to counter negative search results and elevate positive content. Some businesses have adopted unethical means to falsely improve their reputations.
Specifically, reputation management involves the monitoring of the reputation of an individual or a brand on the internet, addressing content which is potentially damaging to it and using customer feedback to try to solve problems before they damage the individual’s or brand’s reputation. A major part of reputation management involves suppressing negative search results while highlighting positive ones. For businesses, reputation management usually involves an attempt to bridge the gap between how a company understand itself and how others view it.
The online retailer Amazon.com sued 1,114 people who were paid to publish fake five-star reviews for products. These reviews were created using a website for microtasks, Fiverr.com. Several other companies offer fake Yelp and Facebook reviews.
Why do we need to manage our online reputations?
Online reputation management counteracts that human bias for gossip, ensuring that the materials that actually matter aren’t overwhelmed by the rumours.
This need will always exist. In fact, it’s probably going to get more and more important to manage our online reputations as search engines and other online algorithms become a bigger part of everything we do.