Archive for the ‘Reputation Management’ Category
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 |
When the internet first became popular, many counseled against shopping online because they believe it would lead to identify theft. While this was certainly true and remains true to this day, there are more ways for a person’s identity to be stolen online then simply providing credit card numbers to fraudulent sites. From time to time, there may be a security breach and hackers are able to get their hands on a list of credit card numbers, but cyber security has improved tremendously, making top consumer sites practically impenetrable. However, identity theft can still happen if a person isn’t careful.
1. Don’t use the same password on every site, especially for email.
Nowadays, people use their email for everything. They receive bills and pay bills electronically and their email is the portal for everything. A person can’t sign up for anything without it leading back to their email. While email servers, such as Google and Yahoo, pay a ton of money to prevent hackers from being able to access email accounts, smaller sites do not. Smaller sites, such as forums, are easily hacked, and if individuals are using the same password on small sites as they are for the important sites, they can end up having their identity stolen. Once someone has access to an email account, they have access to everything. Think about it. How does someone request a new password if they’ve ‘forgotten’ it? It is sent to their email.
2. Read before agreeing.
Often times, sites will have boxes that can be checked that prevent them from sharing personal information. Be sure to only fill out only the required boxes and uncheck the rest.
3. Consider telling a white-lie.
Let’s face it, a number of sites people sign up for on a daily basis have nothing to do with serious matters. If the site doesn’t pertain to something important, where the information needs to be correct, such as with work, consider filling in false information.
4. If wary about shopping online, but can’t seem to avoid it every now and again, consider using credit cards that are only good for that one transaction.
A number of banks have the option to use one-shot credit card numbers that are only good for one use. Obviously this would become overwhelming if an individual shops on a continuous basis, but it is perfect for someone who only wants to do it now and again and is afraid of risking their identity.
5. Avoid links when dealing with serious matters.
If an email comes in from a bank stating there is a problem with an account, don’t click the links provided. Instead, call the bank to gather further information.
6. Be wary of surfing the web.
While everyone loves encountering new and exciting pages, it can put a person’s identity at risk. Not all sites and pages are created equal and some are less protected than others. If there is a lock at the top of the page, it is a secure connection. Never provide sensitive information on a site where a lock doesn’t appear.
7. Limit the information placed on social media sites.
Facebook and Twitter have become an epidemic, and while most individuals using these sites are surrounded by friends and family members, they are still vulnerable to the outside world and can easily fall victim to identity theft.
8. Avoid phishing scams.
Everyone has received the email of the poor man stranded in Africa (or some other foreign land) and needs money to return home because he only has solid bars of gold with him, or some other nonsense story. These are phishing scams and, while this story may not be all that believable, countless fall victim to the stranger’s plight.
9. Beware of entering sensitive information in public places.
It’s surprising how many times account information is stolen from people looking over other people’s shoulders, but it happens frequently.
10. Once it is on the web, chances are it’s there forever.
So, when all else fails, just don’t put sensitive information on the web. Avoid sending emails with important numbers, like account numbers and social security numbers. Be smart when using the internet.
Fergal Glynn is the Director of Product Marketing at Veracode, an application security company that offers dynamic analysis tools.
Friday, January 20th, 2012 |
How would you like it is there was a massive billboard in your city which allowed anyone with a grudge against you to anonymously post defamatory messages and get away with it 100% of the time?
Believe it or not, such a billboard already exists in the form of sites such as pissedconsumer.com, ripoffreport.com, scambook.com, complaintsboard.com, and any online message board. Anyone, be it your competitor, a disgruntled employee, or customer with unrealistic expectations can write whatever they want on these sites. Because the aforementioned sites are powerful, these defamatory comments have a good chance of ranking for your name when you search for it.
Let’s assume the worst and that sites such as pissedconsumer.com and ripoffreport.com are ranking for your name. Although your first instinct may be to send a cease and detest order, the website itself, is protected by the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Trying to sue the poster is possible. However, suing the author for libel may be a very long and expensive battle ending up nowhere, though one which should be considered if you have the resources. If you can prove that published libel caused you significant harm you can go ahead and sue the person. Assuming changing your personal or business name is not possible, what else can you do?
- Put out as much material online as possible, which features your name. The more of it you have, the less chance that sites such as pissedconsumer.com will show up for your name. This material can be in the form of articles, blogs, websites, social media profiles, and videos that have your name in the title. Unfortunately, getting defamation completely off the first page of the search results may take as long as a year. It all depends on how much of it there is. However, the effects of online libel can be mitigated in the short term.
- If you have someone that is out to get you and you know that you are clearly in the right, make a blog, Youtube video, or website that explains the situation. And even if the negative comments are somewhat true, do your best to explain what you did wrong and how you are changing the way you do business. Creating a web property that ranks in the top three of the search results is easy to do. Your job would be to address the online comments in a way that puts you in a favorable light.
Google’s algorithm is constantly changing and the good news for professionals and businesses is that sites such as pissedconsumer.com may be harmed by future Google updates. However, your reputation, which is most likely your most significant asset, should not be left to chance. Take a proactive approach to marketing yourself online now, whether or not defamation is popping up for your name in the search engines.
Nickolay Lamm is an internet marketing specialist who manages InventHelp and InventHelp Scam.
Monday, May 10th, 2010 |
Good news travels fast; bad news travels faster. Recent spurt in cases of rampant, and sometimes baseless, negative online publicity has affected brand image of many companies. In 2005, a single post by a blogger criticizing Dell’s support services pulled down the company’s reputation by a couple of notches. The corporate world is waking up to the necessity of playing an active role in online reputation management.
Online Reputation Management involves not only analyzing all that is being written about your brand online but also repairing any damage found and constructing a positive image. A successful ORM campaign should involve public relations and search engine marketing. You have to ensure that good things are being said about you on various websites and these websites get top search engine rankings.
How to monitor/track your online reputation
Regular monitoring of online media will help you keep tabs on your public perception. It will also alert you in cases of copyright violations, competitor smear campaigns, domain squatting, etc.
There are many online tools you can use to keep one step ahead and take immediate action. Google Alerts is the most popular monitoring tools that will track and inform you if your brand name comes up in news, feeds, videos, blogs and web results. There are blog-specific search tools like Technorati and Feedster. Twitter Search and Social Mention can also help you catch the buzz about you in social networking sites.
How to repair your online reputation
With the growth of user-generated media like blogs, Tweets and Yelps, the chances of creating negative publicity have also increased. The first step towards tackling negative comments is to create your real presence in popular consumer-generated websites. Responding to your critics on these sites will build trust around your brand. In cases of inaccurate projections, you can request the comment authors to pull down their posts by giving substantial evidence.
Press releases can be posted on popular press release submission sites. Expert articles pertaining to your industry can be submitted to reputed sites with back-link to your website.
You can also buy domains with your brand name (for example if your company is called blush, blush.com, blush.net or blushsucks.com are some domain names you can book) to prevent people with malicious intent misusing them against you.
Not to keep picking on Dell (I’m using a Dell computer right now), but here is a negative site that could have been snagged to prevent bad publicity: http://www.ihatedell.net/.
Sometimes, repair can be a long-drawn exhaustive process. Companies often use search engine optimization techniques to push down negative websites and increase the visibility of websites with positive content.
How to improve your online reputation
An important step in improving online reputation is creation of positive sentiments through various content platforms. This means you have to fully use your online assets. Start by optimizing your corporate website so that it gets top search engine rankings.
Leverage your relationship with your partners to include information about your company on their websites. Set up and maintain blogs that highlight your products, customer testimonials, services and company-related news. This idea involves grabbing as many of the search engine results as possible on the first page of search results. Using high ranking partners will help tremendously.
A proactive online reputation management initiative goes a long way in helping people and companies. It’s one of the best tools to gather useful feedback from customers. In cases of complaints, it gives companies a chance to take early action and prevents build up of a sudden crisis. Above all, what makes ORM a critical business strategy is the role it can play to influence a rapidly growing force called the online media.