Feb 12
Online Reputation Management, Ethical or Not?

In this excellent article Computer Weekly explores the subject of Online Reputation Management and asks the question “is it ethical?” As a company that has handled a number of different Online Reputation Management campaigns I have often asked myself the same question.

I believe that you decide whether or not to handle an online reputation management project much in the same way as you decide on which other clients you work with. I have been asked to handle multiple reputation management projects and have walked away from many.

Many SEO’s are probably wondering whether they should they offer this service and to whom. When we are approached by a potential reputation management client we look at the facts. What is being said, how often its been said and by whom. If there is a common theme which is being repeated in many different places then that is a red flag.

In the past we have handled a reputation management project where the negative comments were extreme. However, when we did our research they were all coming from the same IP and could be traced back to one of their competitors. Although on the face of it they seemed to deserve their negative reputation when we analyzed the situation they did not. My advice is to follow your gut, do your homework, and apply the same ethics that you apply to the rest of your business.

The bottom line is that Online Reputation Management is good solid organic SEO incorporating web publicity. Along the same principal that I have of not doing SEO for porn sites – I won’t do reputation management for a company I believe deserves their reputation.

4 Responses

  1. Brett Andrew Borders Says:

    Great post! I totally agree. I decide this on a case by case basis. I do search marketing to help good people get ahead, and not to help scams fleece good people.

  2. Online Reputation Management - Is It Ethical? | RepGuardian Says:

    [...] Downhill looks at the ethical position of online reputation management I believe that you decide whether or not to handle an online reputation management project much in [...]

  3. Nancy Williams Says:

    As online reputation managers, we too have been accused of being ‘manipulative’ (er…manipulate Google at your peril!), silencing free speech (like only one side has a right to say anything?) and being ‘internet cleaners’.

    I have to admit, I fully expected these kind of accusations, but I totally agree with you. Only help those people who you have done your research on, and can or need to be helped. In our case, our conscience and good business sense won’t let us do otherwise. Trying to cover up blatant lies is a bit of a short sighted business decision because the nature of the internet means chances are, it will come back to haunt. Why would we do something like that when we know what makes Web 2.0 tick, namely community, authenticity and transparency?

    A lot of people are quick to judge.

  4. Tigertwotiger » Blog Archive » The Top Online Reputation Management Resources Says:

    [...] Downhill has written a great post on whether Online Reputation Management is Ethical which poses some interesting and very relevant [...]

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