Why did you get into online reputation management?
I saw a number of people on freelancer sites asking for help dealing with slander and defamation online. After accepting a few projects and successfully completing them I felt there was a larger need for online reputation management services.
How long have you been in the business?
Reputation Advocate was established in September 2009. Since then we have served just over 100 clients. I currently serve as Chief Strategist.
What do you plan to do in 2015?
We are developing more relationships with well known media outlets which will allow us to get our clients more traditional PR while working on their online reputation. We are also helping more businesses establish more reviews by offering our SaaS solution, The Review Solution.
What's been your biggest obstacle in the last 3 years?
The search engines are certainly the biggest obstacle. They have been responding to a lot of reputation issues within their results pages. Google released their Mugshots update, which hurt the rankings of sites setup to extort people by displaying their mugshot and demanding money to take it down. They also updated their algorithm so that sites with bad online reputations did not rank well.Both Google and Bing were forced by the European Union and Argentina to begin censoring results when requested to under the Right to be Forgotten law.
These have all made a positive impact on online reputations. However, they are still ranking consumer complaint sites, which have no validation measures in place, extremely highly including the highly controversial Yelp. The fact that there is no validation to submitted complaints means that anyone can post anything they want, and it will rank highly for company and individuals names.
If you could leave our readers with one piece of business advice, what would it be?
Proactively begin building your online reputation today. If you don't, someone else will control your search results. You can't please every single customer and the internet has become a medium for consumers to express their anger for the world to see. One negative posting could end up costing your business greatly.