One of the reasons that my research is so intensive is that the very root element of business I appreciate most is reputation. Unfortunately (and fortunately) reputation affects every business element, crossing over dozens of different objectives and dealing with contamination from both personal and professional sources.
Needless to say, it is incredibly complex.
To help detail how many moving pieces it deals with, the following bullet list provides some of the typical classifications these elements fall into.
Types of sites affecting online reputation
- Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing)
- Image Sharing (Flickr, Photobucket)
- Video Sharing (Youtube, Hulu, Metacafe)
- Microblogs (Twitter, Yammer, Plurk)
- Traditional or mainstream websites (WSJ, USAtoday, CNN)
- Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Digg)
- Consumer Review sites (Yelp, CitySearch, Avvo)
- Sites which allow reviews of individuals (Avvo, Sitestep, RateitAll)
- Social news/bookmarking sites (Digg, Stumbleupon, Sphinn)
- Collaborative Research (Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, Answers.com)
- Industry discussion forums (CNET, Realtown, WSJ)
- Personal Blogs
Reasons to manage online reputation (originally via Wikipedia, additions made)
- Improve customer satisfaction by gaining insights from consumers about what is good and bad about their product or services.
- Increase perceptions of brand by creating opportunities to listen to and engage consumers.
- Gain insights about competitors and their customers’ perceptions about their products and services.
- Maintain shareholder value by mitigating risk by having ears close to the ground where opinions about a business are being formed and propagated.
- Engage in more effective public relations by understanding who the real influencers are.
- Gain understanding of the relationship between user generated content and traditional forms of online media, e.g. news, print, etc.
- Provide early warning systems for reactive and defensive PR.
- Reduce marketing spend by learning how to reach out to customers more cheaply.
- Reduce internal costs by employing services which save time and effort, as well as money.
- Help identify gaps for products and services which can be developed for profitable niche markets.
- Gain insight into online networks and keywords and key phrases found in user-generated content, which can help to bolster natural search results about the person, product, or business.