Online Reputation Management DOES matter 32

So, I wake up this morning and see a post written by Darren Slatten completely dismissing the importance of Online Reputation Management. And, I found the post a little comedic at best, so, I’ll give him a little bit of credit for that, but, one thing I won’t give him credit for is researching the topic. Now, I am not going to attack Darren personally or professionally, because I haven’t worked with him, nor do I know his abilities, and, it’s just not my place to do so. This is just a post telling you why Online Reputation Management is EXTREMELY important.

Why Online Reputation Management is important

For companies and individuals alike, there is a major need for reputation management. It’s the reason that conferences have panels specifically on the topic. That reason is that individuals and businesses alike can be affected by negative reputation. This isn’t just an issue of popularity either, it’s an issue of brand perception, an individuals brand perception, or even the ability to be hired/fired from a job.

Having Online Reputation Management concerns can cause revenue losses and/or income.

I really want to state that if you have not dealt with this or have no experience in understanding the Reputation Management space, then please, do not write about why it is not important.

Who are these people?!

Rather than continuing to tell you why ORM is so important, I’ll answer the question you might ask: “who are the people or companies that care about online reputation management?” Lets run through a few of these right here to provide a better understanding of why ORM is important:


An organization with a CEO that has negative perceptions in the press or social atmosphere can lead to the organization or the brand of that organization having negative sentiments or perceptions. I’m not just talking about the SERPs here, but, in terms of Social Mentions in blogs, microblogs, and/or news results that surround that individual. Did you know 87% of people believe a CEO’s reputation reflects on the overall company’s reputation?

Political Figures

Think about the number of times have you seen a political figure that gets tons of bad press and has led to the downfall of his/her campaign or election/re-election to office. Social Media is now playing a part in the political climate and because of that we saw now President Obama reach millions of people.

But, to take this to the next level, lets look at an example that deals with President Obama. How many of you can say you know that he is a smoker? (Now, I am not judging him on this, but using it as a point of reference). This was downplayed a ton during the elections again because of the fact that his team did not want to create a negative perception of the candidate during the elections. This becoming an issue could have, hypothetically, led to the loss of many votes, especially from anti-cigarette and anti-smoking groups.

Companies and Brands

Companies and the brands of those companies alike experience the most pain when it comes to reputation management. Something that is a hard fact: Companies and Brands with negative search results tied to brand related queries will see a drop in revenue because a user/customer is likely to switch products/services based on that negative result. Even more interesting is that queries relative to corporate figures will also lead to a dip in revenue/sales. It’s estimated that 58% of searchers will visit a competing website after seeing negative search results.

An example of this is tied to PayPal and my experience working there. PayPal saw 4 of it’s top 10 search results tied to the brand query “paypal” go to flame sites. Working internally, there was an estimated figure in net revenue losses per negative search result. That is where that 58% number above comes in…because of this negative reputation caused by search results, users were switching.


Celebrities make the news all the time for the stupid things that they do. Whether it is someone driving drunk or who’s sleeping with who, it is all things that affect their personal brand. And, in this case, their personal brand is like that of a business, their personal brand is the most important thing to their livelihood.

Because I am all about examples, lets continue down that path and look at the sports figure that we all know I can’t stand: Kobe Bryant. He was accused of raping a girl in a hotel room back in 2003/2004. Luckily for Bryant this was during a time when Social Media was not as prominent, but, unluckily for Bryant it still effected him financially. He lost endorsement deals from companies like Nike because of the negative press and negative reputation.

The Job Market

The economic climate is horrible at the moment. Unemployment is at astonishing highs and it’s tough to find a job right now. Now, to add to that, recruiters and HR teams are getting saavier and understanding Search and Social Media extremely well. What does that mean for you? It means that Online Reputation Management is important to your personal brand. Because, not only are they looking, but 78% of recruiters research a candidate online and 35% actually reject a candidate based on this. Andy Beal even wrote a post on why your Google Reputation can hurt your career.

Creating a personal brand is even more important as researchers and experts in the job market reference this all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’m watching CNN, (and let me tell you, I caught a lot of it while I only had a few channels the last couple months!), and these experts mention Facebook, Google, search, and your personal brand being EXTREMELY important, not just now during economic uncertainty, but, forever.

Don’t be silly, Online Reputation Management does matter:

Again, this is another situation where we have someone that is creating a post that is possibly baiting for reactions or what not. Or, we have another person in the industry that is writing something without actually researching the topic. But, please please please people, if you have no experience or expertise on a topic, then stay away from writing it, it just makes you look like you haven’t done your research. And, if you look at the stats above, then it’s pretty obvious that ORM does matter.

**Credit for ORM stats goes to Marketing Pilgrim and Oilman.

32 thoughts on “Online Reputation Management DOES matter

  1. Reply Arif Gangji Apr 23, 2009 9:08 am

    It absolutely matters, unless you just don’t care what people think, say, or do.

    But if you are selling any type of product or service, then you need to care if you plan on growing your business and creating customer loyalty.

    The paypal example is great…If you have 1,000′s of thankful clients but a handful of ex-clients that just want to disturb the peace, you don’t want your reputation hinging on the minority percentages.

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  3. Reply Ryan Rose Apr 23, 2009 9:28 am


    I have to agree. Granted, I could see what Darren was attempting to do, but he has overlooked an important part of “brand or reputation management”. Even the appearance of a negative post can have undesirable consequences.

    Now the true test is to see if he can bury that post in the SERPs.


  4. Reply Andy Beal Apr 23, 2009 9:43 am

    Darren’s post is comical, but I wonder if one day he’ll beg Rand to take it down. Lots of people don’t actually bother to click and read negative Google listings, so it could backfire. Then again, when you read the post, you might assume that it would just add to the reputation Darren’s building. :-)

    PS. Thanks for the shout out!

  5. Reply Rebecca Kelley Apr 23, 2009 12:09 pm

    “Darren’s post is comical, but I wonder if one day he’ll beg Rand to take it down.”

    I doubt it. :)

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  7. Reply Todd Mintz Apr 23, 2009 2:50 pm

    Very little is more important than Online Reputation Management.

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  9. Reply Donna White Apr 23, 2009 6:10 pm

    I just recently did a blog post about how a CEO’s twitter stream and then a blog from an irate ex-employee completely contradicted the image conveyed in his co. website bio. I was considering serving as a search consultant for the company but bowed out.

  10. Reply Darren Slatten Apr 23, 2009 11:26 pm


    My post may have been a little “comedic” at best, but your post here is downright hilarious. I especially liked the parts where you mentioned me by name and alluded to the possibility that I lack expertise and neglect research. This whole piece was just SO much fun, from start to finish! In fact, I was so entertained by it that sometimes I’d forget what we were even talking about. Luckily, you inserted this post’s targeted keyword phrase in every paragraph… and bolded them too!

    Seriously though… why would you invite hostility from someone like me into your life? Clearly, you are the one that needs to do some research.

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  12. Reply Fran Apr 24, 2009 5:20 am

    I completely agree…your own online reputation certainly does matter. Whether you are looking for a job or have a successful company. A study by found that 1 in 3 HR managers are now looking online for applicants!!

  13. Reply Tony Adam Apr 24, 2009 8:15 am

    Darren, well played, but, keep in mind, the post doesn’t say YOU lack experience or expertise…and…i made it clear that I wasn’t questioning your abilities…rather…highlighting the research around ORM…I don’t take shots at people…

    Secondly, if you had done your research, but, didn’t highlight it, then, i stand corrected…otherwise, let the point be made and move on with life.

    p.s. there was no welcoming of hostility…i’ve done my research :)

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  15. Reply Darren Slatten Apr 25, 2009 1:15 am

    Unfortunately, you and I have different definitions of what it means to “take shots at people.” You could have easily written a post about the importance of reputation management WITHOUT mentioning me or my post and WITHOUT suggesting–either literally or through your tone–that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    You “took the first shot” the moment you mentioned my name, and your written disclaimers have failed to divert my attention away from the underlying disrespectful tone.

    For the record, no, of course I didn’t research reputation management before writing my post. Do you seriously not understand the difference between informative posts and personal opinions? Even if I WAS stating my opinions as facts–which I clearly wasn’t–that still doesn’t change what I actually wrote into “reputation management doesn’t matter.”

    Essentially, you made a conscious decision to challenge me, and while doing so, you misinterpreted my post, incorrectly paraphrased its message, and then criticized me for not doing any research to support claims I never even made.

    So… no, Tony, I will not move on with life. Instead, I will begin researching my newest obsession: you.


    Darren Slatten

    P.S. I escaped from my first mental hospital when I was 15–a magical year that gave me both the desperation and the flexibility to perform oral sex on myself. I’ve tortured more than my fair share of small, helpless animals, and one time I caught a wild rat with my bare hands and killed it by throwing it at the ground. When I was 23, I used a razor blade to cut a vertical line across my eye, because I thought facial scars looked cool. When it started to heal without scarring, I reopened the cut with a dull pocket knife, hoping it would increase the amount of scar tissue. But it didn’t. =(

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  17. Reply Joe Apr 29, 2009 1:29 pm

    It looks to be a well researched article. I personally feel that Online Reputation Management has become an important part for the promotion of our Product/Organization. We can’t ignore its value.
    I have used a tool AirCheese. Its a good one for ORM. I recommend this.

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  29. Reply Charlene Burke May 14, 2009 7:28 am

    Excellent post Tony. Business owners and CEOs understand the value and importance of image and appearance. The general public is influenced by what others say – therefore a company or person’s reputation is looked upon as an indicator of whether someone wants to do business with them. Those who scoff and spend time noting their scoffing online are doing reputation management. Isn’t developing a ‘bad’ reputation in need of just as much management as developing a ‘good’ one? So, though your post was about developing and maintaining a ‘good’ online presence and protecting a ‘good’ reputation while combatting ‘bad’ online comments or reviews, the other side is just as valid – it all boils down to what you’re selling.

  30. Reply Brennan May 28, 2009 12:39 pm

    I think more and more people are starting to realize the power Google has over your reputation whether it be good or bad. I know many companies find negative results when they search their name or their companies name and that is never a good thing. The industry in the UK is at about 60 million last year which was a 30% jump from the year before. It should be an exciting and emerging industry.

  31. Reply Ben Nov 6, 2009 2:17 pm

    Excellent post. Execunet just did a study that revealed that 83% of job recruiters research their applicants online. 83 percent! Your online reputation is important now more than ever.

  32. Reply gerald | link company Dec 14, 2009 8:27 pm

    In this business, there is a major need for reputation management. Having a good reputation is the basis of your customers’ preference of choosing you. What they see or hear is what they will believe. So it’s a good thing that they will have a good impression on you.

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