The Public Relations Strategist

Fighting Back: When the Internet threatens your company’s reputation and viability

Publication Date: 2009, Summer

Source: SO02 Public Relations Strategist
Product Code: 6K-030908
Organization/Author/Firm: Merrie Spaeth
Specialization(s): Crisis Management / Reputation Management
Tactics: Internet
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There are a growing number of monitoring, reputation management and search engine optimization (SEO) services to help you track the vast universe of blogs and review sites. These services are excellent for identifying a problem early before it becomes too big.

Speed is the key to mitigating the damage. More review Web sites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Citysearch and Marchex’s Open List, enable businesses to respond directly to criticism or poor reviews. And the quicker the better.

While monitoring can catch slanderous or misleading comments by disgruntled former employees, competitors or anyone else with an ax to grind, the problem rests with the ability to post anonymously on the Internet, which encourages people to say things that they wouldn’t say if they could be identified.

But the bigger threat here is the traditional news media — newspaper, television and magazine reporters are relying more on the Internet for story leads. This kind of coverage legitimizes the complaints.

So what lessons have businesses learned so far about countering Internet attacks?