I am not sure if every individual and business person has noticed but the internet has been penetrating our lives to the core. What were once only stories, hearsay and random opinions have become first page news on the internet and good, bad or indifferent it shows up there without your permission or any significant investigation or due diligence by the posting party or the companies who post. Your life or what some random person suggest is your life is now front page news on all the search engines and billions of people read it, normally before you even find out about it. The insanity of all this is in most cases you find out sometime after the fact usually when what has been posted has a negative effect on you. The unfortunate outcome is humans are close to being slaves to the technology.
Every activity of yours is being tracked, with or without permissions. It is scary to think but the facts are real and every passing day there are traces of your presence left behind on the web. And like the famous Justin Timberlake song 'What goes around...Comes around', all the data & meta data will one day come back to you, playing your life in front of you like a Sci-Fi thriller movie. The script will be something someone else wrote unless you start taking control of your digital self.
Some might want to sit back and enjoy the show and maybe at time guess what’s coming next. And a guess is exactly what they will be doing, they do have control of what shows up as their daily footprint in life. Unfortunately, the piece that many miss is someone else probably has control of their digital footprint and the real and the digital today may have not as much in common as it should or as a friend of mine used to say, “Never the twain shall meet”. In the middle of this digital maze and that place called your digital story you may think you have guessed the end correctly; the sometimes painful conclusion is you may be taken by surprise. A surprise which you never saw coming. You might be able recollect the events which led to this, but you are helpless and cannot alter the end until you know something about defending your online reputation.
Professional Online Reputation Management (ORM) service is that inevitable tool which gives you charge of the story that has been created online. It tracks all traces of your activities triggered intentionally or unintentionally which keep floating in the web. At times the propagation may be passive or at times active i.e. being pushed to the target audience by a specific community or anonymous source. If the message is positive, there is no better PR activity that you could have done but if it’s negative, you will end up paying a price you never thought possible. Businesses as well individuals nowadays are facing the repercussions of being careless in managing content being generated on the web against them.
The facts are in and daily there are blue collar and white collar men and woman fighting life’s elements in an effort to secure that prefect job or in many cases just a job only to find out their background verification check screams problems. Sadly much of the negative information is not true even worse some of the results are identifying another John Doe with your exact name and what is hurting you at this exact moment is actually someone else’s digital crap. Reputation libel has no boundaries and no guidelines so every individual or company is fair game.
Here is a sad example, Yelp, Rip-Off Report, Pissed Consumer all these self-proclaimed keepers of the truth can shut down a 100 year old family business that helps grandmothers cross the street and gives them free rides to their doctor’s appointment simply with one stroke from their pen. A person that got mad for a moment and wrote something that probably only has a touch of the hard truth and instead a lot of anger and I’ll show you who is boss written in its content can destroy that perfect company with a nasty comment and these so called keepers of the truth allow it to happen every day. Without investigation, without due Diligence, without any concern for the company or the individual just like a terrorist they sneak up and drop a bomb on you, your family, your business and anything else that stands in the way.
This new world of Online Reputation Management services is amongst the best possible way to paint the picture the way you want on the web. In many cases an ORM company not only removes unwanted and negative search results but also fills in the void with desirable content for the audience.
Undoubtedly, prevention is better than cure. So, no matter if you are an individual or an organization, controlled online activity is always the best way to avoid unwanted web content. At MERG digital we offer controlled review and analysis that keeps you ahead of the competition or on a personal level in a clean place with you in control of your digital profile.
Sadly with the good news most always comes the not so good? There are so many companies marketing themselves as ORM Experts charging outrageous fees, making despicable promises never meant to be kept and offering testimonials that are as false as their promises. Almost always a monthly fee because it take 60 to one hundred and fifty trillion years for their process to work, they say nothing comes off the internet immediately and are able to get your money until you finally figure out you have been paying their car payment in that $325 to $995 monthly fee for the last 120 days and realize nothing has changed on your reputation and chances are nothing will.
Here are some guidelines that may save you a few dollars and some grey hairs. Firstly let’s start with the facts, the statement is correct when you are told nothing comes off your search engine reputation profile immediately. (In some very rare cases we have been able to do that but normally it included winning a law suit and presenting that court certified documentation to the search provider). Other than that or possibly some Black Hat unapproved approaches it takes time. This is what an ORM person / company should offer immediately.
· Good, positive information to post under your name. Yes, articles that talk of all your good attributes, articles that discuss the negative information and offer an explanation. Keep in mind the companies that post the negative comments do offer a place for you to present your side of the situation but they still leave the bad comments up on the internet as the lead story instead of your logical (REAL) response. Bad News sells more that the good stuff. That is why you have your ORM team write articles with bold headlines that move those negative headlines down the page and ultimately off the page which they should be filling with positive information. It may not be perfect if they only move the negative comments off of page one to page 3, 4 or 10 but believe me most people will only look at the first few pages when checking you out and if it is on page 5 it loses lots of its power for the reader.
· Ask the ORM professional what addresses they sent their letters too when attempting to remove those negative comments. If it is YELP ask to what division they sent the letter and please show me a copy of the letter for my files. It is just too easy for an ORM person so say we have sent off letters to the company. REMEMBER I hate to say this but if the information does not come off your online profile, you will continue to pay monthly to get it removed. There are more honest professionals in ORM than dishonest I believe but it is a new profession and lots are in the field that should not be. Get copies of everything and confirm where possible there is such a person at the company like YELP to confirm the ORM Company is doing their job.
· If the ORM has a direct line to the company chances are they can get the negative information off pretty quick. If they say it could take months ask for your money back they are lying. If you can reach the company and the correct person or division you should have a response within 7 to 10 days. Once you have the letter verifying it was a mistake from the company who posted the wrong or incorrect information you can send that off to the search engine provider and usually within 30 days or less it should be removed. (Note some search engines move slow or want almost an unreasonable amount of proof to remove a post but stay strong and continue to forward the letter with contact information for them to be able call the provider also.
· Within 60 days and normally less than that you should start seeing the positive information start showing up all over the search engines and I am talking about it being on page one and page two and 3 if the ORM expert is worth their salt. We can get positive articles on the internet about you or your company within a few weeks. And more than just one article but lots of information.
· Stay on top of your ORM people, if 60 or at most 90 days has passed and you see no real change then they are just taking your money.
When looking for a good Online Reputation Management company to assist with all the negative issues or to hire as a monthly consultant to stay on top of your company’s reputation be sure to find one that has a quick start game plan. You have to get on top of the negatives immediately, the longer it stays on the internet, the harder it is to get off. The search providers will say why today is it so important to remover and not for the last 3 years? Think good content to replace or override the negative.
Here are MERG Digital, we use a local SEO solution along with providing analytics to highlight key issues and simultaneously provide the best possible solution to overcome the web calamity knocking on your door. So the next time you, suddenly witness an alarming drop in product queries in your business or lesser number of views on your profile on a job portal, remember there might be virtual forces working against you. Take control of your Online Reputation Management and if you want to reach out to the professionals professional call MERG Digital 310 945 7414, I will be more than happy to review your situation and assist in coming up with a resolution to your problem..
By Gary Monroe and Bill Greenberg, MERG Digital
Media Contact :-
MERG Digital Marketing the Revolution
14431 Ventura Blvd. Suite 104
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Phone & Fax :- 310-945-7414
Website :- http://www.mergdigital.com/
Email :- firstname.lastname@example.org