I read an interesting article about how you should forego buying a summer house or new boat until you protect your online reputation. It was written by Chris Abraham; a competitor of mine but I had to give him credit because I had never heard anyone before that really communicated the dangers that lie out there on the web. He writes a compelling case for spending thousands of dollars to protect your online reputation because after the litany of anecdotes he wrote of, he made a great case for “None of us will ever get out of here unscathed”.
He wrote about the damage on the web by the hand of an unscrupulous competitor, (which I’ve written about previously) a personal breakup where your mate goes nuts online about your shortcomings. He wrote about a psychotic former employee, an unconsolable patient, a really upset client and my favorite was the person who decides that you will be their personal jihad. I loved that one, but it did scare the hell out of me and I’m in the business!
Pay Me Now Or Pay Me Later
There’s no need to go on and paraphrase his article of over 1350 words, but it was nice to read someone in my industry that is of the same mind when it comes to deciding whether to protect your online reputation or not to protect it. There used to be an old Fram Oil Filter commercial that became part of the nomenclature; “Pay me now or pay me later”. It was a great commercial but this industry is very similar. You can start protecting your online reputation now or spend a fortune after the proverbial you know what hits the fan.
Chris did say one thing that rang true and should ring true for any of us: “Reputation hates a vacuum”. That is so true. If you have built the web assets to occupy page one of Google with the type of information about you through blogs, websites and social media, then you get to fill that vacuum before the naysayer beats you to it. I’ve been preaching for over a year now that the new breakout industry on the web will be all about how to protect your online reputation and how to manage that in the future. The horror stories are endless and the carcasses of good companies are strewn from coast to coast. We have had two clients change their names in order to get a clean start because of a competitor and an ex wife. I’ve said it before and will reiterate it until I’m blue in the face: “The first liar wins on the web”. It’s a terrible expression but it aptly captures the dilemma. Should I protect my online reputation with a concerted effort or should I keep my head in the sand and never know how much damage that negative content on page one is doing to me, my company, my career and my family?
Should Protect Your Online Reputation Be The Same As Insurance?
It may be similar to buying insurance. Answering the question of should you protect your online reputation may be the same kind of question when it comes to buying insurance. You hope you don’t need it, but the odds are that you will someday. That’s why we pay premiums every month. The thing to keep in mind is that to attack you is free for the enemy. They don’t have to spend a dime and it’s therapeutic for them. They get to rid themselves of some venom and you spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to repair the damage of one tirade.