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Search me: online reputation management

27/05/2013 20:42

Past scandals, bad photos, critical comments: the internet has a long memory. As the EU considers the 'right to be forgotten', we investigate the growing business of online reputation management – and learn how you can airbrush your own past.
A few weeks ago, I Googled a pub to find out where it was. I clicked on the map that came up, for a larger view of the surrounding area. To the left of the map, under the pub's address and phone number, was a single quotation from a customer. "I had to wait 40 minutes for my chips!" it said.
The pub, which is part of a large chain, clearly had a problem: a bad review – a complaint, really – was the first thing that greeted potential customers, some of whom, like me, only wanted directions. Had I not arranged to meet people there, I might have looked for another pub. I don't want to wait 40 minutes for my chips.
This 21st-century problem now has its own solution: online reputation management. Businesses and brands are increasingly seeking the services of companies that specialise in tidying up search engine results. The effect of a terrible review, a critical blog, an unflattering link or a rant from a disgruntled ex-employee sitting in one of the top 10 Google spots can be devastating for a business as click-through rates plummet. Obviously some companies have the online reputation they deserve, but an unjustified, malicious or obsolete complaint may linger for years, blighting every new query.

Source: https://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/may/24/search-me-online-reputation-management

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