The Reputation Economy: Safeguarding your most valuable asset in the age o…


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In its early days the Internet was often referred to as “the wild West” due to the lack of standards governing it. Though the Internet is somewhat more uniform these days, one thing still harkens back to the days of cattle ranchers and train robbers is reputation. In the age of Google, reputations can be ruined by those with genuine grievances and those with grudges alike. Would you know how to defend your reputation or that of your institution should it come under fire? Join Kimberley Barker for a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of life in the reputation economy, and learn about practical steps that you can take to safeguard your good name.

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The Reputation Economy: Safeguarding your most valuable asset in the age o…

  1. 1. The Reputation EconomyMANAGING YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY IN THE AGE OF GOOGLE Kimberley R. Barker, MLIS Manager for Technology Education & Computing Claude Moore Health Sciences Library University of Virginia
  2. 2. Note Though I used lots of resources when doing research for this presentation, I am especially indebted to Fertik & Thompson’s Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier
  3. 3. In this presentation: Background on this class Defining the “reputation economy” What is “Google Truth”? How does Google work? Defining online reputation management services  Individual  Corporate Establishing a reputation management plan Understanding the real-life ramifications of reputation damage Reputation restoration Further resources
  4. 4. Background Way back in 2009…  There was a Facebook class taught by Library faculty In 2010…  I created a class called “Your Online Identity”  Focused on  Privacy/security  What info was available (freely & for a price) about you • Physical • Financial • Arrests  How to find this information  How to remove this information
  5. 5. Background In 2011…  Updated the Online Identity class  More info on the “deep web”In 2012… Updated the Online Identity class • More info on reputation management• In 2013… Created the Reputation Economy class
  6. 6. What is the “reputation economy”? Refers to the way in which the standing of a product/person/institution/business is shaped by the contributions of end users. “wisdom of crowds”  Nothing new to humans  Changes in technology mean that we use computers instead of the telephone or writing letters
  7. 7. Your own habits How many of you Google the following?  Job candidates  Dates  Children’s friends/counselors/teachers  Doctors  Products  Hotels  Restaurants• How much are you influenced by what you find?
  8. 8. How would you react to an attack on your reputation?Toni & Candace respond to a bad review on Yelp
  9. 9. Incidentally… Recent report on Yelp ratings by Harvard Business School assistant professor Michael Luca: a one-star increase in the rating of an independent restaurant leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.  les/12-016.pdf
  10. 10. Google is KingData from Hitwise,1/21/2012
  11. 11. “Google Truth” Defined as the automatic acceptance of Google results as an accurate representation of reality Well… “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet” - Abraham Lincoln
  12. 12. How Google works (1 of 7) Google is comprised of three distinct parts  Googlebot  Indexer  Query processor• Each part has its own specific and unique function.
  13. 13. How Google works (2 of 7) Googlebot  Composed of 1000’s of computers engaged in parallel processing:  Requests & retrieves 1000’s of different pages simultaneously; does this two ways  “Add URL” forms  Find links via web crawling • Fresh crawls • Deep crawls
  14. 14. How Google works (3 of 7) Indexer  Receives full texts of pages from Googlebot; stores them in databases  Index sorts search terms alphabetically  Ignores“stop words”  Converts all text to lower-case  Each entry in index stores list of documents with that search term and also the location within the text of that search term
  15. 15. How Google works (4 of 7) Query processor  Multiple parts  Search box  “engine” that evaluates searches & matches to relevant documents  Results formatter
  16. 16. How Google works (5 of 7)
  17. 17. How Google works (6 of 7) (It’s a popularity contest… sort of) PageRank  Link analysis algorithm  Page with higher rank displays higher in results list  Google uses over 100 factors to determine rank  How is PR calculated?  Basically,the more times that a page is linked to determines its PR  Built from this algorithm, which is used iteratively: • PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
  18. 18. How Google works (7 of 7)
  19. 19. Other algorithms Google Panda  Released in February 2011  Downgraded sites w/ poor user experiences Google Penguin  Downgraded rankings of sites that use “black hat” techniques that trick the PageRank algorithm Latest update in January 2013  Update to Google Panda• Google has committed to updating its algorithm 500 times during the 2013 calendar year
  20. 20. Why did I just spend 7 slides on Google? If you understand how Google works, you will understand how to:  Positively increase your online presence  Monitor your reputation  Formulate a basic reputation restoration plan  Understand when you need to seek professional help
  21. 21. What is ORM (online reputation management)? Basically, “…the practice of making people and businesses look their best on the Internet.” WWW.REPUTATION.COM For whom is this service?  Individuals  Professionals  Institutions•Who can perform this service? •Reputation management professionals •People just like you
  22. 22. ORM is big business “American companies will spend $2.2 billion in 2012 for "reputation and presence management," according to Jed Williams, senior analyst for BIA / Kelsey, a media-consulting firm based in Chantilly, Va.By 2015, that sum will grow to $5 billion, says Williams.”  “Can you erase your online blunders? With effort, and luck, its possible”; Lacitis, Erik; Seattle Times; July 29, 2012
  23. 23. Should individuals/institutions bother with ORM? In my opinion, if you aren’t monitoring your reputation in the same way that your monitor your credit, you’re: INSANE
  24. 24. Pew Internet & American Life’sInternet & Health Report 2012 lth-and-Internet-2012.aspx
  25. 25. Some online healthcare ranking sites HealthGrades
  26. 26. Some healthcare online rating sites RateMDs
  27. 27. Yelp again Study shows high Yelp rating correlates with better Hospital outcomes  Bardach NS, Asteria-peñaloza R, Boscardin WJ, Adams dudley R. The relationship between commercial website ratings and traditional hospital performance measures in the USA. BMJ Qual Saf. 2012.  outcomes/
  28. 28. Establishing a reputation management plan Begin monitoring your online presence  Good  Search for your name at least once per month  Best • Create a search alert for your name•Check your privacy settings on all social media •Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc•Feed your online presence with positive content •Blogging, Tweeting, profile sites, YouTube, professional directories, newsletters, etc.
  29. 29. Search results for me
  30. 30. Establishing a reputation management plan• Beaware of who might be looking for informationabout you•Think about to what sites Google will directsearchers •E.g., those searching for information on doctors will be directed to sites such as HealthGrades, RateMDs, etc •Accept the fact that no information does NOT equal a positive image and in fact can be viewed with suspicion
  31. 31. Reputation Restoration First steps  You will be hurt, scared, and angry. Take some time to process your emotions.  Tell your family and trusted friends. You will need their support to get through this.  Realize that you are not the first person whose reputation has been damaged- you are not alone.  Realize that there exist tools to restore your good name.  Assess the damage; if severe, consult a professional reputation management consultant immediately. Accept that you cannot repair the damage on your own and that the issue won’t just go away.  DO NOT respond with posts of your own.
  32. 32. Reputation Restoration (information drawn from Chapter 12 of Wild West 2.0) Understand the problem Make a plan Implement the plan
  33. 33. Understand the problem (WW 2.0, Chapter 12)• What is the extent of the problem? Perform an online reputation audit (see Chapter 10 of WW 2.0) Comb carefully through first three pages of Google results, and then skim the next seven.• Find the source of negative content • Use an Internet archive provider to check the URL’s of negative content. Try to determine where it began.• Determine whether it is accidental or deliberate • accidental- “name collision”- reinforcing cycle • Deliberate- lie about your committing horrible act
  34. 34. Make a plan (WW 2.0) Create a recovery road map  As in Chapter 10: create list of people who might search for you  Create list of sites to which they are directed  Prioritize which sites to repair first- some smears easier to repair than others Create recovery goals  Be realistic: it may be impossible to completely expunge false information- News sites and some blogs will may always show up in top 10 results and only feeding positive content (and time) can remedy that.  Pushing negative content to bottom of search results may be just as effective
  35. 35. Implement your plan (WW 2.0) Try to find a human  Contact page administrator via form or email  CALMLY explain the problem- you need his/her help! If a human will not help you, figure out from where that website is drawing its false information. Try to correct the information at the source (claim your online identity, etc)
  36. 36. Also… Sites like Yelp, Facebook, etc, are protected from being liable for content on their sites by section 230 of the Communication Decency Act (CDA 230), part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act:  “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
  37. 37. Implement your plan (WW 2.0 Chapter 12) Malicious attacks  Determine seriousness of threat & frequency  If a one-off, let it fade away  If dedicated, persistent attacker, understand that no matter what you do, this person may continue to spread lies. Try to identify attacker  Sometimes use info known only to a few  Sometimes pseudonym is a clue  Try through legal means- understand expensive and lengthy
  38. 38. Implement your plan (WW 2.0, Chapter 12) Choose your strategy  Fight back directly  Try to resolve offline (but proceed carefully)  Try to isolate negative content indirectly; i.e., “Google walls” Create more positive & neutral content than attacker creates negative. Play the Google algorithm.
  39. 39. How does reputation restoration work?• Remember all of those slides about Google? • ORM professionals will always be more effective than an individual simply because they can devote more resources to it.
  40. 40. The future of ORM Just as institutions have attorneys, they will have contracts with reputation management companies which cover:  Institutionitself  Individuals who have support of the institution  After all, the reputations of its individuals affects the reputation of the institution.
  41. 41. Don’t be an ostrich! Not only SHOULD you not ignore your online identity, but you soon WILL not be able to The way in which you respond to legitimate criticism can in fact bolster your reputation (individual or institution)  Yelp example from Atlanta
  42. 42. Claude Moore Health Sciences Library We offer classes and consults on a wide range of topics! Visit us online:   Contact me!
  43. 43. Further Resources Wild West 2.0: How to protect and restore your online reputation on the untamed social frontier; Fertik & Thompson The Reputation Society: How online opinions are reshaping the offline world; Masum & Tovey How Google Works: 2012 Google Panda infographic 
  44. 44. Further Resources online/Part-Two/Section-2.aspx