Craig: It all seems like common sense – conducting yourself as if people can see you and your electronic footprint just as easily online as they can offline in the 3D living world. But interns and C-level execs get canned for naughty postings every day. It’s funny – sometimes pants-peeing hilarious – until it happens to you or someone you know.Herb: And then there is the dangerous content you’re not posting yourself: Gossip blogs and doctored pictures that your kids and co-workers are just clicks away from finding. The good news is that there are strategies and solutions you can employ to earn back your good name, even if your name is David Hasselhoff. In this presentation, we’ll go over the fundamentals and some of the nuances of building and repairing your online reputation, borrowing best practices from our book by the same name.
Craig: Warren Buffet famously said that It takes 20 years to build a reputationand five minutes to destroy it. Sometimes, karma is a bitch. And so is Kate Gosselin, always.
Herb: Other times, it’s more complicated, and bad vibes find decent folks. Just ask lifetime Cubs fan and nice guy Steve Bartman, who kept the Curse of the Billy goat alive by interfering with a foul ball during the 2003 playoffs. If it weren’t for the Internet, you’d likely never know this name. (Or address and phone number.) He’s got more than 100 clips on YouTube. And 300,000 people watched him get escorted out of Wrigley Field by security.
Craig: But what happens when you get screwed over? When your online reputation gets mangled, kicked around,mass-emailed and Googled to millions? Likewise, what if your reputation is simply non-existent, and you need to boost it quickly to build credibility to earn star-up funding, impress Match.com hottie or earn a spot in someone’s last will and testament? Time Magazine believes in you. And so do we.
Herb: In this presentation, and in our book, we offer a combination of low-hanging fruit solutions that will offer near-instantaneous results. And then there are strategies for preserving and upgrading your online reputation that will requires a bit more time, patience and dedication.
Craig introduces Herb:Why should you listen to us? We’ve have experience in this emerging space and, let’s just say, some “practice” at honing our own reputations through the years. Herb Tabin is a consultant, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, merger andacquisition expert as well as a noted specialist in online reputation managementand monitoring. He has worked with many Internet startups and founded Vois.com,the blog sCommerce.com and operated Rev2.org. Herb Tabin has been featuredon the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine - Entrepreneurs Business Start-Ups, ThePalm Beach Post, and in Steve Spalding’s book – ‘All the Little Things’ – Get theadvice you will need to get your idea out of the garage and onto the web. Herb’s dirty little online secret: If you look long and hard enough, you can find him in a Guinness Book of World Records photo for the largest roller bladed rendition of “The Hustle.” The sad thing is that the picture was taken in 2009.
Herb introduces Craig:Craig Agranoff is an entrepreneur, and national Social Media consultant as well as anoted specialist in online reputation management and monitoring. He has workedwith many Internet startups and founded the tech blog sCommerce.com andedits Rev2.org. He also is a Tech/Social Media Correspondent in the New Times,VentureBeat.com, and Reviews.Vois.Agranoff has been featured in the Miami Herald, New Times, The Palm Beach Post,AOL Digital Cities, Slice, CenterNetworks, Thrillist and The Sun-Sentinel. Also hasappeared on Gary Vaynerchuck’s Wine Library TV, Fox News, and CBS News.Craig’s dirty little online secret: Craig is a pizza blogger. And pizza bloggers are one step below hoarders.
Craig: The process of controlling your online reputation is known as Online ReputationManagement (ORM). ORM works by suppressing negative information about you to the bottom of search engine results while driving positive information to the top. You can have a ton of great info out there, from LinkedIn recommendations to all the right Facebook safeguards, and maybe you even perform regular Technorati searches to see where and why you’re popping up in blogs.
Herb: But it can take just one vindictive ex. One irresponsible friend. Or one bad drunken WiFi surfing session at the Holiday Inn Express to expose outlandish fact and fiction about your personal brand. Take Kevin Colvin, canned from a top-flight gig for telling his boss he had to bag work for a family emergency. That emergency involved dressing up like Tinkerbelle and pounding Old Milwaukee Light. The boss saw the pics on Facebook, and sent Kevin packing without a paycheck. Now the family had a real emergency: Telling Kevin his bedroom was converted into a scrapbooking studio. Hopefully, the incident left Kevin wiser and sans mascara.
Craig: Online reputation management rarely provides instant gratification. You gotta work for it, and wait for it. For instance Google – which accounts for about 65% of all searches – as well as other search engines deploy super-smart algorithms and spiders that may take up to four days to get noticed.
Herb: A Google vanity search is a good start, but there has been an emergence of more probing search engines that can follow your personal trail of tears way back to an embarrassing blog post you thought was lost and forgotten somewhere on the shoulder of the Information Superhighway. Or an awkward photo of you wearing a Speedo, smashing your head on a diving board in the Olympics.. Secondary website pages, old social networking profiles and real skeletons in virtual closets – or vice versa – can be found through these CSI-like tools. The four most popular free sites for deep searching include Yasni, PIPL, PeekYou and Whoozy.
Craig: Each month, more than 10 million people engage in Online Reputation Management through the powerful search engine Whoozy. Think of it as a heat seeking missile for virtual personal artifacts – and potentially damning information on friend, neighbors and enemies. One Whoozy search can take the place of a long, exhaustive piecemeal approach. Plus, the website allows you to differentiate between yourself and someone else with the same name. This is bad news for Omaha accountant and T-ball coach George Clooney.
Herb: Wouldn’t it be terrible to be the marketing director for the company that made the shoes deemed to uncomfortable for Britney Spears’ Cheetos dust-coated feet? Or the brand manager for whatever SOHO outfit made that hipster hat, perched on top of its drunken owner? Let’s be honest, how terrible would it be to be that drunken owner? Just like Coke, McDonalds and fading pop superstars are brands, so are you. And much of your brand management – or lack thereof – takes place online. You are your own CEO and chief marketing officer. Let’s take Online Reputation Management one step further: Maintaining your brand online isn’t just about suppressing negative information and drawing out positive, accurate details, but about putting forth the perception you want to resonate with a global online audience.
Craig: Now that you’re thinking about your reputation as a brand, you need to think about how to forge a plan for damage control as your personal brand becomes polluted. Think about how you mix in a glass of water after every third martini – this is dilution. Likewise, you need to water down any negative attachment to your brand by pushing down negative information from the top of search results, and replacing it with more positive results – whether they’re truthful or not is a whole different PowerPoint. Here are 10 techniques to consider.
Herb: Building robust profiles on popular, credible websites is one surefire way to achieve dilution of any negative online nuggets. The usual suspects for this process include Google Profile, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and ZoomInfo. But there are some under-the-radar site that can also help rebuild your virtual street cred without issuing a contrived public apology over YouTube. Try Whuffie Bank. The nonprofit has developed a ficticious currency that measures your reputation – binary bucks that can be banked and redeemed for virtual products and services. In other words, Andy Dick is still trying to earn enough for the Chinese finger trap.
Craig: Very few times does an arrest or virtual mug shot give one’s reputation a boost, unless your name is Bill Gates or McLovin. Usually you need to capture good deeds on film to turn the tide of perception. Just imagine how a photo of Lawrence Taylor politely purchasing Girl Scout Cookies might help his rep. Or how a film of Paris Hilton volunteering at a bake sale might help manage her personal brand. Photo sites like Flickr and Photobucket allow you to easily post and tag wholesome pictures that will be crawled by the search engines. Videos are even more potentially powerful, as Google’s newest search algorithm places the greatest importance on videos. The good news is that a Flip UltraHD palm-sized camcorder costs just $150. Get out there and start shootin’.
Herb: It’s easy to fall victim to a hit and run on the information superhighway when you buy just one domain reflecting your personal brand – your own name – and turn on the cruise control. The same goes for Twitter handles and Facebook profiles. More is better. Heck, website registry GoDaddy only charges about $10 a pop for each dot-com you claim. It’s one of the cheapest investments you’ll ever make. So if your name is Rob Lowe, don’t just be happy with purchasing RobLowe.com. Get RobertLowe.com and RobLowe.net. You might also want 90sHasBeen.com. You get the picture.
Craig: If bad puns help you remember Online Reputation Management essentials, then we’re willing to induce groans. Blogging is a no-brainer. Bad blogs can get you fired from a sweet gig at a top design house. Positive blogs can impress potential employers. But think outside the WordPress template for just a minute. Blogging doesn’t have to be you ruminating your recent adventure buying socks on your own boring site. You can also guest blog on others’ blogs - ideally those who count more than your mom and parole officer as readers. Or you can invite D-list celebrities to guest blog on your blog to bring in a whole new audience. Heck, you can even pay for targeted entries on top-ranking blogs through blog advertising networks like SponsoredReviews to build credibility – and links back to your blog. Diversify your blogging portfolio and reap the rewards.
Herb: You tried everything, but there is just some damning information about you out there stubbornly stuck to the heel of the Internet. If this was a Quentin Tarantino movie, this is where you would call in The Wolf. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. But don’t worry, there is something you can do about deleting super-resilient strains of damaging and erroneous information that the search engines are plugging into. You can contact the search engines directly. Some search engines list Webmaster information, so that you can complete a form or send an email politely asking for some malicious nugget of info to be removed. The big boys – Google, Yahoo, Blogger and ZoomInfo.com – have readily accessible paths for making these requests. It may require a few clicks, and a little patience and persistence, but when you’re at the mercy of the search engine gods for helping to repair your online reputation, you need to play it cool, just like The Wolf.
Craig: The only other piece of advice we can tell you is to hit “repeat.” Like taxes and back waxing, Online Reputation Management is an ongoing process. Actually, we can tell you one more thing: The information we provided in this presentation is just a snapshot of the tools and best practices you’ll need to build or repair your online reputation. The rest – you guessed it – is on our book, which is available online at Amazon.com. If you buy it, and you like it, you can even recommend the book to others and practice what you learned by paying it forward. If you hate the book, well, we’re ready to make that review disappear. Just kidding. Maybe.
Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management Reputation - Craig Agranoff
“Do it yourself onlineReputation Management: A step-by-step guide for building or repairing your online reputation” By Herb Tabin & Craig Agranoff
New content creation: ◦ Becomes visible in 2-7 days ◦ To make new content appear to flow naturally, only add 1 or 2 items every 2 days Search engine inclusion: ◦ Search engine rearrangement occurs in 4-5 weeks if executed properly ◦ Overall results can be seen in 8 -12 weeks Doin’ the Time: Best practices
• Profile Building • Photo Sharing • Video Sharing • Domain Name Use • Blog Posting • Guest Blogging • Community Membership • Paid Bloggers • Press Releases • Blog Post Removal TechniquesDilution is the solution to pollution.
Advanced ORM tip 417:Collect interest in Whuffie Bank
Revenge of the Nerd: Managingreputation with video & images