Reputation management refers to influencing and controlling an individual's or business's reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results. Online reputation management, sometimes abbreviated as ORM, is primarily concerned with managing the results on websites that evaluate products and services and make recommendations and referrals. Ethical grey areas include mug shot removal sites, astroturfing review sites, censoring negative complaints or using search engine optimization tactics to influence results.
Reputation management (sometimes referred to as rep management, online reputation management or ORM) is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organization by influencing online information about that entity.
Specifically, reputation management aims on monitoring the reputation of an individual or a brand on the internet, addressing content which is potentially damaging to it, and using customer feedback solutions to get feedback or early warning signals to reputation problems. Most of reputation management is focused on pushing down negative search results. Under business circumstances, reputation management may attempt to bridge the gap between how a company perceives itself and how others view it
According to a 2010 study by Microsoft and Cross-Tab Market Research, 70 percent of companies have rejected candidates based on the candidate's online reputation, but only 7 percent of Americans believe it affects their job search. A survey by CareerBuilder.com found that 1 in 4 hiring managers used search engines to screen candidates. One in 10 also checked candidates' profiles on social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook.According to a December 2007 survey by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy research organization, roughly half of U.S. hiring officials use the Internet in vetting job applications.
A joint study by online reputation management company BrandYourself and Harris Interactive found that:
86% of online U.S. adults have used a search engine like Google to find more information about another person.
75% of online U.S. adults have searched their own name in a search engine. Of those that searched their own name, almost half (48%) said most of the search results about them are not positive; nearly a third (30%) said nothing shows up about them at all.
Nearly a third (31%) of online U.S. adults that have searched another person online have looked up a politician. Of those that did, over half said the search influenced their voting decision.
Among online U.S. adults that have searched someone else online, 42% have searched someone before doing business with them. Of those that did, 45% have found something that made them decide not to do business.
Almost half (43%) of online U.S. adults that have searched someone else online have searched a potential date, significant other, or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, making romantic searches one of the most common search among U.S. adults.
There are cases of reputable organizations or individuals—even those with newly created websites—that may find their brand or name listed in search engine's suggestions as scam. Domain names can be critical to an organization or person's reputationSuch negative suggestions which are harmful to the reputation of the organization or individual are often caused by negative contents on personal blogs, complaint sites, scraper sites, forums and comment sections. In such cases where it is not possible to ask for the negative contents to be taken down, experts agree that reputation management is justifiable in this regard, and some experts advise that the proper thing to do is to push down the visibility of such negative search engine results through proactively publishing useful, positive information about the organizations or individuals.
According to a report from New York Times, negative internet review may not damage the reputation of business, but help it thrive because it gives the company a higher position in the rank of Google search results. The owner of a company which sell fake sunglass, who benefits a lot from the positive effect of negative reviews, refers to this phenomenon "NEGATIVE advertisement". In this case, negative reviews are just part of his sales strategy