Lee Odin's recent post on Managing ORM with SEO has allowed me to rehash some of the main points he covers in his post, for a treatment based on our specific experiences. It is hoped that by putting these points out in the open, it will foster a vibrant discussion and debate that will assist in making sense of how the SEO and ORM management spaces are maturing.
|The importance of safeguarding one's reputation has created the impetus for a wide-range of SEO and Internet monitoring strategies to take shape and form. While we would like to believe that these strategies are carried out in coordinated manner, we continue to see a much different approach than Lee's graph convey's.|
The strategies our firm continues to see is more based on a core/peripheral approach. The core can either represent the corporate mandate, or the overall strategy to build and safeguard brand reputation. The periphery is occupied by the vendors providing SEO, Monitoring, etc. The periphery also appears to be the point where the analysis occurs, and this is a unilateral communication between each peripheral function to the core, rather than happening on a multilateral level.
So in other words, social media monitoring/measurement vendors are very rarely in the loop about what SEO strategies (if any) the company has deployed, and this makes it fundamentally impossible for convergence or coordinated strategies to develop and form. While it is vitally important for any strategy to be built on coordinated ideas and action, there is a concern that this makes it also difficult to keep a pulse on ethical conduct.
While there have been attempts to create standards in the SM space, with Gartner vouching on its worthiness, I think that pinning down things like being able to distinguish between aggressive tactics and the perpetrators of harm will be vital to the future of ORM, and its ability to flourish in a positive and organic manner.
As an example, our Reputation Measurment™ platform is the basis for experimental technology and research, and with it, we have identified a rise in activity which could threaten monitoring programs. While the majority of these threats were originally discovered on free-blogging platforms, they appear to have gravitated to more popular social media outlets and seem to be resistant to the measures each site provider puts in place to prevent malicious and unwanted software.
The worst of these threats is what we call "malware-roulette" - these examples have now been discovered in almost every type of SM source at least once (i.e. blog, forum, social network, etc.), and are making repeated appearances in the more popular social networks. The way they function is to redirect visitors who click on a tweet or a blog link, and the code will redirect them to a page which has been preconfigured to randomly point them to a different location each time. While some of these can be targetted and identified as spam content which attempts to scrape text from news sites, they can often be passed-off as legitimate because the randomization of the redirect script will contain at least one valid link source claimed in the original post. This discovery was only made possible when we started to notice that our comment tracking platform was starting to record hyper-linking (of malicious origin) unrelated to the original discussion.
The question becomes whether these forms of spam/malware are being created as part of aggressive SEO tactics, or whether this is something that derives from those with an intent to cause harm. More specifically, if the SEO or SERM firm you use is not the same as the firm your company uses to perform online brand and reputation monitoring, you may want to consult with the online monitoring folks before tasking anyone to "bury" or "raise" what is percieved as being "positive/negative" online incidents.
The reality is that ORM is still at its infancy, and most companies are scrambling to take control of their specific situation. While corporate buy-in for reputation management solutions is happening at a healthy rate, it is in our opinion that ORM strategies need to be aligned with exisiting and future corporate mandates. There is no doubt that the lack of convergence or communication between the peripheral functions will have an effect on the precision, quality, accuracy and delivery of any/all strategies.
Treating each pod in the periphery as an island will mean the inevitable shoring of that message in a bottle, often arriving too late to take any corrective action. The caveat is that it is always a good idea to screen the experts you call in to provide reputation management, whether they are providing SEO, Internet monitoring services, or both, and that includes getting a good handle on the type of services they offer, questioning the reliability of their technologies/techniques and their general stand on "code of ethics" as it pertains to using techniques which may do more harm than good.
|When we talk about social media, we commonly refer to the areas of the Internet where people are found participating in discussion. After all, things are bound to happen wherever people talk, and this interactive aspect of the Web is the primary driver for brand and online reputation monitoring strategies. The activities and level of participation has taken on different forms with every new and emerging|
social media space. In short time, social networking sites like Myspace, facebook and Twitter have become the darlings of the social media space, each offering users the opportunity to create and maintain their own profiles, the ability to connect with friends, family, co-workers, peers, and even share photos or videos. facebook has even fostered a community whereby the transactions of goods can occur within their exclusive social community, allowing perfect strangers to purchase "cyber-gifts" for one another. Even unused goods sitting in their basement, attic or garage are finding their way in the MySpace or facebook classifieds sections.
While online classifieds are a thriving category in the social networking scene, their place in the social media mix dates from the first time someone posted a "Wanted" ad in a weblog entry or on a message board. Tracing back to an even earlier period if you count the transition traditional newspapers made from offering classified ads in both print and online formats. Classified ads are based on a simple notion of connecting sellers with buyers, and it is the way each Website facilitates the simple and safe transaction of goods that gives it a distinguishing social aspect. One of the most interesting social aspects of online classifieds can be found in its ability to not only connect online shoppers with consumer goods, but building on this trading of merchandise is the notion that a smooth transaction between two strangers might carry into future purchases and foster a vibrant and dynamic offline connection as well.
The earliest forms of any "feedback" mechanism for buyers to keep the seller in-line emerged from sites like eBay, and although the notion of rating an online experience evolved well before that from consumer review sites, there is an important social aspect of online classifieds that often gets overlooked when devising brand and online reputation monitoring strategies. Did you know, for instance, that sites like Craigslist, eBay, Kijiji and Topix are Websites that maintain active classified and forum communities? If you combine this with the vibrant social communities that sites like facebook and MySpace provide for members eager to transact goods as well as publicly sharing their experiences (good or bad) on their blogs or in the group or forum areas of those sites, then you may well be on your way to recognizing why its important to be "Ad-Keen."
Craigslist has an active rant & raves category - just type "/rnr" after your local url to check it out. You can even perform a keyword/keyphrase search within the rant & raves section and create a handy RSS feed of the search result. eBay's Forum Search is extremeley useful for searching on the active discussions going on within the Web's largest person-to-person trading community. You may also find the Topix classifieds and Kijiji's forum search helpful, and there certainly are many more. Below is a short of list of reasons why online marketplace and classified sites are important to include in any brand and online reputation monitoring strategy:
o Brand protection - corporate image, identity, brands, wordmarks, logo's.
o Knock-off's - counterfiet, design knock-off's, replica's, reproductions and look alikes.
o Internet Fraud - brands being used fraudulently to divert sales
o Reputation Management - negative information spreading within an active consumer community
Devising a robust brand and online reputation monitoring strategy is important. While monitoring requirements vary from company to company, it is important to use a monitoring scope designed to safeguard your brands and reputation. Being "Ad-Keen" ought to mean
incorporating classifieds and marketplace listings as part of a proactive approach to preventing attacks, or combatting negative publicity and restoring consumer confidence in the company's brand.
Depth of sourcing is a key part of dilligently monitoring online classifieds, to ensure you include online auctions, newspaper classifieds, and newly emerging online marketplace sites. You may already be overwhelmed with tracking numerous blogs, forums and social networks - why complicate things by monitoring classifieds? While we encourage an exhaustive sweep of online mentions that can make or break a brand, we recognize that limitations exist with each site. Some many not be friendly to aggregating coverage by a specific geographic area (i.e. city by city search with no option to search the entire country), and others may not provide the search results in a handy RSS feed format.
Luckily our firm has simplified this aspect of online marketplace/classified monitoring for business. Both our RepuTrace™ and RepuTrack™ services include an online classifieds component which can easily be added-on to any of our monitoring packages ($125/mo fee applies). Please feel free to contact us if you would like to find out more about including our Adhound™ monitoring platform to your brand and reputation monitoring and management strategies.
In case you missed the first two parts:
RepuTrace™ is the All-in-One Corporate Intelligence Tool which can also be used to assist in the areas of brand and reputation monitoring, investigations, competitive intelligence gathering, market intelligence analysis and research or even to protect against counterfeit brand issues.
To schedule a free online-demonstration of RepuTrace™, click here.
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Below are some links to product or company mentions in mainstream media:
Protecting the firm’s name on the web | Law Times
Safeguard Your Brand Reputation Online | Inc. Technology
They’ve got their eyes on you—are your ears burning? | ComputerWorld Canada
Blog author threatens to go "on a killing spree" | CNW Group
Blog author threatens to go "on a killing spree" | PR Newswire
Tips on Safeguarding Your Online Reputation | WSJ Startup Journal