Archives for September 2009

Protection and management of your online reputation

It’s been a grumpy day for me today, made a bit grumpier because of a tweet I came across on Twitter, and 2 phone calls I had this morning, both about similar things.

Part of the service we offer is Online Negative Reputation Management. We don’t make a big deal out of it, as it’s not cheap, and it’s not something that most people need, but we do get the occasional call about it and take on one or two jobs a month. It’s also not something we can put out case studies for, for reasons that will become obvious!

The tweet came from @france_normandy – gite owners in Normandy, France, who have recently had a couple of fake negative reviews on Trip Advisor, resulting in this blog: Trip Advisor Fake Reviews

The calls came from a photographic studio and a jewellers, both who were finding that when searching for their company name, the front page of Google brought up reviews that were negative and, as far as the callers were concerned, untrue. They were well aware that by having these negative reviews, they were losing customers – and in both cases, the loss of just one or two customers meant a considerable amout of money.

While writing this blog I’m reminded of another call a couple of weeks ago from a wedding organiser who organised weddings in another country. She had some great testimonials, but a disgruntled ex employee had started a campaign against her, and knowing the internet better than her, had managed to get some great front page positions slagging her off, posing as an unhappy customer.

See, one of the things I love about the internet is freedom of speech. Anyone can have their say on bad customer experiences – I use the web frequently to moan about and Aweber, among other things! But it can also be a bad thing, because if your livelihood is online, and bad reviews and negative comments can affect you, then you’re vulnerable and at risk.

It’s bad enough when the reviews are true – and believe me, we’ve had plenty of customers where we’ve quickly realised the reviews were true and had to implement a strategy to deal with that and enable them to come out of it looking better.

But when they’re untrue and the sites involved have published them without checking, without thinking, and in a lot of cases without verifying the person involved, it’s worse. Reviews that are negative and downright untrue, yet have no real name attached, can’t be traced back to an actual customer, and may even be a competitor or ex employee / business partner can still be accepted and read as if they’re true.

And in a lot of cases the vendor has no comeback – not all review sites let you challenge a review, and some of them will just refuse to remove the bad reviews, no matter what proof you send.

In the cases I talk about above, the jeweller, the photographer and the wedding planner, we are able to help – we can implement a strategy to drive the negative reviews off the front page, limit the damage caused by the reviews in other ways, and help to limit the impact they have.

In the case of @france_normandy, Trip Advisor is a big part of their business, and really needs to tighten up its processes to avoid a backlash. Happily it looks as if that one will be sorted out in the end, but at what cost? The longer a negative review is in a prominent position, the more damage it can do.

It’s a timely reminder to keep on top of what is being said about you online – make sure you at least have Google Alerts set up so that anything published with your copany name is seen by you immediately and can be responded to – if it’s in the public eye then your potential customers could be seeing it.

In a world where ‘to Google’ is common before choosing a supplier, make sure that if someone ‘Googles’ you, they see what YOU want them to see, not what your enemies do…

If you’re having problems with negative online reputation management, drop me a line, I might be able to help.

Could you be the PR person we're looking for?

magglassAt, we’re growing all the time, and we’ve had a fantastic 2009 so far. But, like any ambitious person, I want more 🙂

I’m looking for a freelance PR person or small PR company to help to spread the word about the services we provide, the results we achieve and the good we can do.

What I DO want:

  • someone who can write press releases, and will only do so when there’s a story / angle, no matter what I think 🙂
  • someone with good relationships with journalists who will write good things about the Internet Marketing industry
  • someone who can get me interviews with relevant publications, on and offline
  • someone who can ensure that when an ‘Internet Marketing Expert’ is quote, that ‘expert’ is me
  • someone who can be as passionate about the name as I am, and spot opportunities I may not see

What I don’t want:

  • press releases that have no angle or story
  • online press release submissions with no follow up / reasoning
  • someone to send out random spam emails to publications on my behalf

A few things to consider:

  • I live my life by email and instant message, so you need to communicate with me in this way – I’m not a phone person 🙂
  • I don’t want to have to chase you up for every little thing, I need to know what is going on at all times
  • I’m not buying purely on price 🙂
  • I don’t care if you’ve not worked for a company similar to mine before, I do care that you show that you understand what I want and can tell me how you’re going to achieve it
  • I want an open and honest billing structure, with details of what I’ll get for my money, and how you intend to report those things back to me

If you think you’d like to be a part of this ‘project’ (which I am sure will change and become bigger as we get to know eachother more), and can bring a few ideas of your own to the table then please feel free to drop me a line to (And of course, please email me if you have any questions)

BE AWARE: I will not take phone calls on this matter – whether to ask initial questions, or to follow up proposals. Everyone who submits a proposal will get a reply and will be considered. It’s up to you how detailed or short you make your proposal; just make it stand out!

Also please know that this process could take a couple of weeks due to other things going on in my life right now – I won’t be making an instant decision, but neither will I waste anyone’s time.


This page has had a fair bit of interest, and a few responses – I just want to clarify a few things:

  • When I said no phone calls, I really did mean it ….
  • That includes emails saying ‘give me a call today and we’ll chat’
  • If you want to come and ‘see me in my office’ you haven’t done your research 🙂
  • Those telling me that they can help ‘get my name out on the internet’ – you haven’t done yours either 😉
  • I’m not looking for SEO or Social Media help (sensing a theme here?)
  • If you’ve sent me a price, and not asked any question or shown that you know anything about me, then I’m probably not going to be interested
  • Much as I appreciate barter offers, I want to pay someone cold hard cash for this, so there are no grey areas. If you wnt to return that cash to me for my services, that’s up to you!

I’m not asking for all your ideas, which I will then steal and take to the lowest bidder, I’m asking for someone who can show that they know who I am, what I want, and can come up with some thoughts of their own.

I’m easy to find out about – even my mum knows what I’m up to through the powers of Facebook, Google and Twitter!

Facebook Fan Check Virus- is it a virus or a hoax?

If you’re on facebook, then by now you’ve probably heard the hype about the Facebook Fan Check application, and the fact that it could contain a virus.

To find out more, I turned to one of my favourite sources of news, Mashable – who seem to be saying that it’s not so much the app itself that has a virus, but the emails and sites claiming to be able to fix it. Confused yet?

All I know is that until I removed the app, de-fanned it and detagged myself from all photos I was in, my Facebook friends feed was back to normal. Prior to that it was only showing old updates, and people were in the wrong categories.

So, I would suggest that if your feed is going screwy, you:

  • Block the Facebook Fan Check application – you should be able to find it by searching for ‘fan check’ in the search box on your profile (or use this link )
  • Remove yourself from the page’s fans list
  • Visit any pictures that have tagged you and detag yourself
  • Log out of Facebook
  • Log back in

This worked for us, and the handful of clients who have asked for our help.

So, does the Facebook Fan Check application contain a virus? I honestly don’t know – I can’t see that it would have been accepted by Facebook if it had, but I guess stranger things have happened. All I know is that it does seem to affect the feed of people using it (unless the timing is a massive coincidence!) and removing it fixes that problem.

I’ll err on the safe side and stay away from it 🙂

UPDATE: It appears that people who have had nothing to do with Fan Check have had Facebook feed problems too, so the plot thickens – I’m keeping it blocked though 🙂

UPDATE 2: Here’s Snopes’ take on it:

Google Adwords help – and a cartoon that's too rude to post?

Regular readers know that in the last few months we’ve taken to including cartoons in our newsletter – we use Mike Flanagan of Flantoons and he’s fab 🙂

This month our newsletter will focus on Google Adwords help, and our September special offer, which is a Google Adwords Healthcheck for just £40.

One of the things that we find a lot of when doing these healthchecks is that people are often getting thousnds of clicks on their ads per month, but no sales from their site. Obviously this could be for a number of reasons, but one of the reasons we come across a lot is that thy simply haven’t thought their keyphrases through properly, and haven’t made sure that they’re not getting clicks that were meant for some other product or service.

To illustrate this, Mike came up with 2 cartoons – and we love them. The first one is below, as although it makes me (Nikki) giggle every time I look at it, I have the feeling that some of our more staid readers may not like to see it in their inbox 🙂


We’ll probably go with the other cartoon (sign up to the newsletter if you want to see it!) but I think the above one does a great job of showing just one of the mistakes you could be making with Adwords – it might be worth having a Google Adwords healthcheck to find out if you’re making more!

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