I wrote about one of my competitors recently that made a bold statement in one of their advertisements, so I showed a quote from the advertisement on my industry blog and then I talk about how I giggled when I saw it.

The title of the post was simply the name of the business and quickly ranked in the top 4 results for their brand name.

Winners & Losers

After about a week or so I received the email below from the CEO of the company.

I was so amazed on how well the email was written I agreed to remove the post if they provided some bio information about themselves that wasnt sales related so I could learn more about them (which is the point of my industry blog).

They agreed, so I guess you could say it was a win-win situation for both of us. So I just thought I would share one way to do Reputation Management correctly.

My name is [removed] and I'm the CEO of [removed]. I wanted to write you today in hopes of clarifying a few things. I read your blog statement about our company. The link to the blog is showing up on the first page of Google for the keyword "[removed]".

I understand that you saw the ad on Craigslist and indeed I do admit the comment made in that ad was very bold. That statement was not made in regards to us as a [removed] but rather as a statement based on the hassles [removed] deal with while managing [removed] and our efforts to alleviate those hassles.

After being in [removed] for many years, I cannot stress enough how much time and money I wasted dealing with signatures, bad faxes, lost mail and many other annoying issues.

The statement about "[removed]" was made in regards to our Document Exchange and our ability to take paper transactions online as we feel the [removed] industry has lacked in services dedicated to that.

I do admit, the statement is very bold and can easily come across badly. Therefore, I have done away with that ad. I would to thank you for your comments and you bringing your interpretation to our attention.

S. Murphy

In contrast, I would like to stress to you how your posting is hurting our business. We never intended to ruffle anyone's feathers and would hope that in giving our apologies, you would remove the statement from your blog.

It would be easy for anyone online to go and tarnish the names of other companies over a simple misunderstanding.

Keep in mind that we are a new company that was in beta for several years and have just truly launched our site in the last year.

The large [removed] sites are very hard to compete with and hopefully people like yourself and I could work together to find our place in the market. I think you have a well written blog and hopefully you will take this email for what it is.

In the end, it's your decision and I just want to make sure you know it is very important to me to mitigate the issue.

I mostly write about my competitors because it usually starts a dialog with them even if they are mad at me for doing so. Once I get the conversation started with one of my competitors I can usually learn a lot from them. Over the years many of those conversations have actually turned in to friendships where we often trade information.

Forever Friends

In this instance the conversation turned so quickly from them being mad at me to such an honest response, I couldnt help myself and change the content. It is amazing what a well worded honest response can do for your reputation management campaign.

Dave Dugdale writes several blogs, his favorite being Solar Dave

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9 Responses to “A Different Take On Reputation Management – Ask Real Nice”

  1. Michael D says:

    Nice approach. Impressive to see someone even take the time to write an email of that length. Gotta give some credit to that.

  2. Todd Mintz says:

    There have some some really unfortunate SEO personality conflicts that could have / should have been resolved by this approach.

  3. Jeff Quipp says:

    Great post Dave, and so true! Open dialogue should always be the starting point of a good reputation management issue.

  4. I'm positive that I would have done the same. It is very rare that you get emails like that. Most are quite rude and offensive and when I get that kind I only take my posts up a notch. Good call!

  5. john andrews says:

    It's real and honest… and that works, because the web is still mostly real and honest. I've handled a few similar inquiries on behalf of clients as well as my own sites, and I count almost 5:1 the communications that are accusatory and demanding, over those that are honest and sincere.

    Just today I handled a phone call from a competitor who had called the business manager 3 times previously, demanding we stop hacking her Google account and inserting our data under her company name. Bizarre claim, but delivered in a nasty, accusatory tone with threats of legal action. I was nice but firm – she's wrong in her assumptions that Google local errors are due to my hacking her account, and wrong to threaten when she is the abusive one. I did offer to help her, and haven't yet decided if I will charge her a consulting fee to fix her problems.

    We are humans…. except for Google. You'll get a lot farther if you treat us that way.

  6. Great post, we all need to be careful of reputation management from mistakes and mistaken identity. I use Google Alerts to be notified whenever my company name or url is mentioned.

  7. Ruud Hein says:

    @Michael The man really deserves credit but especially so for being open and honest. Hands wide open he said, look, here's the case — and that was it.

    @Todd Certainly did — as you see, Dave is now almost a *fan* of these people!

    @Jeff There's a double reputation management here too. The company in question itself should have proactively monitored their outgoing repuation statements. That ad/statement or whatever it was on Craigslist shouldn't have been made that way.

    @Mikael More often than not first contact is semi-threatening. This email is really good.

    @John Yup, indeed, like I said to Michael; it's the real, human, open honesty that "did the trick"

    @Joel Google Alerts works great, yes. I also use Copernic Tracker. Jeff authored a nice reputation management issue resolution flowchart which usues it as the first tool!

  8. […] 1. write the person or company who posted the negative piece a nice email, or put in a nice phone call, where you politely explain your situation, and ask if they'd consider removing the negative piece. […]

  9. […] 1. write the person or company who posted the negative piece a nice email, or put in a nice phone call, where you politely explain your situation, and ask if they'd consider removing the negative piece. […]