There is obviously a great deal of power in being able to hide certain search results from the majority of searchers. With this power however, comes great responsibility. This responsibility becomes even more important if one considers that there are currently no guidelines to help guide us through the murky waters of morality. Reputation Management online is therefore akin to the wild wild west ... the rancher with the most money calls the shots!
Since its left to our own individual tolerances and thresholds, it begs the question; at what point are you selling out the greater good for a few measley dollars? How do you decide as a business entity when these lines are crossed?
These are questions that each and every company that engages in reputation management must consider. Now we have an idea what defense attorneys have to contend with.
This all became abundantly clear to me after a situation we faced just the other day. Let me just say this was one exceptionally deceptive firm.
Sure we could easily 'bump' the negative pieces down in the search results and make a tidy little profit as a result, but why? There wasn't just one or two such negative pieces ... there were MANY! Who are we to help countless more hundreds of people get bilked out of their hard earned money? Don't we have a responsibility to do what's right?
Now, I can understand one or even two negative posts. Virtually every company is bound to get one at some point in time, for numerous reasons. Sometimes, just sometimes, clients are unreasonable. Look no further than TripAdvisor for proof ... you know, the kind who say "my room was terrible. I expected Crystal champagne beside my bed every night, and paid a whole $13/night"..
In the end, we felt it best if we declined this potential client's business, and left them to deal with the consequences of their actions. I've heard it said time and time again, "those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it!", so I want to help them learn.
I would hope that there are many others out there with the same intolerance of "fraudulent" behaviour! Many with the same refusal to "be bought".
That said, I'd like to introduce the concept of a Reputation Management Code of Ethics. Ultimately though, I need input from all of you.
Would you sign such a document?
Do you care?
At what point (explain), would you not accept a reputation management client?
If you do care, then this document must be created by many based on your opinions above, and not just by one person or entity.
So, please let me know your thoughts.