Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reputation Management Solutions For Online Businesses

At last! There's a solution to annoying online "trash talk reviews": Online Reputation Management. Hallelujah!

If you're a writer like me, or if you have any other online business, probably the most irksome thing about your "virtual" status is that anyone can log on and try to trash your reputation with just a few well-oiled, vitriolic phrases. For example, at Amazon if you search on my book "DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories" you'll see an almost unending line of rave reviews extolling its many virtues . Most of the reviews are 5-star (highest possible rating) blessings to me, but you'll also notice the rare, occasional 1-star "thumping" by a reviewer.

It wouldn't be so bad if Amazon would "play it as it lays" and let prospective buyers stumble upon the occasional bad-mouthing, but Amazon places "the most helpful" lousy review prominently on the main page, right alongside an example of one or two of "the most helpful" rave reviews. Result: People get a mental impression, "Uh-oh. Buyer beware!"

Even though every one of the published "trash" reviews are addressed and heartily disdained by other readers who have jumped in (without prompting) to "defend" me against the tirades, unless a curious reader clicks on the feedback links and reads them, the damage is done. I'm sure I lose a percentage of potential readers anyway, which is a real shame, if they loved De Kelley. It's a loss for them every bit as much as it is for me.

So I'm going to contact Internet Reputation Management and see what they can do to get Amazon to take down the offending reviews, since Amazon seems to have turned a deaf ear to my "report violation" efforts.

Although there was one less-than-stellar review (early on) that I totally understood and would not want to have erased (I'm all for fair-and-balanced reviews!), there are three others (written by cohorts) which are completely baseless. One of them even accuses me of being "delusional" with regard to my 30 year association with DeForest and Carolyn Kelley! That's libel! If you google "Kristine+M+Smith," the first thing that pops up is an extensive interview that Billie Rae Walker and I did for STAR TREK MAGAZINE detailing my association with the Kelleys. And there's the podcast that Rico and I did for his Treks in Sci Fi listeners :


For gosh sakes, I'm even invited to speak at STAR TREK conventions about my association with the Kelleys and am writing a second book about De, due out this year. So, the "delusion" appelation in that one review is tantamount to defamation of character! It ticks me off... waaaaay more than just a little... every time I think about it, which is every time I logon to see if additional reviews have come in.

If you're having the same kind of Reputation Management issues, give Internet Reputation Management a try. I'm going to look into what the costs are. For me, the fees may be too steep to make it worth my while, but for those of you with significant on-line businesses, if you're getting bad reviews that teach you nothing (because they're baseless), IRM may be just the ticket for you. It's worth a look-see!

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New federal regulations require that all paid endorsements, even in blogs, be disclosed as such. I was paid $10 to write and publish this entry, but would not have done so had I considered the company less than reputable.


Anonymous said...

Hello Kris, I went to Amazon.com and I looked your book about DeForest up and seen what you are talking about. That is very inconsiderate of the company to catagorize everything. I think you earn a straight 5 instead of the 4 1/2 the site gave (due to the people).

Kristine M Smith said...

Thanks! A lot of other folks agree with you!