Customers Are Talking; Search Engines, Listening

Whispering-AA2Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our ability to post content on the Web and influence others through opinion gives a lot of people that power. And aside from sharing a point of view, the content also contributes to search engine query rankings and optimization. Negative and positive comments and blog posts influence what we see in search queries. It will only become more pronounced as Bing, Google and Yahoo move toward push search services, rather than pull.

Push search services will rely on location, content in smartphones and tablets, information in calendars and email clients, past purchases, and more. Soon less people will actively launch an application to get information, but rather the app will automatically push information to the user based on what it learns through use and searches.



The push, instead of the pull, will make reputation management more important. Around about the time a business goes through an initial public offering (IPO), management can find their online company facing backlash from neglecting to more closely monitor actions on the site. Consider it part of the process.

Limited Run, for example, posted commentary in a blog on why the company will delete its Facebook page. It turns out Facebook charged for more than the 20% of clicks the company could verify. About 80% of the clicks that Facebook charged for came from machines without JavaScript enabled, according to the company's analytics tool.

If the person clicking the ad doesn't have JavaScript, it's difficult for an analytics service to verify the clicks, Limited Run explains. More importantly, in all its years of experience, only between 1% and 2% of human visitors coming to the site had the feature disabled. What caused the discrepancy? The management team points to bots, but they might not have recognized the problem if it hadn't been for changing the company name from Limited Pressing.

When company execs asked the social network to change their Facebook page name from Limited Pressing to Limited Run, Facebook would do it if the company agreed to spend $2,000 more in advertising monthly.

In another case, Kathy Schroeder, a real estate agent working in the Margate, Fla. area, bought a new computer in May from another store, but took the two computers into the Geek Squad to transfer the files from one to the other. It's a simple process that went bad. Schroeder claims customer equipment got swapped, software product authorization key misplaced, and important data went missing. She hasn't posted a response online, yet, deciding to wait until someone on the executive staff gets back with her.

The Guardian cites companies that benchmark online reputations. Their analysis shows "Barclay's reputation score dropped by 27.24% during their recent crisis." 


Photo illustration by Shutterstock

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