This week, an article about Reputation Management ran in Nick Bilton’s “Bits” Blog at The New York Times. The article said almost nothing, and I pointed that out.

Ironically, my comment was removed. Here it is was:

Problem is, so far the “reputation management” firms don’t actually manage anything. Reputation.com is a prime example; the good news is that they’re inexpensive, but the bad news is that they do little more than those companies that used to sell you “credit card loss protection”, which when you lost your wallet and needed them to help they’d basically tell you that you would need to contact all your credit card companies.

Bottom line: the information about you that lives on the Internet ABSOLUTELY needs to be managed. But you’re much better off being more proactive a la SEO than reactive in the way that the early reputation management services offer.

I suppose my words might have been viewed as too commercial; I do Search Engine Optimization, referenced SEO in my comment, and included what I do in my signature. I’ve written before that I believe this adds to the value of both the comment and the article, but The Times might have an issue with that. So be it.

The point, though, is that Reputation Management has suddenly become a hot enough topic to be written about in The New York Times—in however cursory a manner. While the goal of Search Engine Optimization is to get you found, Reputation Management’s goal is to get the things about you that you don’t like hidden.

But that isn’t actually possible. Buried? You bet, and that’s the reason SEO and Reputation Management go hand-in-hand.

I’m an SEO Consultant. I can boost your visibility, and I can also lower it. Lowering it is what’s usually meant by the phrase “reputation management”, and by the way is actually harder than using Search Engine Optimization to move you higher in search engine rankings. As I pointed out in that comment, Reputation.com and other so-called reputation management firms don’t do anything about your reputation management; they simply let you know when something’s been said about you so you can take on reputation management yourself. Or hire a reputation management consultant.

Ask Jason Calacanis about reputation management. I’ve written about Calacanis a couple of times; once I beat him up, and the other I complimented him. On second thought, don’t ask him; Jason Calacanis is famous enough that there’s no point to him trying to manage his reputation. But search Google for “Arrogance and Intelligence”, and you’ll see that my words about Mr. Calacanis are found pretty easily; as of this writing they rank #10 in Google’s eyes, and they’ve been as high as #4. What if Calacanis didn’t want that?

Or you could ask the folks at B&H Photo. Turns out that when I wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece about how great Orthodox Jews are at Customer Service, it made Answer Guy Central one of the most-found places for searches about B&H Customer Service. B&H might not like that, even though I pointed out that they were very, very good at customer service.

And you know about my Nissan of Manhattan Customer Service ranking. And so does anyone who asks Google about the subject.

Reputation Management is what you do when there’s stuff on the Internet about you that you want to control. It’s a serious topic. Nick Bilton, you disappoint me.

Want to know more about Reputation Management and Search Engine Optimization?

Just Ask Me.

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