Blogging and Other Word Of Mouth
Did you know, that according to a London School of Economics Survey published in 2006, just a 2 percent reduction on negative word of mouth boosts sales growth by 1%. That may not sound like a whole lot to you, really- but consider the rest of the story. For instance, in the time since that study, things have changed. Dramatically. Now, more than ever the blogosphere is lit up with commentary and if you don’t think that blogging, microblogging and other social media are the new word of mouth- you’re making a big mis-step. For one thing, it is very difficult at times to remove a negative link in Google in particular. Ask anyone who has ever been Google bombed, or look into the history of the Google bomb itself. The quote you’ll find about what Google has done to counter this practice is a little disconcerting:
I won’t go into what was done against certain elected officials via a well played Google bomb- for one thing, it’s extremely vulgar and uses some very bad language, but for another, the point is what was done about that situation. The first statement released about this came in 2005, via Marissa Mayer, Google Director of Consumer Web Products:
‘We don’t condone the practice of google bombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but we’re also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don’t affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission.’
In January of 2007, Google did in fact change their indexing structure- they did so, so that if you were to look up the keywords that would bring about the aforementioned situations, you’d get derogatory things about the practice of Google bombing.
More and more sites out there are offering free reviews- user generated comments that are left and generally by dissatisfied customers or sometimes, even our own competition. Bear in mind that at any given time, anyone can edit most of the sites that offer ratings systems, and anyone can submit a Ripoff-report comment or complaint. Because of the weighty relevance of that particular site- the instant your company name is published, it gets up there in rankings and it’s not easy to rid yourself of that link. If you are working with someone on reputation management, you do have some one who is in your corner. Though it may take some time, you should be able to see those negative reviews lose a bit of weight as more and more is done to foster the more positive reputation you have. For your part, you can continue to promote a better reputation by getting out there, so to speak- using social networking to actually talk to your target audience.