Recently there was a case involving a law firm in Colorado. The owner was a fairly small time lawyer however, for some reason, he drew the attention of a malicious spammer. This spammer used the internet to spread false reviews, testimonials, and other extremely damaging content. This happened on and off, repeatedly for years.
A lawyer’s good reputation is his only real recommendation. It is estimated that, over the years, the lawyer lost millions of dollars in business as his potential clients all disappeared after reading the kinds of false testimonies this spammer spread. Eventually the lawyer was forced to press charges.
After contacting the authorities the FBI was able to trace the origins of the false testimonies all the way to London. The perpetrator turned out to be a young man. He had never met the lawyer or interacted with him in any way. The youth apparently targeted the law office at random, driven only by a malicious desire for entertainment at the expense of others.
This simple example goes to show just how much a damage a dedicated, negative perception campaign can do to a person or business’s reputation. The worst part of it is that the perpetrator required no resources or investment to do millions of dollars in damage. Because the lawyer in question had no significant online presence, he had nothing to contradict the negative information. This allows outside forces to dictate the public’s perception of your image. Many companies are stuck in old ways of thinking. They do not realize the necessity of a strong, online presence as a means of maintaining a positive public image. These companies leave themselves open to attacks from critics, spammers, disgruntled employees and other sources of negative press. These attacks can seriously erode consumer confidence and affect personal or professional success.
Do not make the mistake of ignoring this crucial platform, made accessible by digital technologies. While it is true that is can be a source of vulnerability to the inexperienced, those who know how to navigate the world of Online Reputation Management can develop strategies to protect themselves. More than that, they can contribute to the conversation online and use digital media as a tool to change public perception in a positive and profitable way.