When it comes to online reputation management, some businesses will ignore the whole issue. This is the strategy that a once-popular restaurant embraced in Wired’s article, How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy A Business At Will. The restaurant owner had no interest in computers or the internet because he was busy running his restaurant.
Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
In early 2012, business suddenly dropped off — 75% of the weekend traffic was no longer there. Eventually, one of his customers asked why he was closed on weekends, and it was discovered that someone had changed the local listing on Google Maps to “closed on weekends.” By the time a web consultant was brought in to fix it, the restaurant couldn’t recover, and now the owner is attempting to sue Google for letting its crowd-sourced site post inaccurate information.
In this case, ignoring what was happening to his business information online led to bigger problems, not the mythical “bliss.” The business owner simply did not appreciate the value of what was being said online. His lawsuit will probably not lead to any satisfactory conclusion because there are too many variables in the case.
Attention Leads To Action
Later on in the article, a couple of examples of businesses with a different strategy are mentioned. In one, a rival jeweler tried to take out the local competition by changing listings to “permanently closed” and spamming negative reviews. In the other, a small interior designer’s business number was changed by a competitor. In both cases, inaccurate information on Google’s sites was noted and addressed immediately with corrective action. The nature of the internet is real-time fluctuations, so comments and crowd-sourcing issues have to be monitored before problems escalate.
Whether the false information is from malicious intent or ignorant mistake, the longer that false information is allowed to be presented as the truth it will be seen by an increasing number of people and probably passed on.
Online reputation management is an important strategy to cultivate. You will find more information at http://www.reciprocalconsulting.com/online-reputation-management.php#4.