Here’s an interesting experiment in reputation management. I like the way Aaron Wall concludes his piece:
Compare the above scenario with having a blog in the marketplace and building fans one at a time. Sure connecting with people one at a time is slower, but it is much less risky too.
If you are thinking about paying someone to do online public relations for you or you think that buying a review is going to get people excited about your business and you DON’T yet have a blog, I’d suggest you ditch the paid review idea and start a blog. Even if you hire a ghostwriter to write your blog for you, the monthly expense will do you much more good long term than any paid review will ever do. Plus, Aaron Wall makes a convincing case that when negative publicity goes viral it is as difficult, or more, to stop as positive publicity. And you can’t control what other people are going to say about you. You’d be better off letting them say it on your own blog than on someone else’s. Why? It’s an environment you can control.
When people comment on a blog, even if it is a negative comment, the blog owner benefits because the comments register as content and if you get enough of them then that pushes the blog post further up the search rankings for one of the important keywords. Do you really want to risk hundreds of negative comments on a positive review that exists on someone else’s blog when you could have your own blog ranking for those comments? And, get this, people are less likely to leave a negative comment about you on your own blog than they are someone else’s so merely having a blog is a small deterrent and reputation management tool.
When it comes to online reputation management, start at the basics. Own the property, allow people to speak their mind freely, and answer their comments about your company and its products with real language from real people. Engage and re-engage.