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Protecting Your Business Reputation Online

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The internet has made researching and comparing goods and services significantly easier. Rather than buying industry magazines, reading professional reviews and trudging around shops or ringing multiple travel agencies, we can simply sit at home and surf the internet. At the click of a mouse, one can find professional articles, enthusiasts’ blog posts and the views of thousands of ordinary consumers who have read and reviewed a book on Amazon or dined out at a particular restaurant.

Although the internet has given great power to consumers and brought great advantages, the ability for anyone to publish to a mass audience has considerable scope for abuse.

Protecting Your Business Reputation with the Law

Although the internet has given the ability to consumers to become mass publishers, this does not come without responsibility. Simply publishing incorrect statements that unfairly trash a reputation in seconds can leave an author open to legal action for defamation.

The difficulty for businesses is that malicious posts can be circulated on message board and blogs relatively quickly and easily while the process of taking legal action and trying to restore a reputation after the event can be slow and difficult.

If material has been posted that is defamatory or obscene, a business can request an ISP to remove that material. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter often have procedures in place to manage these issues. Review sites may also have procedures in place to deal with offensive or defamatory posts but there is no guarantee that negative reviews considered simply unfair will be removed.

Online Reputation Management

Businesses that do have a significant online presence or that rely on customers finding them online should have a proactive approach to online reputation management. Any strategy should include a commitment to take legal action if necessary but there are other techniques that should also be considered too.

There is plenty of software available that enables businesses to track what is being published about them online. This can quickly alert you to issues that might require legal action and help mitigate potential damage. It can also be used positively to engage with customers and industry resources to generate a positive online image. Ensuring that your own website and positive reviews about your goods and services rank high on search engines above negative reviews can also be an effective way to reduce their impact.

If you need assistance to protect your online reputation, Rollingsons has experienced lawyers who can assist you. For more information please contact James Crichton via e-mail or by telephone on 0207 611 4848.