Google Real Time Search: The Reputation Management Nightmare of 2010

January 5, 2010 · Filed Under Online Reputation Management, Social Media · 11 Comments 

<Cue cheesy announcer voice>

Tired of having to spam blogs, write nasty comments on forums and get repetitive stress injuries just to ruin someone you don’t like?

What if you could run a smear campaign against your competitors, slandering them in front of millions of people per hour?

Well, good news, kids! Now, thanks to Google, you can do it in seconds!

Yep, it’s Google real-time search. If you want to chop up someone’s reputation, Google’s new ‘cutting edge’ (hah, get it!) technology will slice, dice, frappe and otherwise grind it into pulp.

</End cheesy announcer voice>

I wish I was exaggerating. But Google real time search will be the biggest online reputation management (ORM) nightmare of 2010. They make it so damned easy.

I’m going to show you how it works. This isn’t earth shattering. All the bad people out there have figured it out. But you need to know so you can defend yourself (somehow):

1. Find a trend

First, go to http://www.google.com/trends

Pick a top-10 trending topic. Those topics are sure to have real-time search results. You can double-check. Just go to Google and search for the trending phrase. Look for the ‘latest results for…’ and your keyword. If it’s there, you have a winner:

OK. Now you have the territory staked out. Time to do some damage.

2. Commence abuse

Now it’s time to have some fun. Go to Twitter (if you don’t have a Twitter account, you’ll need to set one up). Type in the message of your choice:

3. Watch the results

Go back to Google and watch the real time results. In a short time, you’ll see your message show up:

That’s it. Do this consistently for a little while and you can create an online reputation management disaster.

Who cares?

You do. No one gives a flying crap about me, so I can beat myself up in social media all I want. You’re different. If you:

  • Sell a product;
  • Offer a service;
  • Look for a job;
  • Are a public servant;
  • Or otherwise matter in the universe…

…I guarantee folks search your name and check on you before they call. And it only takes one negative listing in the search results to drive away customers. I’ve seen it time and again. If you and a competitor appear identical to a consumer, but you have one negative comment and they don’t, you’ll lose every time.

What to do

Remember that big kid that used to slap you silly at the bus stop? Bet your dad said something helpful like “ignore him and he’ll go away”. Didn’t work for me either. You can’t stop assholes from slandering you via real time search. You can make sure they do little or no damage:

  1. Take ownership of your brand name on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
  2. Monitor what people are saying about you. Get a report at least once a day (hourly is better).
  3. Make checking that report part of your normal routine.

Last, and possibly most important: Network with others online. The bigger your network, the more people you have to help you stand up to the bully.

I wish I knew…

…What the brainiacs at Google were thinking when they came up with their real time search model. Hopefully, they’ll fix the algorithm and make it harder to abuse the system. For now, though, your best bet is to think like a bully, keep an eye on the conversations that are going on out there, and know when someone’s abusing you.

About Ian

Ian Lurie is the CEO of Portent Interactive, and writes the internet marketing blog Conversation Marketing. He’s been an internet marketer since 1995. Recent calculations show he’s had over 30,000 hours experience in the field. Which may explain his tendency to rant like a lunatic. He’s co-author of the Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and author of the book Conversation Marketing. When permitted he rants and raves about internet marketing at various conferences, and attempts to use his powers of sarcasm for good.

How Social Media Does Hostile Takeovers: Facebook

September 10, 2009 · Filed Under Social Media · Comments Off on How Social Media Does Hostile Takeovers: Facebook 

facebook-v-twitterFirst they offered vanity URLs, then they purchased Friendfeed, and now they are offering @ replies.  I would wager the ability to “favorite” a Facebook Status is probably right around the corner.  It’s pretty obvious that Facebook is performing a hostile takeover of Twitter, and they’re doing it right.

Facebook might have come before Twitter, but it only really snowballed into the social media juggernaut that it is in the past year or so — right about the same time that Twitter was starting its meteoric climb to popularity.  Until recently the two sites really had two different purposes – you meet new people on Twitter, you stay connected with people you already know on Facebook.  But it appears early on this year Facebook started getting pretty envious of Twitter’s popularity.

First they adopted Twitter’s very attractive concept of the ability to offer vanity URLs.  And people loved them because, well, people are vain.  It was a nice start, but that in and off itself wasn’t enough to make it look like Facebook was gunning for Twitter.  It actually looked kind of desperate and sad, like a balding 40-something trying to wear Ed Hardy (sorry Jon).

And then people noticed a new rising star – Friendfeed.  For a while there it looked like Friendfeed was poised to take over Twitter’s space; after all, they offered everything Twitter did and more.  It just didn’t catch on at first.  But once Friendfeed started gaining traction in Twitter’s space Facebook swooped in and bought them.  And they bought them fairly early, before the price tag went any higher ($50M).  At that point we all knew Twitter was making Facebook nervous, and the game was on.

Twitter’s response?  Several server outages in the middle of the day while they made a pretty new interface for adding friends.  And oh yeah, they also pissed everyone off by deleting hundreds of followers at once, blaming it on spammers and bots.

Today Facebook took the biggest swipe at Twitter’s jugular by offering direct @ replies in status updates.  Not only is this a wholesale copy of the heart of Twitter as an application, it clearly defines Facebook’s intentions of taking over Twitter’s audience in social media.

While we all know and love Twitter for its simplicity, it appears its going to have a hard time keeping up with everything Facebook has to offer.  If you want to see how a hostile takeover is done, keep an eye on Facebook.  They’re doing it right.

Twitterjacking, the New Fear in Online Reputation Management

April 30, 2009 · Filed Under KnowEm News, Online Reputation Management, Social Media · 2 Comments 

Do you know who it is you’re actually following on Twitter? Facebook? MySpace? Due to the recent explosion of interest in Twitter, thanks in no small part to Ashton (@aplusk) and Oprah (@oprah), celebrities and regular folk are flocking to Twitter. But how do you know if the person you’re following is actually a celebrity, and not just regular folk? You can’t, and Twitter is still very quiet about any plans to stop Twitterjacking: the act of impersonating someone else on Twitter.

The biggest concern with your brand identity in Online Reputation Management and Social Media used to be just giving your brand a good name. But what happens if someone steals your brand name? Do you think they’re going to be as concerned with your reputation? The need for businesses to secure their brand name on every possible venue has never been greater.

Fox NewsKnowem co-founder Mike Streko was recently interviewed by Fox News in a report about Twitterjacking: “Unless you start spending money to put out press releases saying that’s not your profile or jump through hoops to contact Twitter, it never works out well.”

The truth is, it’s almost impossible to get your brand name or username back once it’s been taken. Unlike when someone takes yourbrandname.com, there is no universal naming authority for social media profiles. As a brand owner, you’re basically at the mercy of the site owner. Or, since there are hundreds (if not thousands) of social media websites thriving today, you would have to appeal your case to every individual site owner to get your brand name profile back.

Or you could just use KnowEm’s username signup service (or monthly subscription service) to secure all your brand name profiles today, in just one click.

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