One person’s defensive reputation management maneuver is another’s ghastly crises. In search marketing blogs and communities, social media reputation management experts inadvertently teach losers to build nightmarish nuclear bombs. It’s a nasty byproduct of the holistic work we do. To assume that only smiley-faced individuals harvest the reputation tips and tricks our community proffers would be incredibly naive.

Social media experts: how would you feel to learn that blog posts you’ve written empowered some malfeasant idiot to completely trash an Innocent’s Google reputation? Ironically if you think about it, a recent slew of (intriguing) articles teaching tactics to defend reputation disasters could actually empower evil losers to pull the trigger with cunning focus and killer professional techniques. Let’s have a look.

Step By Step Dissimulation
My friend Jeff Quipp who we have the utmost respect for, recently wrote 2 posts which (albeit outstanding) essentially comprise the definitive how-to guide for bad guys. “How to Bury Negative Online Mentions of You – Intermediate Level Tactics” and 50+ Sites To Help You Bury Negative Posts About You or Your Company!, if reversed amount to nuclear ammunition for any blogger with half a brain, time on his/her hands, a bad attitude and sharp ax to grind.

Ironically, misusing as “offensive” the ostensibly “defensive” tactics Jeff so ably outlines would be so much more difficult to defend than the average blogger’s weak-ass-PageRank-zero post to nobody we usually have to deal with. Take for example link-building to specially named Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon, MyBlogLog and LinkedIn profiles. In the wrong hands the results could be completely devastating and difficult to defend even for pros.

Another Sphinn friend David Wallace, in his post “Using Social Media To Help Manage Online Reputation,” serves up an illustrated do-it-yourself guide to exploiting social media and blogs to “control” online reputation. The post is amazing in it’s detail. God help any of our clients should the nasty-banditos adapt David’s techniques.

Stuntduble, in the classic “lay-it-out-for-anyone-to-easily-understand style” he’s so well respected for, offers simple step by step social media defensive instructions by posting “Reputation Management Emancipation Proclamation – 10 Ways to “Own Yourself” Online.” Think about the ramifications if some asshole vigilante pit bull studies Stuntduble’s tactics and applies them to somebody’s company or girlfriend.

Build Anchor Text on Your Name(s) Now!
At the end of the day, clearly the best defensive tactics are undertaken preemptively. Still, not everyone has taken the time to build mini authority cross linked empires on their personal and/or company names as anchor text for SEO.

In that light while offering up holistic advice to wounded folks who are in a heap of hot soup is a kind thing for social media pros to do, we need to keep in mind that we are ALSO teaching the enemy how to take us on using our own weapons.

Additional Resources

A New Wave of Reputation Management Issues
ViperChill, Glen Allsopp

Trolls or Upset Customers? Do You Know the Difference
SearchMarketing Gurus

Nine Essential Tactics For Reputation Management In Social Media

StumbleUpon Death Threats in eBay Social Network

Dissatisfied Customers + Word of Mouth = Marketing Gone Bad
Tamar Weinberg, techipedia

Online Reputation Management Requires Cabinet War Rooms
SearchEngineWatch, Greg Jarboe

It All Comes Out In The Wash

yicrosoftdirectorygirl by Kimberly Bock

  • Nate Nead

    That’s interesting. I never thought of social media as a way of revenge. However, I think it does help us with online reputation. And, if a blogger had enough say in the world it could be something that could definitely trash another person.

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Nate Nead: Fortunately many of the “problems” our clients encounter in the SERPs can be easily dealt with. It’s more of a problem to defend against provocateurs who really know what they’re doing and take you on with high PR sites and linking tactics.

  • Igor The Troll

    Marty you see what can happen when you get an angry Blogger or competitor angry?

    They use the same tools that you do! It is called eye for eye!

  • spostareduro

    there are going to be times when no matter what we do or say may be under fire. this is why it is so important to focus on what we offer online and offline, making certain that we are not being harmful to others. it may come back to bite us in the *ss.

    be a friend..not an enemy or your professional and personal life may get a surprising social media reference that is damaging. no one is saying this is wise on behalf of the news spreader, but it is factual to think it is happening, and will continue to do so.

    all we can bank on in this world is what we do. if we are busy taking a stand for things that are meaningful and upbuilding, while nurturing our private lives the same way, we wont have time to sow too many negative seeds that ruin our reputation. if someone still feels the need to be damaging, well..then we go to plan b. (as mentioned by jeff and others) 🙂

    let’s face it, there are cold *ss people that want nothing more than to degrade you. some do it subtly, behind the scenes and some do it outright and announce it to the blogosphere for all to see.

    do unto others as you’d have done to you and hopefully you’ll score kudos, not reputation annihilation. 😉

  • Marty Weintraub

    @spostareduro” Truly…the Golden Rule…

  • Glen Allsopp

    Thanks for the link man, nice to see you have took an original angle on this topic

  • Wayne Smallman

    I think this is dangerously close to scaremongering.

    Yes, this kind of thing is possibility, but so is being hit by an asteroid.

    Setting up and carrying through with an electronic character assassination is a major commitment of effort, which I think would result in someone leaving tell-tail signs of their activities, meaning there are going to be very few anonymous grassy knolls to shoot from…

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Wayne Smallman: “Setting up and carrying through with an electronic character assassination is a major commitment of effort” = thank goodness! Just because it’s scary does not mean there’s nothing to fear. I’ve personally been attacked by these methods multiple times.

  • Pierce

    Thanks for the post. I don’t think you should have to cover up bad posts and reviews of your site, I mean, what were you thinking doing those “naughty” things anyways? 😛

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Pierce: Much of the time negative reviews can be turned into positive outcomes.

  • Robert Alan Yeatts

    Excellent observation! Better to be safe and defensive than be sorry.