Is reputation in danger on the internet?

rimcAs the internet’s importance as a communications medium continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for companies and organisations to keep a close eye on their online reputations.

Discussions about a given trademark can soon begin to have an affect on overall brand image. There are already examples from around the world of companies discreetly employing people to spread negative news about competitors online, for example on popular blog servers. An increase in negative, unfair or unconfirmed news on the internet can have a real and serious impact on a company’s value, mbl.is reports.

This is just one of the issues that will be tackled at the Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference (RIMC), which will be held later this month.

Kristjan Mar Hauksson, Director of Internet Marketing and one of the founders of Nordic eMarketing, will be one of the conference chairs. The conference is a joint project between Nordic eMarketing and mbl.is. Nordic eMarketing works to advise companies and individuals on how to investigate their online reputations, both that of their staff and of their trademarks and products. By also tracking competitors’ online reputations, companies can begin to build a strategy for using online reputation to their advantage.

Kristjan Mar Hauksson says companies can no longer afford to stand to one side and allow the internet to say whatever it likes about them. To illustrate this, he points out that not long ago United Airlines lost millions of dollars just because of old news. “What happened was that an old and out-of-date news piece about a United Airlines bankruptcy announcement was re-posted on Google News and picked up by automatic search programs which search that particular automatic search engine in order to advise traders whether to buy or sell shares – so they all started selling. In just a few hours the share price plummeted and the company’s losses were enormous,” he says.

That an automatic search program could cause that much damage by picking up a piece of news that was in reality several years old, is just one example of how huge an impact online reputation management can have, according to Kristjan Mar Hauksson.