Four Levels of Reputation Monitoring Prowess

Everyone comes to the Reputation Monitoring party at one stage or another. Maybe you’re a rookie, bumbling around and covering up your mistakes because you don’t know any better. Maybe you’re an empath, getting dirty in the trenches while you ooze sympathy for everyone’s feelings. Perhaps  you’re a veteran, wise enough to know thy enemy before he strikes.  But maybe, just maybe, you’re a Jedi, aware of all things at all times. Dynamically in touch with The Force.

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List of Online Reputation Monitoring Tools

I don’t really update anymore except with links to articles. So we’re making this the destination for my list of online reputation management / monitoring tools. If I miss some on this list initially, please leave a comment and I’ll add them to the list. And once the list is somewhat complete, I may even add some commentary about each one.

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ORM Approaches the Tipping Point

Give credit where credit is due. Facebook reached 250 million users. Twitter is the fastest growing social media network. Nearly a million blog posts are published each day. We’re on the cusp of it now. Communication has really transitioned to a Web / Text based enterprise.

Steve Nash to announce the signing of his new NBA contract on Twitter. Oprah, Ellen, Ashton Kutcher, and ESPN all promote Twitter to the masses. CNN teams up with Facebook to provide live chat during major events. It’s happening right now. The majority is adjusting to instant spontaneous expression. And the ORM flood tide is about to roll in.

I’ve been awaiting this season since 2005, when I bought up a handful of domains related to online reputation management with the expectation of turning my Web marketing business into an exclusive reputation monitoring, management, and consulting service.

How Will We Recognize the Tipping Point?

A few things have to happen first. As you observe each step you’ll know we’re “that much” closer.

Phase 1: When the average person feels more comfortable sharing their opinions online than offline, you know we’ve reached critical mass. It’s only a matter of time.

Phase 2: Once people feel more comfortable searching out opinions online than asking around offline, the level of influence each online opinion holds trends up drastically.

Phase 3: When people spread opinions, rumors, and gossip found online without verifying accuracy, the iron is white hot.

Phase 4: Any and every possible comment will be shared, read, and spread about brands, products and services, and each company will either be prepared to address them as they are posted across the Web or they will be caught unaware and suffer the damage caused to their reputation, which inevitably leads to an erosion of consumer/investor confidence.

Phase 5: Online reputation monitoring, building, and repair services will have to ramp up their staffing to handle the volume of clients and mentions online.

Some would argue that we’ve already reached Phase 3. I see phases 1-3 still rising. But the tipping point is near. Most companies should already be engaged with ORM services to protect and expand their influence. But even the latecomers will hop on board soon enough.

Avoiding Comments Encourages Criticism

This is the year of the corporate blog. The thought leaders are already out in the blogosphere, yamming it up with their clients and customers. 2009 marks the year of widespread blog adoption, as thousands of companies play catch up to those who were willing to take risks before someone else had paved the way.

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