“Reputation is only a candle, of wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit.” ~ James Russell Lowell
Online reputation management is a hot topic these days. While it affects individuals of every profession and companies of all sizes and industries, direct selling companies and distributors face some unique challenges, as I describe in my latest article for Networking Times, Keep It Clean: Twelve Steps to Protect Your Reputation Online.
For one thing, the problem is universal in the direct selling industry. 88% of the DSA Global 100 have negative results on page one of Google for a search for their company name. Over 75% have one or more negative words (“scam”, “pyramid scheme”, “lawsuit”, “complaints”, etc.) in Google’s instant search suggestions:
Now, it’s not that other companies and other industries don’t have that negative content out there — Google any telecommunication or utility company plus “complaint” and you’ll be stunned. Look at just the Pissed Consumer page for Verizon:
It’s not that the negative isn’t there for them — it’s just not showing up on the first page of Google.
So what’s the difference? It’s simple: a) these companies put out massive amounts of content, and b) mainstream media tends to ignore the direct selling industry except when there’s a huge (and probably negative) story.
Another challenge direct selling companies face is what we call “brandjackers” — professional internet marketers who create content targeting company names for SEO, often in conjunction with “scam”. They promise an independent review, and sometimes they’re even positive, but their ulterior motive is to sell something of their own: leads, marketing tools, their educational product, or perhaps a competing opportunity.
Finally, you have to deal with the fact that the field is competing with the company. It’s certainly preferable to have distributors ranking ahead of competitors or negative sites, but it can be very frustrating when a distributor has their (probably unauthorized) version of your opportunity video ranking ahead of the official one, both on Google and on YouTube.
Are you or your company experiencing these yourself? Want to know what to do about it?
- Check out 12 Steps to Protect Your Reputation Online for an overview of the process.
- Subscribe to my blog. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be expanding on each of those 12 steps as individual blog posts, including specific tips and resources.
- If you need help now, check out Momentum Factor’s Online Reputation Management services and let’s see what we can do. You can also contact me directly and I’ll be happy to help.