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ECONOMICS REPORT - Paying Others to Worry About Your Online Image

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Negative online comments can harm a company's or individual's reputation.
Negative online comments can harm a company's or individual's reputation.

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

A reputation -- what people think of you, good or bad -- is built one message at a time. The difference today is that people can get their messages out to lots of other people at lightning speed through websites and social media. So, not surprisingly, an industry is fast developing around managing online reputations for individuals and businesses.

KEN WISNEFSKI: "Up to eighty percent of people have been influenced in a purchasing decision by what they've read or seen online."

Ken Wisnefski is chief executive of WebiMax, a company he started in two thousand eight. WebiMax is a search engine optimization, or SEO, company. Search engine optimization involves different ways to improve the results of online searches.

WebiMax offers several different services, but Ken Wisnefski says reputation management is growing the fastest.

Some of his customers need help with urgent publicity problems. Others are seeking long-term management of their online image. Mr. Wisnefski says about one-fifth of his business is with companies and individuals outside the United States.

How does reputation management work?

WebiMax has two sides to its business. The company can organize online publicity campaigns to try to limit the harm done by negative comments or bad news. Mr. Wisnefski says when a client gets in the news for the wrong reasons, his company does not try to hide what happened. Instead, it develops a campaign to show that the client is dealing with the problem in a productive and positive way, he says.

In that sense, the work seems a lot like old-fashioned public relations, but in cyberspace.

But what if clients are the target of lies or maybe an organized effort to harm their reputation? Then WebiMax would use its legal team to try to have the comments removed.

KEN WISNEFSKI: "We realized pretty early on that it wasn't going to just be a marketing function, that there also needed to be a legal function involved with it. And marrying the two together is what really has impact and makes this successful."

In the United States, not all speech is protected by the Constitution. And even if the comments are true, the threat of a costly legal fight may be enough to get them removed.

Ken Wisnefski thinks the legal side of reputation management is only going to grow. He says WebiMax is profitable and expects ten to fifteen million dollars in revenue this year.

Clients of companies that manage reputations can pay thousands of dollars a month or as little as a hundred dollars a year. But here is some free advice.

KEN WISNEFSKI: "If you're not paying attention or at least monitoring what's being said about you online, you're making a mistake because other people are paying attention to that."

And that's the Economics Report in VOA Special English. You can read and listen to more business news online at www.unsv.com.  I'm Mario Ritter.

网友的学习评论(12条):
作者:lvjiaying1984
It is particularly important to protect the online reputation of the companies because it can influence a lot the companies. There are some people or some companies who deliberately do harm to some other people or other companies to compete in the technology race. For example, there is a company in China selling a kind of device named alpha-stim, in Chinese named ansiding, imported from America, which is used to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia.
作者:lvjiaying1984
Although the effect of this device is more or less good,some people say there is nothing useful to people. There people mostly come from the rivals of the company selling other kinds of devices the functions of which are almost the same, but far less effective. So this company employs some companies whose filed is in deleting bad images of companies. The company employed deleted most of the negative images or conceptions some evil people made. But I do have doubt whether the
作者:lvjiaying1984
things the people said which have been deleted are true or not. Sometimes the company deprives the rights to speak of people who sometimes said something was true. It is really difficult to judge whether the speech the persons in the cyberspace have said is true or not. But one thing seems certain that the company helped to delete all the messages created by some people or some companies were deleted. And as for some people's privacy, especially the celebrities,
作者:lvjiaying1984
there are all kinds of messages about them, some negative and some positive. Although it does the same harm to a particular celebrity, few of them have decided to employ expertise companies to wipe out the wrong images. The reason why they don't employ companies to wipe out the wrong images of them is that there are too many negative or positive remarks to their careers to delete them all.
作者:lvjiaying1984
things the people said which have been deleted are true or not. Sometimes the company deprives the rights to speak of people who sometimes said something was true. It is really difficult to judge whether the speech the persons in the cyberspace have said is true or not. But one thing seems certain that the company helped to delete all the messages created by some people or some companies. And as for some people's privacy, especially the celebrities,
作者:lzhmok
to think it over again and again before saying something? it's too complex!
作者:Scarly
suddenly, an old saying comes into my mind:people do not know it, don't do it! the chinese meaning is '要想人不知,除非己莫为'. the company this article had mentioned do a service that is to help individuals, especially businesses improve their reputations.to some extent this is really a very effecive way to achieve their goals, they only could have a temporary good reputations for a while,
作者:Scarly
at the same time,there might be some bad messages or sayings are spreading among peoples or their clients out the online world.they cant control or manage this way's reputation spreading easily.we all know that a business's developing is hard from start to run to develp to make profit. it is impossible for any of the businesses to have reputations of all good sayings.
作者:Scarly
if they do things are all by their conscience and social morality, i think there might be no use to pay a lot of money for improving their reputations online, in other words, in the cyberspace.
作者:Scarly
but turns out, nowadays is the age of electronic business, we are all the common people living in the complex society, no one can do things or no thing can satify all people. so sometimes the businessmen who own online shops really need to do some things to improve their reputations. there are so many online shops in the cyberspace,and the number of them are increasing day by day, it is not an easy thing to make profits or make development,
作者:Scarly
so it is necessary to use some certain method to increase the flow rate of their shop, in order to incease the number of trades .
作者:rosine
Personal reputation is very significant to everyone,if you want to live a normal life throughout the world and have good development in your career or be harmony with your friends and relatives,especially your wife or husband,you shoud keep good reputation in the world。
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