Online Reputation Management, as defined by Wikipedia, is the “practice of consistent research and analysis” of your personal or professional, business or industry reputation as represented” by the all of the content across that appears anywhere online (on the internet) on all types of online media. If someone has mentioned your name or your company name, and that comment is not a very positive one, your reputation could be at stake. Certainly nowadays, online reputation management is very key, especially from a public relations standpoint. If someone says something that’s not positive about you or your company, then you need to respond quickly.
So, how much does online reputation management cost? That’s a question that, unfortunately, can really only be answered with a “it depends” type of answer. Let me explain.
As someone who provides online reputation management services, I can tell you that the cost of online reputation management really depends on how much time is required to manage your online reputation. Just like a lot of other services, a lawyer may charge a certain fee as a one-time fee to handle your case. And a lawyer may charge another fee as a retainer: a fee that you must pay every month. Some fees are higher than others.
When it comes to the cost of online reputation management, I must look at your individual situation. I must take into account what is going to be required (how much time is involved) in order to do the very best job of managing your online reputation. Let’s take, for example, a financial services firm that recently hired me to manage their online reputation. When you searched for their company name, there were some search results that were not favorable to them showing up in the top 10 rankings in Google. So, they wanted to “change” the search results and effect what showed up: there was one website in particular that showed up in the search results for a search on their company name that had misinformation: they wanted that information removed. In this case, there were several hours’ of work involved over a period of a few months, to remove that information. I was able to handle that for them, and ultimately it cost them a few thousand dollars to handle their online reputation management. That generally was a one-time issue, which took a few months to complete.
There are also cases where people want a Ripoff Report web page removed or “bumped down” in the search results. I am fully aware of how a web page on Ripoff Report can be removed from the web entirely. However, that is more costly in nature. Again, this is a one-time deal to take care of.
But like I mentioned earlier, online reputation management is not just about the one-time removal of certain web pages from the search engines. In fact, proper online reputation management could include other services such as monitoring a company (or your) reputation online. You may have a large brand to protect: I can provide services that will monitor every single reference of your company’s brand online. The cost of that type of online reputation management will vary, depending on how often your company’s brand is mentioned online. Let’s take, for example, the Toyota brand. You are probably aware by now of all of the issues that Toyota has had lately with their cars. If an influential blogger were to write something that was false or malicious, and hundreds of thousands of people may read what they wrote, then Toyota would want to respond very quickly. The online reputation management cost just to manage the number of people “monitoring” Toyota’s brand online would be rather expensive, and proper online reputation management may cost tens of thousands of dollars every month.
There are some great tools out there that can help you manage your online reputation. You may need to do it yourself if you are on a budget and you have the time to deal with each online reputation management issue when it comes up. However, if your time is more valuable, you may need to turn to an expert who can handle your online reputation management swiftly and appropriately.
So, to answer your question, how much does online reputation management cost? It depends. It could range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars every month. How much does online reputation really cost? It could cost you your reputation.
About the Author: Bill Hartzer currently is the President of BillHartzer.com, a Strategic Online Marketing Consultancy that includes services such as search engine optimization, social media marketing, and online reputation management. Bill Hartzer formerly managed the Search Engine Marketing division of Vizion Interactive and MarketNet, leading interactive marketing and website design firms in the Dallas, Texas area.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 8:30 am.