"A large number of clients depend upon reviews to make their decisions. So your online reputation is a critical factor," said David Miller, a spokesperson of online reputation management firm, aReputation.
"We always persuade businesses to act in response and fill in the gaps, talk about their side of the story as well. It goes a long way in appeasing the anger and disillusionment of the customer," Miller said.
A London-based firm with offices in Geneva, New Delhi, Dubai and Singapore, aReputation assesses, builds, tracks and monitors online reputation. It has assisted more than 7,800 clients, including celebrities, professionals, companies across four continents.
Pointing to some recent studies, Miller said 53 percent of the people never look beyond the first two results for any given search and 89 percent of users do not look past the first page. Data showed proper management of online content was critical.
"Controlling your online reputation can be critical and may prove decisive in the ultimate success or collapse of your company. If you are not in charge of your brand online, someone else will be," Miller said.
"Smart companies have figured this out. They realize reputation management should be an ongoing component of branding. Companies, celebrities, politicians and high-networth individuals need to pay attention to this and groom their presence accordingly."
Chirag Cherian, a director at image management firm Perfect Relations, also said online reputation was playing an increasingly-important role in the success of companies, especially in consumer businesses like mobiles, laptops, TVs and home appliances.
"Online reputation can make a big difference. It's influence is growing day by day," said Cherian, adding major companies are spending substantial part of their publicity budgets on managing online reputation.
"Online reputation management's primary role is to reduce the negativity and increase the positivity," said Samir Kapur, senior vice president, Adfactors PR.
"When consumer feels a dissonance in committed service versus actual performance he may write something negative about the brand, it is the bran''s duty to address the issue," said Kapur.
To meet the sophisticated and growing demands of online reputation management, firms like aReputation have introduced a host of services -- these cater to damage control, firewalls, brand building, monitoring and launches.
Launches can help companies reach out to the over 100 million internet users in India, damage control services help them prevent news and content that creates negative vibes about the product, service or brand, Miller explains.
Use of surveying techniques like triangulation -- like identifying the physical names from internet addresses and eliminating pages that have negative content -- are some tailormade services that some firms like aReputation offer.
--IANS (Posted on 09-09-2013)