How’s Your Online Rep?

October 30, 2012

More small businesses are focusing on how to better manage their online reputations and using new software tools to track what’s being said about them online. 

For example, a site,, is an an online subscription service that compiles reviews and online comments written about a person or company across the Internet and sends alerts to the person. Other reputation management sites have also popped up, such as Netvibes,, and Some of these services, such as, even offer a “reputation adviser” who can coach businesses on how to respond to some bad individual reviews about the company or service. 

“Obsessive monitoring of online reviews has become a norm for tech-savvy small-business owners,” USA Today reports. “The burdensome but necessary task has been made even more complex by the emergence of social-media channels, Twitter in particular, that empower opinionated customers.”

But tracking where the bad review may come in from has posed a challenge for some small businesses. Customer complaints can come in from any number of online channels, from Yelp to Angie’s List to social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Industry research has shown that ignoring negative reviews online can actually hurt a company’s sales. For example, a study found that 80 percent of consumers reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews, according to the 2011 Online Influence Trend Tracker survey.

Source: “Online Reputation Crucial for Small Businesses,” USA Today (Oct. 29, 2012)

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