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Checking Your Reputation

A problem that we see a lot of companies facing, especially with the pace that information spreads on the web, is that they can’t seem to keep track of how they are being viewed outside of their company. Business Logs and 9rules, Inc. didn’t have this problem a few months back for we were still under people’s radars so it was fairly easy to see what people thought of us. Fortunately we are starting to attract more opinions about our business and surprisingly (well okay, not really) some of the stuff we find is very different than what we thought we were like.

For example, we always believed that we could make 9rules a very big deal, otherwise we wouldn’t have started it. Since working on the Network back in May we lost sight of how people viewed us. In our minds we are still small and that’s probably because we know everything that is happening from the inside. Here is just one example of what someone thinks about us:

I think in most markets you are going to have the big 3(gawker, weblogsinc, 9rules) and then the rest. The rest can be successful, but the big 3 will be the most talked about. It will be interesting to see if anybody can dislodge any of the big 3 over the coming year, although I find that highly doubtful. The big 3 in this case appear to have oodles of traffic more than any of the others(including my own).

Jacob

Comment #4 from Is There Room for Another Blog Network?

Part of the Big 3?! As great as it is to read that, we never saw a Big 3, although we can definitely quantify a Big 2 (WIN and Gawker). That just makes me wonder what other people think of us. How can we check this kind of stuff? Sure Technorati and PubSub have been a big help, but they are just tracking the small amount of people who are actually writing about us. What about the people who have negative feelings towards us, how can we get access to their thoughts if they do not write them down or publish them?

Besides doing some surveys you can’t. However, with the tools the web provides you can track what things are being said by the people who do publish them, and we always like to respond to people regardless of they are critical or give us praise. Yesterday, while looking at my referrer logs I noticed this link from Yay Hooray forums and began to read with earnest. Here are the two comments that made my eyes bulge out of my head:

9rules has attracted some good writers. Personally I don’t see the draw and Paul Scrivens (of 9rules/whitespace) is one of the most annoying human beings in existence.

Yeah Scrivens comes off as a jackass.

While it’s great to be talked about, it’s not so great having people think of me this way because the feelings they associate with me are probably the same ones they associate with the Network (another issue to discuss later). So what could I do in this situation? If it was just myself that represented the company I would have nothing to worry about, but I have to look out for the reputations of Mike, Matthew, Colin and 60 other people so this was definitely a big deal for me.

I decided I would simply go along with it by saying:

I agree I can’t stand the guy and I have to look at him in the mirror and sleep in the same bed with him everyday.

The end result? I am not sure if the feelings of the original commentors changed, but I seem to have garnered some respect by a few others for doing so. The whole point was to not make myself look worse off and I think I accomplished that. I could have left the whole thread well enough alone, but that leaves my reputation in someone else’s hands instead of my own.

You can’t be aware of how everyone views your company or yourself, but you can be aware of the ones that are willing to speak out and its those people that you must initiate conversations with. That’s what makes weblogs so important for companies. You can’t control what people say about you, but you can control the medium that it takes place in and therefore manage your reputation a bit easier. That’s the value we see in blogs.

As for checking your reputation? Just read what people have to say about you, but keep it in perspective. Some individuals just have a negative viewpoint about certain things while others may throw nothing but praise your way. It’s your job to be selective and decide whose comments are the ones your company needs to worry about.

About Mike Rundle

Comments

  1. Yes, you guys are the big 3. Everyone sees you that way. 9rules is the “big little guy” or something, but you guys definitely have a lot of respect :)

  2. Thanks Jeremy, that means a lot from someone as well-respected as you are. It seems though that you are creating something of your own to knock the “big little guy” out of the Big 3. Or are you trying to make it the Fab 4?

  3. Paul, I’d rather have it be the Fab 4, to be honest. Tried finding you on Skype today to chat about this, with no luck… Feel free to grab me on Skype (jeremy_wright) or drop me an email, love to chat with you :) (jeremy@ensight.org)

  4. Yeah we should definitely talk. I will find you sometime this week hopefully (eeek, week is almost up!).

    I am Webscrivs (I think) on Skype.

  5. If it makes you feel better Scrivs, I was a little skeptical before meeting you in person. Now that I got a free meal out of you, you’re not such a bad guy.

  6. Haha thanks Chris and I was hoping that if I paid for that meal the 3 of you would come back one day and offer me one ;-).

    Still waiting…

  7. It’s funny that you mention that – I was thinking the exact same thing today. Give it time cause we’re broker than broke right now. You know, quitting our jobs and all.

    That’s actually a reason for you to hope for our success. You may get a free lunch out of it :)

    Oh, and I second the whole meeting in person thing. It makes a huge difference meeting online personalities in person, rather than just judging them by their writing.

  8. Britt says:

    For every person who thinks you’re an ass, there’s someone like me who would leave my wife and kid to come live with you, if you just said the magic words.

  9. Andrew Feldstein says:

    I wanted to start this comment with one of those quotable quotes. Something like “If everyone likes you, you’re doing something wrong”. Not sure who said that but the point is, with globalization and the increasing efficiency of communication and information networks, anyone can express his or her views in a public forum.

    If you want to be heard amidst the din you have to, not only have something to say, you have to give people a reason to listen.

    People are attracted to personalities. Having one is a good thing. But having one also means that you are giving people something to have an opinion about. As long as you like what you see when you look in the mirror smile and enjoy a little notoriety now and then.

  10. Lori Leach says:

    Paul, people talking about you is what put you where you are – you just need to be able to manage it well!

    I have been working with a company that has this tool called iKarma that allows businesses small and large to have an active role in building and preserving their reputation.

    Since we all know WOM is the best form of advertising, the tool provides and easy way to collect and store clients comments about you and your business.

    By having a third party collect and store those comments and making them available for others to see, a business can gain the value they deserve from the good WOM they have earned.

    I was just at the WOMMA conference in New York, and so much on this subject, ‘your reputation’ was discussed. I really think that everyone should use iKarma – it is a great way to manage your valuble business reputation.

    Check out my iKarma if you like – it really works for me!

    http://lori.ikarma.com

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