Archives Andy Beal

If you use unethical reputation management tactics, your reputation is still tarnished

Using unethical/blackhat online reputation management tactics is like an athlete taking steroids. Yes, you may see some improvements, but you will eventually be found out and suffer the consequences–just ask Lance Armstrong!

That’s why Reputation Refinery will never use any ORM tactics it considers to be unethical and why Buzzfeed News turned to our CEO, Andy Beal, for his help in uncovering such tactics and provide a warning for others:

Andy Beal, a consultant and author of books about SEO and online reputation management, told BuzzFeed News that most reputation projects involve “using search engine optimization to try and push negative pages further down Google [results].”

“If you’re trying to get positive things to show up in Google, those positive things need to be legitimate, be real.”

To make that happen, Beal says he works to create high-quality, positive content about a client that reflects who they are. The goal is to give a client the reputation they’ve rightfully earned, he says.

“Your reputation is a reflection of your character. So if you’re trying to get positive things to show up in Google, those positive things need to be legitimate, be real — they need to be an extension of the great things that you’re doing,” he said.

“In a legitimate reputation clean-up campaign, you focus on rehabilitating a reputation, not just whitewashing the internet with fake, positive content,” Beal previously said of that campaign.

Read Andy Beal’s reputation advice in more detail.

Have you factored customer reparation costs into your operating expenses?

When figuring out your profit margin, you likely look at your different operating expenses: supplies, licensing, taxes, insurance, etc, etc.

But, are you factoring in customer reparation costs?

Customer reparation cost is the amount needed to make an unhappy customer happy again in order to protect your online reputation, so that a potentially negative review, post, tweet, etc doesn’t reduce the amount of income your business generates.

As a reputation attack can come in many shapes and forms, it’s not practical to assign a customer reparation cost to each product you sell or service you provide. Instead, you should simply set aside a certain percentage of your total income as an emergency fund for customer reparation costs.

Why is this important?

Here’s an example of an unhappy customer hurting your profits:

A customer is unhappy that the shirt they ordered was very wrinkled and they had to get it pressed. They ask you to reimburse $8 to cover the cost & time involved.

Your refuse, because, well, it’s just some wrinkles. $8 is way too much! The shirt only cost them $25, you cannot afford to refund $8!

The customer then writes a negative review, posts a negative blog post, tweets about their experience, and tells their friends to avoid buying from you.

You have not only lost the lifetime value of that one customer, but potentially have lost the lifetime value of other customers that Googled you, checked Amazon reviews, or saw the tweet. (Also known as the lifetime cost of a detractor.)

It’s a $25 shirt, with, let’s say $10 in profit. An average customer buys 3 shirts from you, over their customer lifetime value.

You drop from 100 new customers a month to 90 new customers a month, due to the attack on your reputation.

Quick math: $10 (profit) x 10 (customers lost) x 3 (average per customer) = $300 per month, lost in lifetime customer profit.

$300 per month in lost profit, because you dug your heels in and refused an $8 refund–or even a credit on their next purchase.

Whether you decide to set aside a reparation emergency fund each month, or simply accept that 1-2 times (or more) a month you will have to take a small hit to the profit from a single customer order, is up to you.

Just keep in mind that the amount of potential lost profit is often huge compared to the small expense of making an unhappy customer happy again. And let’s not forget the immense cost of hiring a firm such as Reputation Refinery to rebuild your damaged reputation.

That’s a LOT more than $8!

The 80/20 rule for social media follower growth

A lot of companies make the mistake of force-feeding their news, sales, and product pitches down the throats of their social media audience. This just turns off potential followers, aggravates existing ones, and leads to stagnant social network follower counts.

As part of our services to help clients improve their online reputation, we teach them the 80/20 rule and guide them in a strategy that has proven time-and-time again to be the most effective way to grow your social media audience…and your online reputation.


Don’t just sponsor an influencer, first build a great company, then build a great relationship

We’ve worked with clients to help them identify and reach out to influencers across Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more. For us, we don’t look for the influencers that already have a reputation for publishing sponsored content. We look for the ones that fit our client’s own reputation, have an authentic audience, and lastly, and perhaps the most important factor, we look for influencers that would love our client’s company and have no hesitation in recommending it–paid or not!