Does ORM mean the end of devastating online attacks? RepSpert explains.
In an age where the internet dictates everything from personal interactions to businesses, many are feeling the pressure to cultivate a flawless online presence. The process of maintaining a clean digital identity can be fraught with unpredictable pitfalls, especially when removing unwanted content from the internet which poses a plethora of problems. In order to fight against unpredictability in the online space, we are witnessing the emergence of a new service: online reputation management (ORM).
Pictured: Ed Butcher and Ed Godfrey, founders of online reputation management service, Repspert.
Ed Butcher and Ed Godfrey have teamed up to create their own ORM offering. After suffering the damage that undeserving negative online content can cause, the duo’s company, Repspert, aims to eliminate negative online content ranging from reviews to news articles and more. They identified a unique need to provide ORM services for personal brands and organizations that have fallen victim to negative online coverage that has ultimately damaged countless reputations and results.
The founders sat down to answer a few questions and shed some light on the importance of online reputation management in today’s digital climate.
Before we dive into the world of ORM and your work with Repspert, let’s talk about how the two of you met.
FOR EXAMPLE: Of all places, we met in hotel quarantine in Darwin. We arrived the same day. Both involved in business, we had 14 days to flirt with new business ideas. Two like-minded people, same name, all things, a few mutual connections, and that’s where it all started.
Since ORM is a relatively new term, can you briefly explain what it means?
EB: ORM is basically everything people can find when they search for you online. Whether on a social media platform or on the first page of Google. The term can include a range of services, but we’re keeping it simple. In a responsive sense, we work to eliminate negative content when possible. From there, we take proactive steps, helping to improve branding through the creation of positive content. Our range of services covers all bases.
How did the idea for Repspert come about?
EB: I woke up the day after my 25th birthday celebrations ended and found three negative reviews for my business online. The reviews had no comments in the body and were names that had never been our customers. I evaluated the type of options that were already available to me in the market. It was going to be very expensive to remove these three reviews, just for what was a random attack. I explored alternative methods and found a way to write the reviews on my own. Following this, 6 months later Ed and I decided to start the business based on the idea.
FOR EXAMPLE: I delved into the idea and very quickly discovered that the competition was making the service too complicated, as to what was involved. Immediately I started thinking about ways to bring transparency to the industry and offer a strategy that could be exploited by any brand, big or small.
Why is ORM so important in 2021?
FOR EXAMPLE: Search results are now the face of your reputation. On a personal level, it serves as a digital resume. From a business perspective, the first page of google is what influences purchasing decisions.
What kinds of situations do you see on a regular basis?
EB: The internet has given everyone a voice, regardless of what is factual or not. It can quickly find its way through many online media, spreading like wildfire. We regularly see images online of big brands destroyed by overreactions from outsiders and uninformed opinions. We have seen many organizations at the top of the list suffer as a result.
What difference do you make to the ORM industry?
FOR EXAMPLE: This is our approach. We have refined a proprietary strategy that takes the guesswork out of ORM, attracting organizations and brands of all sizes. We bring full transparency to a poorly understood industry, trying to remove any negative content where possible and removing any remaining content through alternative methods. In most situations, we will be able to repair a damaged online reputation within 120 days. If we exceed the allotted time, we will finish the job for free. Our strategy is based on a proactive approach to ORM, creating and disseminating positive content to further improve the brand image of our clients. It also protects against any future attack. Finally, our clients benefit from reputation monitoring that scans every corner of the web, allowing them to act quickly in the event of a future online crisis.
What advice would you give to individuals or businesses looking to improve their MNOs?
FOR EXAMPLE: Our business repairs reputations online, not businesses. It is about separating what is unfair and what could be constructive criticism – rather than becoming defensive and believing that there is a silver bullet to removing “bad things”. We help individuals and organizations who have been unfairly targeted repair a wrongful attack, or those who are the subject of criticism. If there’s a pre-existing, legitimate issue, unflattering content will be a constant concern.
EB: It’s important to be proactive and ensure basic metrics like asking satisfied customers for reviews, so that you catch them when they complete the buying cycle and they are very happy with their purchase. You see a lot of big companies doing it, but no SMEs. You’ll ask them, “How many customers do you have per year?”, And their answer will be in the thousands, and you look at their Google reviews and they’ll have a single digit. It is therefore very important for businesses of all sizes to understand the importance this plays.
Where do you see ORM going in the future?
EG and EB: towards the Moon.
What are your main strategic plans for future growth?
FOR EXAMPLE: ORM is becoming very common, so we are constantly researching and developing technologies that will make ORM accessible to everyone, in terms of cost and efficiency. ORM has so many different pillars, and we want to have a simple yet effective solution for each.
EB: My take is that an online reputation is the equivalent of your credit history, but it is exposed to the general public and not just to credit bureaus. This is the equivalent of years of public visibility of your AMEX transactions. This is what we seek to resolve.
Credit: Interview with Rachel Gallagher