March 01, 2015 12:29 UTC

In the News

Paying Someone Else to Worry About Your Online Image

Negative online comments can harm a company's or individual's reputation.
Negative online comments can harm a company's or individual's reputation.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

A reputation -- what people think of you, good or bad -- is built one message at a time. The difference today is that people can get their messages out to lots of other people at lightning speed through websites and social media. So, not surprisingly, an industry is fast developing around managing online reputations for individuals and businesses.

KEN WISNEFSKI: “Up to eighty percent of people have been influenced in a purchasing decision by what they’ve read or seen online.”

Ken Wisnefski is chief executive of WebiMax, a company he started in two thousand eight. WebiMax is a search engine optimization, or SEO, company. Search engine optimization involves different ways to improve the results of online searches.

WebiMax offers several different services, but Ken Wisnefski says reputation management is growing the fastest.

Some of his customers need help with urgent publicity problems. Others are seeking long-term management of their online image. Mr. Wisnefski says about one-fifth of his business is with companies and individuals outside the United States.

How does reputation management work?

WebiMax has two sides to its business. The company can organize online publicity campaigns to try to limit the harm done by negative comments or bad news. Mr. Wisnefski says when a client gets in the news for the wrong reasons, his company does not try to hide what happened. Instead, it develops a campaign to show that the client is dealing with the problem in a productive and positive way, he says.

In that sense, the work seems a lot like old-fashioned public relations, but in cyberspace.

But what if clients are the target of lies or maybe an organized effort to harm their reputation? Then WebiMax would use its legal team to try to have the comments removed.

KEN WISNEFSKI: “We realized pretty early on that it wasn’t going to just be a marketing function, that there also needed to be a legal function involved with it. And marrying the two together is what really has impact and makes this successful.”

In the United States, not all speech is protected by the Constitution. And even if the comments are true, the threat of a costly legal fight may be enough to get them removed.

Ken Wisnefski thinks the legal side of reputation management is only going to grow. He says WebiMax is profitable and expects ten to fifteen million dollars in revenue this year.

Clients of companies that manage reputations can pay thousands of dollars a month or as little as a hundred dollars a year. But here is some free advice.

KEN WISNEFSKI: "If you’re not paying attention or at least monitoring what’s being said about you online, you’re making a mistake because other people are paying attention to that."

And that's the Economics Report in VOA Special English. You can read and listen to more business news online at voaspecialenglish.com.  I'm Mario Ritter.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Samantha Elauf, who was denied a sales job at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa in 2008, is pictured at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Feb. 25, 2015.

    Video Muslim Hijab: Dress Code or Discrimination?

    A closely watched case before the Supreme Court could have major results for religious rights in the workplace. It involves the clothing stores Abercrombie & Fitch and a young Muslim woman. She wore a Muslim headcovering, called a hijab, when seeking employment with the company. More

  • Video Putin: The ‘Lonely’ Leader Working to Rebuild Russian Power

    Experts say Russian President Vladimir Putin is a product of the collapse of the Soviet Union. They say he believes he is the only person who can lead the Russian nation and re-establish it as a world power. But some observers say he appears to be a lonely and unhappy man. More

  • FILE - In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islami

    Audio Growing Support in US for Campaign Against Islamic State

    The Pew Research Center has released a new public opinion survey. It shows a growing number of Americans support the military campaign against the group known as Islamic State. Americans also increasingly support the idea of sending U.S. ground troops to fight the group in Iraq and Syria. More

  • Video US West Coast Ports Working Again

    A labor dispute had slowed operations at more than 29 ports on the West Coast of the United States. Negotiators reached a deal that permitted work to restart. But, they are still working on details of the agreement. The work stoppage has slowed U.S. trade with Asian countries. More

  • lahore literary festival

    Video Pakistan Literary Festival Stands Up to Violence

    The Pakistani city of Lahore recently held a three-day literary festival. The event looked a lot like literary festivals in many other cities. But for some Pakistanis, its importance went beyond works of poetry and prose. For them, the show symbolized a fight against violent extremism. More

Featured Stories

  • Kerry and Declan Reichs (Courtesy Photo)

    Video Choosing to Be a Single Mother

    U.S. officials say birth rates for unmarried women over age 40 have been rising in recent years. In fact, the rate in 2012 was almost 30 percent higher than just five years earlier. There are single mothers by choice. They are generally older, successful, well-educated, and financially secure. More

  • Audio Young Writer’s Plays Explore Race, Identity in America

    Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' latest play 'An Octoroon,' is showing at a theater in New York City. It is based on a 19th Century work by Dion Boucicault. It tells about a white man who falls in love with a woman who is part black. At the time, mixed race marriage was banned in southern US states. More

  • Audio Understanding the Misunderstood Teenage Brain

    A common battle cry of teenagers to adults is, "You just don't understand me!" Well, they might be right. A brain scientist (neuroscientist) and mother to two teenagers says the teenage brain is quite different from the adult brain. She "debunks," or clears up three common myths about teenagers. More

  • Audio Politics Share the Stage at the Oscars

    Racial equality was not the only political or disputed issue performers discussed last night. Some used their acceptances speeches to talk about immigration, women’s rights, illness, suicide and government surveillance. And the movie of an American sniper continues to fuel the debate. More

  • Video Technology Increases Chances of Surviving Aneurym

    Each year, half a million people die from brain aneurysms, -- when a blood vessel burst in the brain. For survivors, physical disabilities are often servere. They may include memory problems, loss of balance, trouble speaking and even blindness. But new technologies are increasing survival rates. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs