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Your Online Reputation and An Ounce of Prevention

By Herb Tabin Submitted on March 8th, 2011

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We’ve all heard the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This phrase is true in many aspects of life, including your online reputation. The best way for anyone to keep from getting a bad reputation, especially a bad one created by someone that isn’t you, is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Estimates are showing that more than 70% of employers will search for a prospective employee’s name on the Web as part of their hiring and screening process. At least half of those employers have skipped over an applicant based purely on what they found online.

Countless graduates have gone out into the world to find a job only to learn (usually after a lot of rejections) that the one photo of them on Facebook at a drunken party has denied them countless opportunities. Worse yet, what about those who find out that a negative comment from an old flame or rival on a couple of blogs are at the forefront of their Google results?

Both of these, especially the inadvertent (maybe your friend posted that Facebook photo) or malicious (as in the blogs), negatives can be thwarted just by having already established your online reputation beforehand. For instance, the Facebook photo would have been sidestepped had you known to untag yourself from things like that to preserve your presence online. The vicious blogs? Those would never have made the first page of Google results for your name had you already been well-established online with a website, Facebook page, etc. built in your favor.

You have to do two things to keep a good online reputation: build it yourself and stay on top of it. Use your name as a “key word” on every honest, positive-spin blog post or website about yourself that you make. This might sound like narcissistic marketing, but what you’re doing is building yourself as an online brand much in the same way you build and protect your credit record.

For instance, when I post a blog on my site, when I built my Facebook page, or when I write something to be published on another person’s website, I make sure that “Herbert Tabin” is included in it specifically. At least once beyond the article byline. Every time I do this, it’s adding my name to search results with a new piece of content that will cast me in a positive light.

If you were to search for my co-author Craig Agranoff’s name or for our book “Online Reputation Management,” you’ll see the same thing. We have built our online reputations from the ground up in order to prevent others from ruining them with a single blog post or a couple of comments.

You should do the same.

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Getting A Credit Score for Your Online Reputation

By admin Submitted on March 1st, 2011

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Everyone should be familiar with the credit scoring system that is so much a part of our lives today. The scores you have from the three bureaus can make or break your financial life. Your online reputation is becoming just as important, but so far there are no standards for measuring how good your reputation is or isn’t at a glance.

A new startup called TrueRep wants to change that. TrueRep.com is an online reputation management service owned by the online background check provider Intelius. The company is expanding to including online rep management. They begin by assigning you a “Rep Score.”

The process is fairly simple. You sign up and subscribe to their service (about $10/month if you pay monthly or $8/month if you pay annually). TrueRep then pulls your information from public databases all over the Web: search engine searches, social networking sites, etc. These are compiled into scores based on positive or negative connotations or associations in three categories: stability, trustworthiness, and safety.

For instance, having my name “Craig Agranoff” in the same paragraph as the name “Mussolini”¬†would likely give me a negative score for that article on TrueRep’s system. Several other things are also included, such as how often you’re mentioned, where, and by whom. All of this combines to give you a Reputation score.

This is a simple 0-100 spectrum with 0 being very negative and 100 being angelic. Your overall online exposure (how often you’re mentioned) is also given as a Low-High scale. The name “Craig Agranoff,” for instance, ranks pretty high on the exposure scale since Craig is all over the place online.

Once these are known, TrueRep can then monitor your presence online and flag the bad stuff so that you can try to take care of it.

It’s a good start on something that will, I think, eventually become as standard as our credit scores and how they affect our lives. TrueRep is currently in “test mode” and will officially launch in a couple of months.

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