Managing your online reputation is essential. The first step is to find places where people
are talking about you, and the second step is to do something about it. You can always
find people gabbing away about this or that on forums. That’s what forums are for; they
offer a place where people can chat and sound off.
Searching for comments about your company online will definitely lead you to forums. But
if somebody is saying something negative about you on a forum, you’ve got to proceed with
caution. Acting rashly can actually ruin your reputation even more.
Why is this so? Because people on forums like to complain. That’s what they do there.
If you respond to them and start talking about how great your company is, it’ll look like
obvious self-promotion. Doing this will not win anyone over to your side, and will probably
lead to more attacks against you.
One of the reasons why you don’t want to do this is that it stretches out the thread. By
sticking up for yourself, you’re adding new content. When new content gets added to a
forum thread, Google picks it up because it has “fresh content.” It goes up in Google’s
ranks and even more people find this negative comment about you.
If you defend yourself and a bunch of other members jump into the discussion, then you’ve
really got problems.
So, what else can you do? Ignoring it will not make it go away. It will still be there,
dragging your name through the mud, as long as anybody’s reading it or adding their 2
If the negative comments are actually slanderous, libelous, untrue or obscene, you can flag
it as “inappropriate” or contact the forum moderators to get it removed. Other than that,
it might take some big muscle to get anything done. In that case, you’re better off hiring
professionals to clean it up for you.