Online Reputation Management Blog

SEO, Social Media Firms Struggle to Stay Ahead of the Curve as Google Releases New Updates

As tends to happen after Google puts out its latest updates for Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird — what you should think of as the gatekeepers of the Silicon Valley giant’s tech empire — digital marketing firms are freaking out a little bit. The changes to Google’s menagerie of animal-themed policemen are said to affect a full 90% of all listings on the search engine, which earns upwards of 100 billion search queries per month. With 93% of all online experiences beginning with a search engine — the vast majority of which start with Google — the updates aimed at removing low quality links and content from search engine result pages could obviously put a big dent in the revenue of a business that relies on digital marketing to generate buzz and sales.

As a new article from The Guardian details, however, the latest Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird updates shouldn’t be met with hysteria. In effect, they only serve to continue Google’s trend of pushing web marketing away from spammy link building and content creation practices. Instead, companies will have to shift to content that delivers utility to web users. In short, they’ll have to do what most top tier SEO companies have been saying they should have been doing for the last couple of years.

What Should a “Shift to Content” Actually Entail?
Quite simply, a shift to content should just be about focusing on high quality content that people find some sort of value in, whether that means making them laugh, educating them, or otherwise. Consider, according to a report from Business 2 Community, 73% of web users feel frustrated when they view a piece of uninteresting or otherwise useless content. The latest Google updates do, indeed, place more pressure on companies to put out great content, but if that means tapping into the $278.9 billion American web users are estimated to be spending online by 2015, the smart company will be willing to make the effort.

How are you modifying your marketing strategies to keep pace with Google’s updates? Let us know in the comment section below.

What the Marketing Industry Can Learn From Facebook’s Social Experiment

Many Facebook users have expressed discontent and alarm at the recent news stating that approximately 700,000 users were part of a secret social experiment back in 2012. Over a year after the study was begun, Facebook users seem conflicted about what they may or may not have participated in. The study required administrators to comb through users’ Newsfeed pages and slightly tweak which posts and status updated made by other were most often displayed on the page — either posts with positive messages were included more often, or posts with negative messages were increased. After the adjustment, researchers examined the types of posts made by users, to see if the users exposed to certain types of updates would be more likely to respond by posting updates of a similar nature.

Rather than being interested in the results, Facebook users are more interested in the ethics behind the research, and many critics have even gone as far as saying that the users exposed to negative posts may have experienced serious psychological harm.

From a marketing standpoint, this particular experiment is quite interesting: on one hand, it brought Facebook’s name into a huge public discussion, and did so at a time when social media giants Twitter and Instagram are becoming more popular than Facebook — bad press is still press, right? It’s impossible to get people interested in a brand when they don’t even know the name. But on the other hand, this move seemed to violate users’ trust, even though the experiment was technically conducted without violating the Facebook User Agreement. Many people are wondering, however, if this experiment will end up hurting Facebook’s empire in the long run.

At what point does bad press become truly harmful to a company? Or, like the slogan states, is bad press still considered good press today, since it gets a company’s name and product out there? Bad press may have unintentionally good results for companies that offer products which no other company offers, but it seems that a company with strong competitors may not be able to afford bad press. Whatever the case may be, we’re sure to find out soon enough.

Aviva UK Sees All BYOD Devices Wiped Clean After Possible Heartbleed Hacking

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance giant Aviva UK is the latest company to suffer from a cyber attack made easier by the now infamous web security bug Heartbleed. Heartbleed, which was first discovered on April 7, is the name given to a hole in secure socket layer (SSL) web encryption technology that allowed hackers to easily bypass different countermeasures in a system that up until that point was viewed as the gold standard of digital security. From Amazon to Paypal, name an eCommerce giant or popular news website, and chances are they use SSL to secure their page.

While the Heartbleed problem was supposedly fixed with a patch a few months ago, this attack on Aviva shows that web users and companies who heavily rely on technology are still vulnerable to savvy hackers. In this case, hackers broke into MobileIron, a BYOD system service provider that Aviva works with to allow its employee to use their favorite tablets and phones for work purposes. The hacker sent messages to each device and each user’s email that read, “It maks my hart bled [sic] to say good by lik [sic] this, love u mobile iron.” The hacker then wiped all the devices and took down MobileIron’s server.

According to reports, Aviva UK is now distancing from itself from MobileIron as it looks for a new BYOD service. That’s not terribly surprising, not when you understand that security that guards against abusive personal use and rogue IT is the first thing companies discuss when setting up their BYOD policies.

Too Early to Tell Just How Bad Heartbleed Is
Aviva’s misfortunes are not unique, unfortunately. A 19-year-old hacker in Ontario was arrested after he exploited the Heartbleed bug, stealing 900 social security numbers from the Canada Revenue Agency back in April. Luckily, he was found and arrested.

Two months later, the Aviva UK incident shows that we might not be any better off than we were, and facing that fact, it’s tempting to wonder just what exactly is being done to fix SSL and put an end to these issues. The problem, as was so deftly highlighted by technology site eWeek, is that no one is really sure how far the effects of Heartbleed go. How much was lost because of the SSL hole? What sort of backdoor software were hostile entities able to install before the supposed fix? Unfortunately, no one yet has those answers.

Online Retailers Fight Negative Reviews – What’s the Cost?

Online ReviewsCustomers today have a sense of freedom and power they didn’t have a decade ago when social media was still in its infancy.  But as social media has become a part of people’s daily lives, more people are turning to business review sites like RipoffReport.com and Yelp.com, as well as social sites like Facebook and Twitter, to post comments about a company or product.

Many purchasers will often read customer reviews before purchasing a trip, a toy, a smartphone or even making a reservation at a local restaurant.

There is an ongoing debate about the limits of consumers’ free speech rights and companies’ efforts to quash negative online reviews due to a recent incident over a customer review about KlearGear.com.  KlearGear threatened to fine the customer $3500 if she didn’t take down a negative posting about their company.  She had written the critique on RipoffReport.com.

According to a recent article in TechDirt, “Lots of quasi-legal action has been taken over negative reviews left by customers at sites like Ripoff Report and Yelp. Usually, it takes the form of post-review threats about defamation and libel. Every so often, though, a company will make proactive moves (usually bad ones) to head off negative reviews.”

In the Kleargear imbroglio, a consumer complained that her husband had ordered a number of products from Kleargear.com and 30 days later the products allegedly had not yet arrived.  The consumer tried to call the company to check on the status of her order but was allegedly not able to reach anyone, so she wrote about her experience on RipoffReport.   After the company saw the post, the consumer was threatened to either take the negative review down or be fined. [Read more...]