A few weeks ago I stumbled upon ReputationDefender, primarily known as a personal reputation and privacy protection service. One of my first questions when speaking with co-founder and executive vice president Owen Tripp about the flagship MyReputation service was, "How about something like this for companies?" Imagine my surprise when Tripp said such a service is already in "super secret alpha."
Luckily, it's not so secret anymore. ReputationDefender told me last week that it is officially opening up an alpha program for enterprise reputation management with general availability aimed for release by the end of 2008.
"Our fully branded enterprise product will include many of the services we already offer but with more frequent reports," Tripp said. "We'll be able to do searches around the enterprise or executives and will track even how employees are publicly discussing the company. "
The enterprise reputation management product was built on the same principles of the MyReputation product, which scrapes the open Web -- and what ReputationDefender calls the "invisible Web" -- and presents a report of all findings. With the personal services only, if the report shows the individual anything he or she finds to be libelous, damaging or untrue, ReputationDefender will then go into action to try to get the potentially defamatory information stricken from the Web. The company will not do destroys for enterprises or organizations.
Beyond monitoring and reporting, however, Tripp says that a key part of enterprise reputation management is proactively inserting a company's desired image into every layer of the Web. Part of this service will include helping enterprises do just that -- ensuring that the major search engines always show the desired results.
"The first 10 or 15 things we see on a search engine are going to help shape our perception of a company. Proactive enterprise reputation management is far beyond issuing press releases and it can't be achieved with just standard SEO, either. It's about figuring out key vulnerabilities in the way a firm is presented online and addressing them and managing them head on," Tripp said.
"You can't just look at the name of a firm and the name of the products or even just the names of the officers. In considering how your company strategy is presented, you need to look at who your officers are and what their roles are in how each of them are portrayed in all facets of the Web," he said. "If you want your enterprise presence and message to be pervasive and part of your company lure you need to have it perfectly optimized."
My next question, being the little devil's advocate that I am, was to ask why this service, at least from a monitoring perspective, is any better than setting up a Google news alert or using many of the news clipping services upon which corporate communications professionals rely?
"Imagine what we do as running the equivalent of 10,000-15,000 Google alerts. It's a very detailed and intricate search process. We search the open Web, the invisible Web and all social networks," Tripp said. "If you really want to know what is written about you or your company, you have to understand that traditional search engines cannot capture and alert us to everything. There's a lot of hidden information out there."
ReputationDefender is taking alpha companies through direct request.