Opportunity: Online Reputation Management

As they become increasingly prevalent, user reviews become more and more important to consumers in making decisions about where to spend their money. For example, I previously wrote about a Yahoo-Harris poll (from October, 2006) that more or less confirms that “the culture of participation” is here to stay.

Here are the questions and the findings:

“Are you more likely to post a rating or review of a local business if it is a positive review, a negative review, or are you equally likely to post a positive or a negative review?”

  • Likely to post a review (net): 67%
  • Negative review: 9%
  • Positive review: 8%
  • Equally likely to post a positive or a negative review: 50%
  • I am not likely to post a review at all: 33%

“When it comes to deciding whether or not you will patronize a particular business, are you more likely to be influenced by a positive review, a negative review, or are you equally likely to be influenced by a positive or a negative review?”

  • Likely to be influenced (net): 79%
  • Positive review: 23%
  • Negative review: 9%
  • Equally likely to be influenced by a positive or a negative review: 47%
  • I am not likely to be influenced by a review at all: 21%

This review trend equally applies to products/retailers and service businesses. The challenge for less sophisticated, time-strapped SMBs becomes tracking reviews and managing their “online reputations.” MerchantCircle has started to offer this service.

In circumstances where there are few reviews, a negative (or positive) review can have a material impact on a business. Helping SMBs find and address their online reputations will be an increasingly important service over time. There’s an untapped opportunity here.

4 Responses to “Opportunity: Online Reputation Management”

  1. Ben Saren Says:

    Hi Greg,

    Great topic. In the context of my own personal experience as an active consumer, as well as within the context of my consumer/local merchant Internet startup, Citysquares.com, I posted a response (a strongly opinionated one, of course!):



  2. Colin Pape - GeoVerticals.com Says:

    Great post Greg!

    Our reputations are our most valuable assets, and with it being so easy for people to affect how others perceive us online, this is sure to be a major growth industry.

    As more and more people use reviews as a tool to help them make decisions and purchases, ‘reptomization’ will become increasingly important.

    The sheer number of review sites and services available make it difficult for the average SMB to handle the task internally, ensuring that this growing industry will soon explode.

    There’s some great information (as usual) on reputation management at Wikipedia:


    Keep up the great work!


  3. User Reviews « Your Suspect Says:

    […] Sterling posted an interesting piece on his blog today titled “Opportunity: Online Reputation Management.” I can’t debate the logic here and the basic point that it makes, but I think that the […]

  4. Mike Says:

    really nice work. Thanks for providing useful information. ORM is really important for online marketers. Thanks to ORM tools which ease the load of monitoring search engines. Check out AirCheese.
    Its Beta version is available for free download.

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