Hardware

Five tools to monitor and manage your online reputation

To make sure your reputation stays clean, you have to keep an eye on what's being said about you. These tools can help you protect your good name.

If you conduct business online, or if you have an online presence for a product, service, talent, or skill, you need to manage how the millions upon millions of online users perceive you. It takes only a few bad comments, posts, or blogs to ruin the reputation you have spent years building. Fortunately, there are tools out there to help you manage that reputation. Those tools aren't exactly obvious -- and you have use caution when selecting them (to make sure you're not about to get caught up in a scam). But when you find a reliable tool, it's wise to make use of it.

Here are five tools you can use to help you ensure that your online brand and reputation are where you want them. Naturally, these tools require some work to really make the most of what they offer. And most of them aren't just one-time usage tools -- you actually have to spend time with them to really help massage your reputation.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: Google's Me on the Web

Google has a nice tool that allows you to easily monitor search results for your name. Me on the Web (Figure A) is included in the Google Dashboard. It allows you set up search monitors for your name/brand, assists you in the removal of unwanted content, and can help you manage your online identity. I have found the search monitors to be incredibly helpful as they alert you when others (individuals, companies, etc.) mention your name or your brand.

Figure A

Me on the Web

2: Reputation.com

Reputation.com (Figure B) is a service that allows you to see how you look online. The service is free and it doesn't use your information for any untoward activities. All you do is create a free account. Then you can monitor your online "buzz," search for and remove any negative information/mentions about you, and find out how you can control what people see when they search for you.

Figure B

Reputation.com

3: Naymz

Naymz (Figure C) is not a free service (although you can sign up for a 30-day free trial) and is a bit different from the other tools. Naymz is a network that includes tools to help you manage your reputation. With these tools (and with interaction within the network) you earn free products and services (as your reputation grows). Thanks to the Naymz network, you can get a quick assessment of what your peers think of you as well as connect to Facebook and Twitter.

Figure C

Naymz

4: Whos Talkin

Whos Talkin (Figure D) is a social media search tool that shows you what members of social sites are saying about your name or brand. Using the tool is as simple as entering your name (or brand), clicking search, and waiting for the results. Whos Talkin doesn't help you manage those results, but it will give you a lightning-fast look at what the Web is saying about your name or brand. What is done with those results is up to you. Why use this over a simple Google search? Whos Talkin focuses only on social media, so your results aren't buried inside other results.

Figure D

Whos Talkin

5: Yasni

Yasni (Figure E) is a nice free tool that lets you search for people and services. The results of those searches will tell you how that person/service is seen from an online point of view. The only downfall of Yasni is that it will include any results that match your criteria. If I search for my own name, I find results from Louisville (me), Kentucky (me), and Michigan (not me). You are also given popular search terms that are associated with the name/service. When I search for my name, I get associated terms like zombie (correct), Linux (correct), Android (correct), Ubuntu (correct), and Windows (ummmm).... Although you won't find tools to help you correct any negative comments/posts/results, you can at least discover all the key terms that are associated with you and your brand.

Figure E

Yasni

Reputation maintenance

Your reputation is everything in this constantly shrinking online-centric world. If you don't monitor and manage your online name and brand, you run the risk of seeing your reputation plummet and your value disintegrate. Give each of these tools a test-drive and see if you can come up with a one-two combination to help you keep your reputation in check.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

11 comments
alexstriganov
alexstriganov

"Different people"? How one can be sure that those are different people indeed, and not one person, who posts using different names or nicknames?

Tinman57
Tinman57

I can see where all of this can lead to abuse, and it will too in enough time. Especially with large corporations that have deep pockets and can harass someone for a negative comment on their product(s) like they have tried in the past, even if they were honest about it. As far as comments on a personal level, it would have to be something really outragious for you to take action(s), and would also cost you time & money to do it. The biggest thing for people to remember is that you can't take just one persons remarks as the truth, take everything with a grain of salt. If there are many negative comments from different people or web sites about the same person or product, you can just about figure that somethings not quite right..... It's a slippery slippery slope your on when you start talking about regulating free speech, and the big corporations will be the first ones in line to regulate it....

profiledefenders
profiledefenders

A job hunter will certainly look at every result on the front page unless the first 5 results are extremely positive or lead to enough data.

suzan.reagan
suzan.reagan

Other than googling ones name I hadn't given consideration for doing anything more. For job hunters these tools could be very helpful. Well, as I think about it, employers could use these to screen applicants too. Thanks for the article I'll be spending my morning researching on this subject.

alexstriganov
alexstriganov

In my opinion the article is misleading. It recommends to cure the consequences instead of curing the cause. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: Article 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, [b]nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.[/b] The same statement one can find in signed by President Carter and ratified by US Senate ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights): Article 17 1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, [b]nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. 2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.[/b] Unfortunately during the ratification of ICCPR US Senate made "the provisions of Article 1 through 27 of the Covenant not self-executing", it means they simply have no power in the judicial system until the US Congress will issue the appropriate US Laws to support the above mentioned Articles, and particularly, Article 17 (1),(2). During 30 years there is no such Law ... instead The Communication Decency Act has been issued - Article 230 (C) of it makes publishers and re-publishers of libelous content practically invulnerable. Such as US neither signed nor ratified the First Optional Protocol to ICCPR, there is nobody in the world who can change the situation, except the US Congress. If any Federal Law will definitely protect people against unlawful attacks on their honor and reputation, the online reputation management and monitoring will practically make no sense. Without such Law one can probably manage online anonymous attacks on his honor and reputation, made by random forum trolls and evil strangers, but there is no way to manage it against professional "reputation repair" extortionists or serious morality-free competitors. One last thing - yasni.com is not a proper tool for the described task, it's "free people check" option will get up any libelous statement in search result! More someone tries to "manage" his reputation, higher will be the position of yasni's "free people check" result, which digs any libelous information out of the web.

Jay_H
Jay_H

"search for and remove any negative information/mentions about you, and find out how you can control what people see when they search for you." Sounds profoundly Orwellian. I doubt that anyone has the right to 'remove negative mentions' or 'control what people see when they search for you'.

Tinman57
Tinman57

For the average Joe, you can tell if it's one person making the same comments just by the way the comments are written. As for the big corporations with money to burn, they can get that information through the website(s). That has happened quite a lot recently with the copyright trolls.

alexstriganov
alexstriganov

There is another simple solution, offered by the state of NY: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=S06779&term=2011&Text=Y If the US Congress will issue something similar, the problem will be solved forever. The proposed bill doesn't breach the terms of the First Amendment simultaneously protecting victims of online defamation. Bad guys will have no choice - either their lies will be removed or they will have to reveal their real identity and in the case of defamation, be responsible for their actions. In my opinion your offered solution makes sense, but it creates a lot of additional questions. It can be easily misused - take for example Google Chrome with the implemented identity. How Google uses it - none knows, and such as Google considers itself as morality-free zone, we can expect anything. Such identification is a serious threat to the privacy . The NY State solution is significantly simpler.

sam.jm
sam.jm

Google manages the passwords and user ids. With Makaseh, the user creates the user id and password, using a pass phrase of choice, of any length. Then it is used for all purposes, like log-in, sending mails, making contacts, sharing documents.

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