Archive for the ‘Reputation Management’ Category

Issues involving online Reputation Management, particularly having negative pages ranking for your brand-name searches, including pages from RipOffReport, ComplaintsBoard and others.

Reputation Management also includes how companies are portrayed in online reviews and consumer ratings sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as Wikipedia and on blogs.

Google Maps Hates Small Businesses By Launching Local Folksonomy Descriptive Terms

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Google has just announced that they’ve launched “Descriptive Terms” to appear with business listings in map search results. According to them, these descriptive terms are some of the most common terms found in user reviews, blogs, web pages and other online references which describe the business. For instance, if you search for “Barbeque Restaurants”, you might see a business which lists such items as “banana pudding”, “pork chops”, “texas style”, “baked potato” and “chicken poppers”:

BBQ Restaurant Descriptive Terms

So, the cool part of this idea is that the feature will highlight user-generated terms which are frequently used in reference to the business. This is a type of an ontology formed by the vox populi, or common man. More properly, these Descriptive Terms begin forming what’s known as a “folksonomy“, which started coming into vogue with social media, particularly around the concept of tag clouds.

(It’s very slightly ironic that Google Maps has now deployed what are essentially small tag clouds with business listings, since I’ve heard some Google Engineers mildly disparage tag clouds as being potentially un-userfriendly and potentially bad on sites in some cases!)

But, the really UNCOOL part of the new Descriptive Terms is that Google appears to’ve launched these willy-nilly without properly safeguarding against sensitive/bad terms that they can end up highlighting.

With very minor testing, I can see numerous instances where the terms selected by the algorithm are inappropriate and unfairly damaging to the businesses. (more…)

Penises Invade Google Maps ♂

Friday, June 10th, 2011

So, we’ve seen UFOs in Google Maps, illegal activites, marriage proposals, earth art, and more. Since I’ve reported on all sorts of cool things to see in Google Maps (including corn field mazes, advertisements, and more), I’ve decided to also report on the latest — a juvenile prank that’s now gotten a lot more publicity than was perhaps originally imagined. Yes, I’m sad to say that penises have now invaded Google Maps!

Penises in Google Maps

It seems that some students at New Zealand’s Fairfield College decided it would be funny to lay down phallic patterns of weedkiller on the school’s lawns, according to By the time the landscaping maintenance personnel realized what had happened, the penis-shaped patterns were already showing up. The maintenance people tried obliterating the definition of the patterns with more weedkiller, apparently killing all the grass.

But, not before Google’s satellite/aerial cameras caught the scenes. (more…)

Bedbug Registry – A Directory Of Places Not To Stay

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Bed bug, Cimex lectulariusI first started hearing about bedbugs a couple of years ago when some friends of mine in Brooklyn, New York were telling me how bedbugs were becoming a serious problem in New York City apartments. Fast forward to 2010, and it seems that bedbugs have become a rampant problem in NYC as well as a growing problem throughout the country. A short while ago Abercrombie & Fitch in Manhattan became embarrassed with bedbug reports and was forced to close for fumigation along with Niketown, and a few weeks later the AMC Empire 25 Theater in Manhattan had to shut down briefly for bedbug fumigation after reports of people getting bitten during movies.

In fact, despite fairly good quality assurance checking, even Google has bugs in their Manhattan offices!

I mentioned to my New Yorker friends that I was again coming to New York for the upcoming SMX East conference, and they immediately sent me a link to the Bedbug Registry, and urged me to check out if there were any reports on the hotel I was selecting before I came. (Unfortunately, the conference hotel had some reports, although I won’t be staying there.)

Bedbug Registry

I was amused to see that interest has spiked to the point where people are now interested in reading and filing reports on bedbug bites at hotels throughout the country. (more…)

Google Places Updates Policy For Reviews

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Google announced last week that they updated their guidelines and policies for writing reviews on organizations found in Google Maps / Places.

Consumer Reviews & Ratings Stars

Google’s reviews update may not be all that significant beyond needing to add mention of their newly-introduced protocol allowing business owners to respond to reviews. They probably took the opportunity to clarify the text while they were at it.

However, there are reasons to suspect that there could have been additional motives behind Google’s alteration of the guidelines. (more…)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

DirtyPhoneBook.comMy piece on “Making Businesses of Negativity” apparently caught the attention of one of the businesses that I criticized,, since they forwarded a Tweet to me this morning of a followup article over on Silicon Alley Business Insider where their CEO had provided a rebuttal letter. SAI had posted an article earlier about them, dubbing them the “Horrifying New Startup Of The Day“.

In the apologetics letter, Peter Green compared Dirty Phone Book with other, better-known social media services, Facebook and MySpace, and he says it’s all about freedom of speech. He goes into further comparison, pointing out hate groups active in Facebook, and tries to say that Facebook is actually worse than Finally, he suggests that DirtyPhoneBook is treated worse by the press than sites Chatrouleette and Facebook because people have some sort of prejudice against he and his cofounders because they are a “stripper”, a “degenerate gambler”, and a “washed-up Las Vegas comedian” instead of being young whiz-kids from Harvard or Moscow.

While he makes a very well-worded case for the business, I’m sorry but it isn’t sufficiently convincing. (more…)

Making Businesses of Negativity

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I decided a long time ago to avoid pursuing business/career options which involved more negative ways of making money. The philosophy first came to me in college when I observed how lucrative — and vile — the local businesses were which operated towing services for our campus. (My university openly and purposefully sold far fewer parking permits than there were students who needed to use them, and then received a percentage of funds back from the towing companies which charged huge towing fines.)

Complaints - A Bully Horn

In the internet world I work in, I try to help companies in ranking well in search engines when people search for their keywords, and I also try to help those companies when they have reputation management problems. One type of problem that I feel is increasingly targeting companies and individuals are sites which are set up to specifically encourage people to complain about companies or even make false accusations against them.

I’m not talking about all sites which enable people to write ratings and reviews. I love sites like Zagat, and TripAdvisor, which can be really helpful in finding good restaurants and hotels. I was pleased to find ratings of doctors (see RateMDs, & HealthGrades) and dentists (see DR.Oogle) when I was seeking an oral surgeon recently on a business trip, and I see attorney ratings, too (Avvo).