Many unscrupulous online reputation management agencies promise stellar results—but just make your situation worse. An internet defamation attorney, on the other hand, can be an excellent choice for your online reputation expert.
Experienced internet defamation attorneys are licensed and regulated by a governing body, and held to a higher standard of professionalism and accountability. A licensed attorney may provide the following reputation management services for both individuals and businesses:
- Swiftly and effectively take down and delete harmful content from the internet;
- Identify and shut down anonymous harassers;
- Protect domain, trademarks, and copyrights;
- Combat employee defamation and harmful reviews;
- Help you through “cancel culture” and viral online attacks; and
- File a defamation lawsuit to remove damaging content and obtain monetary compensation.
At Minc Law, our online reputation management and digital risk protection teams know what it takes to comprehensively protect reputations. We are easily identifiable and located, bill our clients transparently, and have proven success in helping our clients bolster their online reputations.
In this article, we discuss the importance of protecting your online reputation and how an unethical online reputation management (ORM) provider can do more harm than good. Then, we explore the benefits of hiring an attorney to manage your online reputation instead.
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Importance of Maintaining Your & Your Business’s Online Reputation
For better or worse, your online reputation is a major factor in your overall reputation and professional success. And for businesses, it is difficult to understate the importance of online reviews.
Nearly three-quarters of customers refuse to engage with a business without first reading its reviews—and only 13% of consumers would patronize a business with a 2-star or lower rating.
And word-of-mouth marketing reigns supreme in today’s digital age, with nearly 75% of consumers making purchase decisions based on recommendations from others.
In this section, we explore how your online reputation affects your well-being and that of your business.
What Does Reputation Mean for Professionals in the Business World?
For individuals, your online reputation is your greatest intangible asset. It can play a large role in your professional success.
Your reputation is the overall public perception of your credibility, talent, and trustworthiness. It is based on how the world experiences interacting with you—both in person and online. When you are viewed as responsible, reliable, and credible, it is much easier for you to advance in your career and make meaningful professional connections.
What Benefits Come With a Stellar Business Reputation?
For businesses, a positive reputation is paramount. Online reputation management (ORM) strategies like public relations, digital marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) can materially improve your overall reputation.
Many corporations choose to invest in reputation management services to improve their reputation, which in turn leads to the following benefits:
- Increased public trust in their brand,
- More new customers,
- Increased customer loyalty,
- Greater employee retention, and
- Higher revenue and improved bottom line.
Below, we delve deeper into each of these core benefits of a stellar business reputation.
Increase Public Trust in Your Brand
Your online presence is your first impression with most consumers. Your online reputation often determines whether someone does business with you. Also, it can affect the public’s overall perception of you.
If a Google search of your business returns negative content like poor reviews, lawsuits, or public scandals, your business’s brand certainly suffers. On the other hand, a consistent and well-defined online brand helps the public view your business as trustworthy.
Part of an ORM strategy is to create and promote positive branded content while eliminating (or suppressing) negative online content.
Attract More New Customers
Most—if not all—of your customers are online. So, your business should also have a consistent online presence. Your positive content and social media presence can increase brand visibility and name recognition among your target audience.
Increase Customer Loyalty
Not only will a positive reputation attract new business, but it also improves your relationship with current customers. If your brand has a positive online presence, customers are more likely to be proud to do business with you.
Improve Employee Retention & Talent
Talented employees want to work for companies with positive reputations. Your potential staff is researching your brand online before applying for or accepting a job—which means your online reputation affects your hiring pool.
Higher Revenue & Improved Bottom Line
More new customers, improved customer loyalty, and more employee retention can improve your bottom line. In fact, customers spend an average of 31% more when a business has positive reviews.
A positive online reputation functions like a form of free advertising. With better visibility and quality reviews, it is much easier to stand apart from the competition, rank higher in search results, and build a broad customer base.
What Can Happen if You Have a Poor Reputation in Business?
While a positive reputation can greatly benefit your business, a poor reputation damages it. You may struggle to attract new customers, meaning your revenue will stagnate and eventually decline. Current and prospective customers may choose to patronize your competitors instead, especially if they have better reputations.
A negative review, PR crisis, or reputation crisis can drive away business and discourage top talent from applying to work at your company. Without a strong corporate reputation, and corporate reputation management strategy, it becomes much harder to stay competitive in your industry.
For further reading, please see our resource explaining what reputation crisis management is and how to create an effective reputation crisis management response plan.
Consequences of Choosing an Unethical ORM Company
Protecting and improving your online reputation is essential for professional and corporate success—and in many cases, you need the help of professional reputation management experts.
But not all ORM providers are created equal. In this section, we explore ways to avoid hiring an unethical online reputation management company.
Why is the Online Reputation Management Industry Rife With Scams & Unethical Services?
Due to the importance of maintaining a positive online presence, it is no wonder that an industry has sprung up around reputation management. But as with all new industries, there is no regulatory agency overseeing online reputation management. There is no professional licensing or credentialing.
And as you might expect, some ORM companies are less than ideal.
These types of teams do not have reputation management skills. Instead, they draw in clients with exaggerated promises and (initially) cheap prices. They may even engage in unlawful, black-hat practices to fix their client’s problems temporarily.
But in the long run, these unethical ORM services fail to achieve their client’s goals. In fact, they often create more problems than they solve.
Common Behaviors That Unethical ORM Companies Have In Common
It can be difficult to know an unethical ORM service until you have hired them. However, many of these scammy companies display similar red flags. Try to avoid companies that engage in the following behavior:
Some reputational factors are simply outside of your control. No matter the skills or experience of the ORM team, no one can guarantee results like ranking first in Google or removing all negative content. Many unethical ORM services make big promises to attract customers—but they know they have no way to follow through.
Quickly Switching to “Reputation Monitoring”
Reputation management requires constant, proactive work. If your ORM team reverts to a “monitoring” stage after the first few weeks of your contract, they are likely not the right choice for you.
Many unethical ORM companies attract clients with cheap pricing. But once they get you to sign a contract, they tell you that you have only agreed to a basic package. They immediately start charging additional fees for better services.
Holding Your Website for Ransom
Some extremely scammy ORM companies wait until they have gained access to the back end of your website for SEO purposes. Then, they lock you out and charge you additional fees to regain access.
The Cure is Actually the Disease
The worse your reputation, the more you need ORM services. So many unethical ORM teams sabotage their client’s online reputation to look like they are doing a good job when they fix it.
They might post negative content online about their client, then take it down themselves—while telling their clients how difficult the content removal was.
What Unethical ORM Strategies Look Like
True reputation management involves monitoring the web for real reputational risks, then taking (ethical) steps to protect and improve your online reputation. Some scammy ORM firms take shortcuts and use “black hat” methods, including:
- Fake reviews. Given the anonymity of review platforms, it is easy to pose as a real customer and write fake, glowing reviews to boost your company’s ratings.
- Distributed denial of service (DDoS) DDoS attacks. These attacks infect servers with malware, making it impossible for real customers to visit your competitor’s website.
- Inflating your company information. Some ORM teams unlawfully fabricate your sales numbers or generate fake reports to boost your company’s reputation.
- Astroturfing and sock puppetry. This strategy involves making a cause look like a grassroots movement, when in reality, you are funding it or using online burner accounts to generate the conversation yourself.
While these strategies might make your company look better in the short term, they almost always cause more trouble for you in the long run.
Tips to Avoid Hiring an Unethical or Unprofessional ORM Expert or Service Provider
Unfortunately, some unethical ORM service red flags are hard to spot until you have already hired the firm. But there are a few ways to reduce the likelihood of engaging with an unprofessional ORM company. Some of the best tips include:
- Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for reviews and a company rating;
- View the LinkedIn profiles of specific staff members to see their professional experience;
- Ask for references from real, previous customers;
- Review the contract very carefully before signing;
- Establish regular meetings with the ORM team to keep a close eye on their progress and methods.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney as Your Online Reputation Expert Over an ORM Company
Because online reputation management is such a relatively new industry, it is not regulated—and it is rife with unethical services and scams. While there are numerous ethical and professional online reputation management services and agencies, several reasons stand out as to why you should consider hiring an internet defamation attorney as your ORM expert, including:
- They are licensed and held to a higher standard of professionalism,
- You know where they are located and can easily get in touch with them,
- They are experts in the latest internet trends and technologies,
- Attorneys practice rigorously transparent billing.
Keep in mind that both ORM agencies and internet defamation attorneys have their respective pros and cons, and sometimes, one may be more of an appropriate fit over the other depending on a client’s needs.
Internet Defamation Attorneys Are Licensed & Held to a Higher Standard of Professionalism
Attorneys are licensed and regulated by a governing body. To keep their licenses in good standing, attorneys must uphold ethical and confidentiality standards.
Lawyers are required to hold Bachelor’s and law school degrees, and their professional licenses are on the line if they behave unethically. This higher professional risk means attorneys have a greater sense of accountability if something goes wrong with a client.
If you hire an attorney, you have greater recourse if they do not do their job appropriately. It is often much easier to know where to report them, who regulates them, and where you can file a lawsuit against them if needed.
A legitimate ORM service should hold a professional license or otherwise be subject to some regulatory and ethical oversight. They should be able to explain how they are accountable to you as the client—and how they will remain so for the duration of your relationship.
Internet Defamation Attorneys Are Easily Identifiable & Located
By definition, an attorney is licensed to practice in their local region. The internet defamation attorney you choose will have a registered Google My Business address and a phone number to call. You can look them up on the Bar Association website and read their reviews on attorney websites such as Avvo.com and Lawyers.com. You can also meet with a lawyer face-to-face, either by visiting their office or video chatting with them.
In essence, there are reliable ways to determine whether the attorney is who they say they are.
In contrast, many unethical ORM companies make it difficult to contact them in person or find a real address. They prefer to conduct business entirely online. Some are located internationally, which makes it even more difficult to take legal action if the relationship goes south.
Internet Defamation Attorneys Are Experts in the Internet
One of the most important benefits of hiring an internet defamation lawyer is that they are intimately familiar with the latest technological trends. Experienced internet defamation attorneys stay up-to-date on the best ways to identify digital risks, employ investigative technologies, and use web monitoring services to protect and boost their clients’ reputations.
When your reputation is being attacked by defamers or other malicious actors online, it is essential to remove harmful content quickly. Experienced internet defamation attorneys have developed working relationships with online publishing organizations and web administrators. They can also subpoena internet service providers (ISPs), preserve evidence, and unmask anonymous online trolls to pursue legal action against perpetrators.
At Minc Law, we deal with social media platforms, search engines, and websites on a daily basis. We know how to swiftly and effectively navigate various websites’ reporting procedures to have content taken down in a timely fashion.
Internet Defamation Attorneys Bill Their Time Down to the Minute
Attorneys are ethically bound to keep their clients updated on their cases. They must communicate regularly, consult their clients before acting on their behalf, and provide clear billing statements.
There will not be any vague charges (like a service fee) on an invoice from an attorney. You can always be sure that you know where your money is going. And if you feel you are being unfairly billed, there are clear ways to dispute the bill—such as with the state’s bar association or in small claims court.
How an Online Reputation Attorney Can Help Individuals & Businesses With Their Online Reputations
No matter whether you are concerned for yourself or your organization, reputation management is paramount.
The ORM process involves monitoring for, identifying, and protecting against risks to your reputation. In this section, we explore how an online reputation expert can help both individuals and businesses.
How Can Individual Professionals Benefit From Attorney ORM Services?
In today’s internet age, it is too easy for trolls to harass and defame your reputation online. An experienced internet defamation attorney can help protect your reputation by:
- Taking down and deleting negative content,
- Unmasking and shutting down anonymous harassers,
- Guiding you through viral online attacks and social backlash,
- Remove online impersonations and deep fakes from the internet, and
- File defamation lawsuits to protect your good name.
An Attorney Can Help You Take Down & Delete Negative Content
Negative videos, posts, and comments can have an outsized effect on your personal and professional life. They can affect your employment opportunities and harm your personal relationships. This content can even cause medical symptoms like stress, anxiety, and depression.
At Minc Law, our content removal services can take down almost every type of harmful internet content. We have extensive experience removing malicious posts from popular social media and business networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more.
Internet Defamation Attorneys Can Unmask & Shut Down Anonymous Harassers
You have probably heard that if you find one cockroach in your kitchen, there are plenty more lurking around unseen. Cockroaches are never alone—and in most cases, neither are defamatory posts.
If you have found one harmful article or post about yourself online, it is probably not the only one. Internet defamation attorneys are well-versed in many types of internet attacks and can use their investigative skills to unearth—and shut down—any content that may be waiting to harm your reputation.
An Attorney Can Help You Through “Cancel Culture,” Negative Media, & Viral Attacks Online
It is never easy to weather public backlash alone. If you have been unfairly accused of wrongdoing or are otherwise being harassed by an online mob, law firms like ours can put a stop to it.
An attorney can also help you respond to these online attacks and public relations disasters. If you are the subject of public scrutiny, you need a seasoned professional to help you draft public statements and craft an appropriate response that will not make matters worse.
An Internet Defamation Attorney Can Remove Online Impersonations & Deep Fakes From the Internet
It is scarily easy for malicious individuals to impersonate others online. And with the rise of deep fake technology, it is possible to create videos that show you doing or saying things you never did.
If your personal likeness or information is being used without your consent, an internet defamation attorney can help you take action against the perpetrator and remove harmful content for good.
An Attorney Can File Defamation Lawsuits to Remove Content & Protect Your Good Name
If false and harmful online statements have already damaged your reputation, an attorney is a good person to have on your side. They can help you plan a course of action, file a defamation lawsuit, and help resolve the situation in or out of court.
How Can Businesses Benefit From Attorney Reputation Management Services?
If your business’s reputation has been damaged by online trolls or a public relations disaster, it is helpful to have an experienced internet defamation attorney in your corner. The benefits of attorney reputation management services include:
- Protecting your domain, trademarks, and copyrights;
- Identifying anonymous online harassers;
- Removing defamatory business reviews;
- Removing content from consumer complaint sites without suppression;
- Combating employee defamation; and
- Providing breach and security incident response.
An Internet Defamation Attorney Can Help You Protect Your Domain, Trademarks, & Copyrights
Often, online harassment and attacks take the form of website hacking and trademark infringement. We can help you take legal action to remove damaging and copyrighted images and media from popular websites and search results.
An Internet Defamation Attorney Can Identify Anonymous Online Harassers
The legal process is the most long-lasting method of handling anonymous defamation and harassment. Unmasking posters and removing their content takes skill as well as calm under pressure—especially since you must confront the attacker to come to a resolution. And if you need to use litigation to seek relief, your attorney can help you take further action.
An Internet Defamation Attorney Can Help Remove Defamatory Business Reviews
Negative or fake online reviews can have catastrophic and lasting effects on your business. At Minc Law, we can create a response strategy for reporting and removing reviews legally and effectively. We have worked with hundreds of businesses to remove fabricated online reviews with minimal damage.
We Can Remove Content From Consumer Complaint Websites Without Suppression
Suppression is an online reputation management technique for creating positive, branded content that ranks higher in search results than unwanted content. As a result, that unwanted content is pushed further down the results (or off of the first page entirely).
While this strategy is often effective, attorneys are more well-versed in removing the content at its source. Our team has experience removing damaging information from consumer complaint sites such as:
Attorneys Can Help You Combat Employee Defamation
If you let them, a single disgruntled employee can do a great deal of damage to your reputation. An experienced internet defamation attorney can help you remove fake and embellished employee reviews and posts from popular sites like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com.
For further reading, please see our comprehensive resource explaining what to do in cases of employee defamation of an employer.
How to Choose a Reputable Attorney as Your Online Reputation Expert
Before hiring an attorney or law firm to manage your reputation, be sure to do your research.
Check to make sure the firm is the right fit for you. Do they use your chosen communication style and have a detailed plan for your case? And look for past results; do they have a good standing in the community and a list of satisfied clients?
In this section, we provide tips for picking the right attorney for your needs—as well as what to expect when it comes to cost.
Tips For Choosing the Right Attorney to Protect Your Online Reputation
When narrowing down your options for online reputation management, look for the following features in an attorney:
- A successful track record,
- A positive reputation in the community,
- The right communication style for you,
- A detailed project plan, and
- Transparency and realistic promises.
A Successful Track Record
First, look at their past clients. Have they gotten positive or satisfactory results for previous customers? While lawyers are prevented from sharing some information due to confidentiality rules, they should be able to provide specific results they have achieved for their past clients.
A Positive Reputation in the Community
Then consider their larger reputation in your area. Look for real customer reviews, news articles, and the firm’s social media and website presence. What kind of content do they publish—informative and professional? Are there any red flags like a PR scandal or several negative reviews?
The Right Communication Style for You
Before signing a contract, meet with the attorney or team in person (even if it is over Zoom). Consider their communication style, professionalism, experience, and personality. The right team will make you feel comfortable working together.
A Detailed Project Plan
Ask for a work plan for your matter. This plan should outline the attorney’s expected timeline, fee structure, and strategy for resolving your case.
The attorney should be able to answer your questions about fees, expenses, and the scope of work they provide. Make sure to ask them how they will be held accountable to you throughout the process—and how often you can expect to meet with them.
Transparency & Realistic Promises
The right legal team for you should be up-front and transparent about your current situation as well as what to expect in the future. Only scammy ORM companies make promises about immediately removing all negative reviews and skyrocketing your website to #1 on Google.
Instead, look for an attorney who is realistic about the amount of time it will take to restore and improve your reputation. Do not fall for promises of a “quick fix.”
For further reading, please see our comprehensive guide explaining ‘how to choose an effective and ethical online reputation management company’.
How Much Does an Online Reputation Attorney Cost?
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. And ORM services are no different.
Online reputation management costs may range anywhere from $500 to $50,000 per month. And generally, the bigger your service package, the larger the price tag. Large corporations with complex reputation management often need a plethora of ORM services. Individuals, on the other hand, may not need as large of a project scope.
If you are considering adding on additional ORM services, such as litigation, consumer and business review management, or defamation cease and desist letters, we recommend checking out our pricing page.
Minc Law also offers a digital risk protection (DRP) service, which uses a mix of techniques and tools to monitor the internet for digital threats to your footprint. This service is offered at a monthly fee starting at $99/month for individuals.
“Melanie and the team at Minc did a great job taking offensive posts down of several websites. Quick and efficient, with good communication during the whole process. I can’t thank them enough!”
Jan 22, 2021
If you would like to get started with customized online reputation management services, reach out to schedule your initial, no-obligation consultation with an intake specialist by calling us at (216) 373-7706, speaking with a Chat representative, or filling out our contact form.
It’s time to take your reputation back.