It is only when you wake up one morning to the devastating reality of seeing your business reputation being tarnished all over the internet that you can fully appreciate the benefits of having in place a reliable online reputation alarm system.
Would any person in their right mind wait until a fire occurs before seriously considering taking out an insurance policy? Surely not. Online reputation attacks spread on the internet (and then continue to spread off-line), in the same way that every fire starts with a single spark, which then turns rapidly into massive balls of fire that burn and raise to the ground everything you ever worked for. Online reputation attacks tend to spread so fast that they can finish off any business, which is not well equipped to deal with them.
The larger your business is, the stronger the flames. After all, fire has never been known to be deterred by the size of the bush and this is a fact. There is simple mathematics to all of this. The more inflammatory the internet posting about your business is, the quicker it will normally spread – by blogs, web links, twitter, Facebook and emails. A single link to a defamatory website about your business can be sent out by email to a mailing list which could contain thousands of subscribers in less than 5 minutes.
Each recipient of the link may then forward it on to their own mailing list the recipients of which, may also forward it on. In total – it could take l0 minutes or less, for what you have worked for all your life, to go up in flames. This is of course the worst scenario. At best, it would take a few days before the defamatory webpages about your business, take up the best part of the first page of the search engines, for everyone else to see.
Very unfortunately, I have seen exactly this course of events occurring to an IT company from Israel who had been trading in the UK very successfully for over two years. Having discovered that its UK Director was stealing from the company, the head office in Israel decided to summarily dismiss him.
The Director, who was well vested in the technical side of the internet, decided to take revenge by posting negative comments and reviews about his former employer on various websites and forums. The comments explicitly suggested that the company was fraud and that it was simply taking its customers’ money and never intended to deliver any work. Shortly after this Director left the company, its UK operation had almost died out. The telephone stopped ringing and current customers started to leave the company with various excuses.
This unexpected turn of events must have cost the Israeli IT company tens of thousands of pounds. It wasn’t until one of the company’s most loyal customers in the UK indicated that they wanted to terminate their £50,000 contract with the Israeli IT company, that the company discovered the mountains of bad publicity that they received on the internet search engines in the UK.
The managing director in Israel was astonished to find out how a relationship which turned sour with one disgruntled employee, had brought his company’s UK operation to almost a complete halt. Eventually, the internet defamation lawyer who was hired by the company to save it from further reputational embarrassment, quickly managed to put a stop to the on-line reputation attacks against the Israeli IT company by its former employee and to quickly restore its online reputation.
The internet online defamation lawyer who acted for the company dispatched a strong legal letter to the former director who quickly proceeded to remove all the defamatory material from the internet. Had he not done so, the company would have had to apply to the High Court to obtain an injunction to force the removal of the defamatory material.
However, much of the damage to the company had already been done and following the swift action by their internet defamation lawyers, the Israeli IT company quickly managed to restore its UK client base and with further advice, started to create a rich online presence in the UK which would make it much harder for anyone in the future to attack it in such a way again.