September 29, 2022

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Protecting Your Net Perception

Protecting Your Net Perception

Welcome to REPUTATION MANAGEMENT ONtheLINE, my new column about how to preserve and protect your organizational and/or individual reputation online.

I don’t want to be talking TO you, I want to be talking WITH you. Besides my own experience-based editorials, I’m going to answer reader questions. I’m going to interview experts. So send in your questions and, if you’re an expert in a field related to this subject, contact me and suggest a direction for an interesting interview. If you have ideas for columns, speak up!

As readers of my own newsletter know, I write for people “who are crisis managers, whether they want to be or not.” Very few of us engage in crisis and reputation management full-time, yet all of us are thrown into that arena at some time. So, with apologies for revisiting information some of you may already have, I wanted to offer you a potpourri of recommendations and links of possible use to you.


  • BEWARE of “SEO Experts” offering to leverage the opportunities of the still-in-development Google SearchWiki to improve your search engine results. There’s going to be a lot of opportunists figuring out how to cheat that system, and their clients’ sites will end up in Google’s toilet once Google catches on to the scam, which it always does.
  • Have you conducted a Google search for your organization’s name, all of its brand names, and all of its key executives’ names? If not, do so. If you don’t like the results, get some help.
  • WARNING SIGN that you have the wrong external consultants designing and/or managing your websites and blogs. Do you have – or will they readily provide you – with full access information for those sites, the login names, passwords, etc.? At least one person at your organization should have those, because relationships with consultants can get strained at times and then they have you over the barrel. And if they hesitate to give you that data, that’s not a good sign. More than a few reputations have been sullied by vengeful former webmasters.
  • Most of us now know that we should register the .com, .net and .org versions of URLs we want to protect from abuse, but are you aware of the increasingly popular .info suffix?
  • Many of us use Google News alerts to track news about ourselves and our organizations on line, but did you know that search won’t necessarily turn up blog discussions about us, despite the high reputational impact of blogs? Google does, however, have a blog search available as well – you just have to click on “more” at the top of the Google menu to pull it down and you can set up blog alerts just like you set up news alerts.
  • If you are the in-house PR/communications person, tell your CEO you’re getting him/her an invaluable holiday present – a free subscription to Media Bullseye. It will make YOUR reputation management responsibilities easier.


The I-Reporter: Born of the Web was written well before CNN started calling citizen reporters “I-Reporters,” and remains true today.

The Role of Search Engine Optimization in Crisis Management is a must-read not so much because I wrote the introduction but because I interviewed one of this country’s most knowledgeable consultants on this subject, Chesa Keane of TAO Consultants.

Now is Too Late: Survival in an Era of Instant News, Gerald Baron’s superb book, now in its second printing, available on Amazon and other online booksellers.

Next month: an interview with Chesa Keane! My best wishes to you for a joyous holiday season and a serene, prosperous 2009.

Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international consultancy and author of “Keeping the Wolves at Bay: A Media Training Manual.” Contact

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