It is very difficult to describe the moment where you first realise that your business reputation is being tarnished all over the internet. This unforgettable moment normally follows by many sleepless nights, tiredness, frustration and of course money problems. And then you experience the unpleasant process where a few flames rapidly turn into massive balls of fire that burn and raze to the ground everything you ever worked for.
Disgruntled employees are in fact, responsible for much of the online defamation postings. Not surprisingly at all, the more inflammatory the internet postings about your business are, the quicker they tend to spread – by blogs, web links, twitter, Facebook, emails and other electronic means. A single link to a defamatory website about your business could end up being viewed by thousands of potential customers who are certainly not going to be impressed with what they read about you or your business. You see, some of your employees are likely to possess impressive amounts of knowledge about you, your business, your practices, your procedures, your errors, mistakes and regrets, as well as about your true feelings about things that matter to your customers. And if the above was not enough to unsettle you, following your initial shock of being defamed online, you start to find that more and more defamatory material is mushrooming on the internet without fear. At this stage you know that you have become a live target.
You get hit left, right and centre and with very little opportunity to defend yourself. A close friend or one of your customers, who for some reason decided to remain loyal to you then tells you, rather embarrassingly that your customers are being sent emails with links to websites which contain terribly unpleasant allegations about you and that often, these allegations are ‘backed’ with some ‘insider facts’, which are aimed to damage you and your business as much as possible. These ‘insider facts’ are beginning to add strong elements of reliability to the largely defamatory posts about you on the internet. Then, all of a sudden the phone stops ringing and the bookings dry out. Your instincts are now telling you without a shadow of a doubt, that if this carries on for another short while, you will need to start thinking very seriously about making some redundancies in your company due to the sudden drop in business.
In the meantime, the online defamation attacks are starting to increase. Links are being shared between people and more defamatory material is now being posted by people you did not even know or ever heard of, as well as by past customers who having read the original defamatory posts, are starting to feel aggrieved themselves about their own experience with you or with your company. What a nightmare. Former employees can initiate some very powerful and effective online reputation attacks. The level of detail that they give about your business in their defamatory posts, gives their campaigns the level of credibility that normal negative online reviews don’t get.