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Google has always enabled you to track what people say about you online with Google Alerts but they have now made it easier for anyone to track their online reputation with a new feature in the Google Dashboard called "Me on the Web".
I've stated this many times but it is worth repeating. All your advertising dollars that drive consumers to search your business name are impacted by your online reputation. Google has socialized the web experience and your "stars" will impact whether a consumer will engage with your business or call a competitor.
The new set of tools makes it easier for anyone to see what is posted on the web using their name. The dashboard also has features that includes a link entitled "How to Remove Unwanted Content" which will assist companies dealing with their online reputation management.
Here is an exerpt from that page:
"If you find content online--say, your telephone number or an embarrassing photo of you--that you don't want to appear online, first determine whether you or someone else controls the content. For example, if the photo you want to hide is part of your Picasa account, you can simply change your photo visibility settings. If, however, the unwanted content resides on a site or page you don't control, you can follow our tips on removing personal information from the web and removing a page from Google's search results."
The Google Accounts dashboard, shown below, has the "Me on the Web" summary and helpful links:
The introduction of this feature is a clear signal to any business that Internet Reputation Management is a mandatory business process that should be part their standard operation procedures manual.
This feature will also help to educate the general public on reputation management. In fact, on XM and local radio, you may have been hearing commercials from a company called "Reputation Defender". Reputation Management is going mainstream and our phone has been overheating with companies asking for help with their online reputation management.
So, check out the new features and I am confident that this will be expanded in the year ahead to make it easier for people to check what people are saying about them online.