Why it’s important to do your due diligence
As of 2017, according to a 2017 IBISWORLD report, there are over 43,000 companies in the PR Sector in the United States alone. A subsector comprised in this is Internet reputation management. The industry is heavily fragmented and it is difficult to choose the right firm for the job. Somewhat paradoxically, there is a very limited number of companies that provide quality ORM services. This is partly due to the fact that many players are trying to cash into this relatively new sector, after all the internet as we know it has only been around for a short while compared to other industries…there is yet a lot of untapped growth. In the scramble to combat negative online content, people often hastily pick a reputation control company that ends up being a poor choice. This is also a tremendous risk to the firm.
What is that risk?
There are a plethora of snake oil services that claim they can do ORM for less than $100 per month. Avoid them like the plague. ORM is resource-intensive work and anyone that claims they can do it for you at such a low fixed cost is either a freelancer—more on this in a moment—or is selling your data to third parties or even to crime syndicates. We have even met a former client that had poorly chosen an unknown, unproven ORM service and who had been the target of extortion because his data had been sold to a crime syndicate. Unless you want a data breach the magnitude of Equifax’s recent one, which will likely take you out of business, avoid these low-cost services. On the subject of freelancers: They have no incentive to keep your data private and likely don’t use the right software and security tools to do the work privately. They are also lacking in experience.
It is estimated that businesses across the nation lose roughly $537 Billion yearly to poor online reputations. A Harvard study determined that for every single star increase in a business’ review on yelp, sales increased 5-9%. With so much of the bottom line at stake would you risk it all for a low orm quote?
What are the right price ranges?
The prices for Internet reputation services vary by project, and while there is no upper limit, there is a lower limit for which you should watch out. We have constructed a list of cost ranges by project type here.
Which services should I avoid?
It is always necessary that you do your due diligence about the firm itself as well. A reputable online reputation management firm with a proven track record and excellent service is the way to go. We have compiled a checklist of things you need to ask the firm to pre-qualify them. As well, to help you pick the right firm, we recommend you check this ranking and review site to find out who are the top ranking firms for the year.