DMS ’10: The Lowdown on Reputation Management

In the afternoon session on “Ins and Outs of Reputation Management,” moderator Matt Booth kicked off with a definition of reputation management, which is a component of “e-mail reputation and presence management” (ERPM), one of the media categories forecast by BIA/Kelsey.

Brendan King, CEO of VendAsta Technologies, defined reputation management as: “What you say about yourself and what others say about you.” Both of which are “airborne and contagious.” It’s a set of functions that are still a little fuzzy, but are becoming increasingly well-defined.

VendAsta offers its platform in several modes, including StepRep, sold directly to SMBs, and also on a white-label basis. Its platform supports a number of functions:

• Presence management/visibility
• Monitoring/listening to what people are saying locally
• Comparisons to local competition
• Local tracking
• Social listing tracking (e.g., how the SMB’s fan page is doing)

King believes reputation management services need to be bundled and branded with other, more core products. Reputation management services are desirable in a bundle because they have high perceived value, foster customer retention and provide upsell opportunities for the vendor.

Emad Fanous, cofounder of Solfo/YellowBot.com, pointed out that reputation management is especially appealing for several categories: arts, media, active social media participants and businesses that are highly sensitive to reviews (e.g., legal services).

He underscored the importance for SMBs of getting their “anchor” data correct (presence management). In fact, the YellowBot Reputation Management platform is bi-directional; the user can also correct erroneous anchor information found in directories or other sources (the user can even track the progress of the correction).

Fanous next described the different configurations in which his company’s platform is available (full, lite, standalone, competitor checking, white label, API based version, etc.).

Price points for these two providers of reputation management services ranged from $19/month to $49/month (cost to the SMB end user).

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