Online reviews tend to be polarized, and a lost reservation, a single cold entrée, or a scheduling mixup can easily earn you an undeserved one-star review from a disgruntled patron or client. The best strategy is to respond as noted in the previous section. For example, on Yelp, customers can submit "updated" reviews. And replacing a negative rating with a positive one is twice as good as getting a new positive review.
Tools to Make the Task Easier
Keeping track of all this stuff isn't easy. As with managing SEO and your social media presence, dealing with your online reputation can easily consume hours every week, leaving you with no reputation, good or bad, left to manage. Assorted startups and services aim to take some of the pain out of the process. While many ORM services are tied to the related world of social media monitoring, here's a look at some of the bigger names in the business.
Social Mention: This free service offers a mountain of data about mentions in the blogosphere, ranked as positive, neutral, or negative. The top keywords in those posts are also included, along with all sorts of additional minutiae. The value of this information can vary. Unless you have a major (national) brand or a unique word in your business name, expect an awful lot of unrelated and irrelevant results.
Kurrently: This real-time search engine examines Facebook and Twitter results that include the keyword of your choice. Leave the page loaded, and results update in real time. There's not much to it, but Kurrently is fun to check out if something big involving your business is happening. Unfortunately, the service offers no way to send these results to you regularly; you must use the Web interface to see them.
Addict-o-matic: At Addict-o-matic, you can create a "custom page with the latest buzz on any topic." Like Kurrently, it's not of much use unless you have a big brand that you need to follow, and the results are a bit of a hodgepodge. Some of the "news" I found in sample searching was more than three years old. Still, unlike most of these freebie services, it covers a wider range of sources, including Flickr, YouTube, and even Ask.com news.
TweetBeep: This site describes itself as "Google Alerts for Twitter," and that's exactly what it delivers. Add keywords just as you would with Google Alerts, and you get a list of mentioning tweets emailed to you daily.
Paid Reputation-Management Services