Online, reputation is everything. It drives you professionally, personally and algorithmically. Have a good one and you'll see positive returns. Develop a bad one and you'll have to work doubly hard to come back into your customers good graces.

While it's impossible to monitor every venue showcasing public opinion and reviews, you can work to protect your reputation by registering your known brand/name with as many social media, forums, and discussion sites as you can, especially the popular ones in your niche.

Why? Well anyone can register any name at a social media site and pass themselves off as you. Or just register the same name and tie it up so you can't. If you've worked hard at promoting your name (or a forum nick-name), people will assume it's you they see on various social media sites. Imagine their confusion when some interloper starts posting differing opinions or ridiculous comments! By not registering your name you've lost the opportunity to build on it and promote yourself in that location.

You've heard the old saying..."online, no one knows you're a dog"? It's true. Anyone can come along and register your username, no verification or identification is required. Once they become "you", serious damage your reputation can be done by making outlandish accusations or promises on behalf of your company. At the very least they cause unintentional confusion. It could go on for quite some time before you find out and by then... negative opinions are formed, reputations are damaged and people are left scratching their heads.

If you think it's a big waste of time to go around and establish your branded username, consider the time and expense it will take to get those negative comments deleted and the confusion straightened out.

Also consider the added link bonus you'll get by taking possession of your username; many of the social media sites allow clean links in their profiles. (LOL - what kind of link builder would I be not to find the link opportunity in this! ;)

Be pro-active and register your brand/name on as many social media sites as you can. Tie up your username and avoid damaging your reputation, don't make it easy for anyone to steal your online identity

July 2, 2008

Based in Williamsburg Virginia, Debra Mastaler is President of Alliance-Link, an interactive marketing company focused on providing custom link building campaigns and link training and is the author of the link building blog Link Spiel


Good idea and informative. I might as well start now myself.

It's bad enough wondering if you should by the .info, .org, .tv, etc. Now we have to do the same with all the sites out there! :O(


My name is Tegina Williams, owner of State to State We are a new social networking site that has very unique features and our new Beta site will launch in about three weeks. I need online PR to build my brand and was wondering if you could offer some more detailed advice on how to find an online PR company?

Here's a handy little tool to help you post your profile on some of the more popular web2.0 sites:

I also experienced someone copied my identity from facebook, and I'm surprised that some of my photos are uploaded in her account, this gave me the reason to build my online reputation so that anyone who would copy my identity will easily be recognized.

Hi Debra, thanks for providing the link, it will definitely be useful.. even though I haven't had much experience in social networking sites I guess it won't be a loss to try it out.

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