Let’s put it this way. If you are alive there is going to be someone who probably hates you or envies you in someway. I know that sounds incredible to the naïve, but believe it or not, there are those out there especially on the internet, who love nothing better than to make someone’s life a misery just so they can have company. At the end of the day it really depends on how net savvy these folks are. Sooner or later if you rise in the ranks to make something of yourself someone is going to take a net swipe at you.
The bottom line is you need to take precautions so that the public relations portion is kept to a minimum. Defenses set in place early will do a great deal to keep damage at bay.
The first thing you need is a small cost, but it can save your business in the long run. Get your name registered as a dot com or a dot net and all the other varieties you can think of. Do it in all forms from your full name to your initials and surname as well as your nickname. Personally, I would also cloak the owner but then that’s just me, and I am paranoid. If you own a business do the same with that name. This means if anyone tries to pretend to be you, they will have to be very inventive. Once you have registered them all scoot them on over to your host and ask them how to set up your site that no one can imitate the site by sending an email purporting to be you.
There is a chance that your name might already be owned, and you might have to pay more for it. There are also regular sales of domain names that have previously been taken out and never really used. When you have them hosted set up a little webpage on each just to make sure Google and other spiders find them and indexes them. It’s easy enough to do with a template and WordPress. Try to push the rankings as high as possible.
Now do the same for all the social media sites. And I mean all: From facebook right through. I know they are numerous but in the end it is worth it, especially for a company.
Set up your profiles carefully so that no one can attack you. Being prepared before anything happens can prevent a disaster. Remember always you are on your own out there. Google and the Twitter aren’t going to come to your rescue if some posts nasty stuff out there.
If there are any complaints try to deal with them early to kill controversy.
I know that one particular company has recently lost a major franchise because of bad reports of service, which made a headline every time that product was searched. The product itself is excellent but because of the bad service reports that spammed the net the product no longer sells well. Obviously, no one wants a product that is backed by bad service. That company tried to let it slide into oblivion, but they didn’t own all the net names. It was a bad PR move. Don’t let that happen to you.
You need a plan in place to deal with this kind of event. If you have to reply to criticism do it on your home ground. Use your own blog, your own Youtube channel or the like. Be extremely careful in your wording. And try to squash it early. When you reply, be aware that some people might take it as a sign of weakness and try to make it worse. In their end, each attack or problem has to be tackled on its own merits.