In the Internet age, when a simple Google search is all it takes to find detailed information about anyone and everything, online reputation management (ORM) is an absolute must. Unfortunately, not enough people understand what ORM entails, or how it affects their daily lives.

Whether you’re a doctor trying to protect your practice from negative reviews, a parent trying to keep your children safe online, or a job hunter trying to make a good impression with hiring managers, it is imperative that you focus on protecting your online reputation. For many, that means turning to an expert consultant for full-fledged online reputation management services.

However, not all ORM firms are created equal. As the need for ORM services has increased, so has the number of fly-by-night ORM experts interested not only in helping customers, but also in emptying their pockets.

This article will discuss some of the important things to look for when choosing an online reputation management company, contracting an ORM provider and how to avoid services that don’t work.

What types of services do ORM companies offer?

Before opting for online reputation management services and enlisting an ORM firm, make sure that the companies offer services that actually address your personal or business reputation management problem.

If you are concerned because someone else with your name is dominating your search engine results, that requires a different solution than pushing a negative review about your business past page one of Google.

Proactive reputation management services are not always a one-size fits all process. Often, a standard plan of attack will work. Other times, it will not. When you sign up for a service, make sure that the ORM company can offer you a plan that meets your specific requirements.

Is the company credible?

If you're choosing an online reputation management company, have you asked yourself--

  • Is the ORM company that you’re considering credible?  Has it been verified by a third-party monitor like the Better Business Bureau?
  • What about its leadership team? Do the people who run the company have experience in the Internet industry?

These are questions that can help you determine if an ORM company is credible, or if it is simply trying to cash in on the suddenly lucrative ORM market.

In addition to researching more about the company, check to see if there are any customer testimonials available. If the company has a presence on social media websites like Twitter or Facebook, check out the company there as well. A trustworthy and credible ORM company will be active in the social media space answering questions and offering advice.

How do the company’s service work?

Prior to hiring an ORM company, you should know exactly what you’re getting for your money, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask how their products and services work. Because it involves the Internet, search engines, link strategies, and more, some of it may be over your head, but that’s okay. You still have a right to ask, and if you don’t get a satisfactory answer, you might want to consider another ORM company.

In addition to simply being informed, it is important to learn how the ORM companies’ products and services work to see if it isn’t something you can do yourself.

If your online reputation problem is something relatively simple, you may be able to manage it on your own and won’t need to hire anyone. You may find out, however, that a lot of effort will have to go into your problem. At that point, you should be able to decide for yourself if its simply too complicated or simply too big for you to handle alone.

How much do the ORM services cost?

The issue of price is important when dealing with an ORM provider and it touches on all of the previous questions in this article. If the price someone quotes you is far in excess of what you’re willing to pay for your reputation management problem, then feel free to shop around. However, if you determine that the price is fair given the amount of work that will go into your case, you might consider paying for the service.

When choosing an online reputation management service company, look for a tiered pricing system that offers a low-cost entry to the service. Also, make sure that the people you’re talking with are willing to work with you on pricing. Remember, ORM situations are unique, and the cost of solving a problem can vary.

Finally, if an ORM company quotes you a price that’s very high and they won’t budge, it’s likely not because they’re being greedy, but because they’re offering an accurate assessment of how much work it will take to manage your reputation problem. Many people underestimate how much effort and time goes into a sustained reputation management campaign, only to let the problem become worse as they haggle over pricing.

Check out Reputation.com

Now that you know how to choose the best online reputation management services for your money, you should check out Reputation.com.

Reputation.com has been the world’s leader in online reputation management services and Internet privacy services since its inception in 2006 and continues to develop new and innovative tools to help its customers protect their good names online.