One thing that will likely live forever, somewhere on Google’s servers, is what you write online. More importantly, though, is what other people write about you. Case in point: photographer Steven E. Frischling.
He’s smart — very smart — to separate those two business lines. Crazy as it sounds, corporate/commercial clients won’t generally hire a photographer who lists “weddings” as something they do. Wrong, I know, but it’s a fact of life. Steve has recognized this.
He markets himself for weddings internationally using Craigslist in London, Paris, Tokyo, Boston, Sydney, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Miami. Each of those links shows you how he’s promoted himself there. By his own account, he’s racked up over 850,000 miles since 2005 alone. Clearly, he’s been busy.
So, why is Steve a case study in online reputation management?
Since April of this year, several brides have penned unpleasant listings about him on Yelp.com; read them here. Are they accurate? Who knows.
The Better Business Bureau Web site has four unresolved complaints against him here. Are those accurate? Again, no one knows.
With the immediacy of the Internet, people can write, post, complain, and otherwise be critical of you, and it’s spread everywhere — accurate or not.
The Good with the Bad
Now for the positive. Frischling appeared on Good Morning America (here) discussing thefts at airports, and spends a great deal of time contributing at a forum I read as well — FlyerTalk — which is the place where hardened travelers discuss all the nuances of travel and how to make it easier. Steve’s published almost 1,000 posts there.
So he’s got positives, yes, but there are negatives that are still out there. Just as Steve needs to be attentive to them, so too should you be attentive to any that are critical of you.
All of this goes to show that what you write — helpful, critical, or otherwise — is stored in countless server dungeons around the world, and people can find it. Moreover, and more importantly, spending time locating and then correcting incorrect information is critical to maintaining a positive online reputation.