Online reputation management terms to know

Online Reputation Management Terms to Know

Electronic privacy and internet reputation management are hot topics in the media, with news stories ranging from “do not track” regulations to identity theft, people-finder services and changes to Facebook privacy settings.

If you’re new to the topic, the explosion of new terms and concepts can seem bewildering. Yet ignorance isn’t bliss. A basic understanding of top privacy and online reputation management terms is essential to protecting yourself online.


Top four online reputation management terms you need to know

  • Data mining or scraping is the process of scouring the Internet for all traces of information related to a person, company or idea. Information brokerage companies employ data mining to build detailed profiles on individuals, which they then sell to anyone who wants them. On their own, individual pieces of personal data on the Internet rarely pose a threat. Collected together, your personal information makes it not only extremely easy for advertisers to offer customized ads but also for identity thieves to impersonate you or for stalkers to violate your electronic privacy.
  • The Deep Web refers to the large mass of databases and “hidden” information connected to the Internet. Information in the Deep Web can’t be accessed via search engines; you need to visit the correct website first and then learn how it dispenses information. The Deep Web affects digital privacy when data mining companies scour databases that contain personal information. For instance, a government database could be mined to find your address, phone number, Social Security number and so forth. Check out this article to learn more on the Deep Web and how it affects your digital privacy.
  • Behavioral tracking is the process of following a Web user’s every online activity in order to arrive at a detailed picture of that person’s habits, interests and inclinations. Advertising companies do this through the use of tracking cookies, which are small pieces of software installed via your Web browser. Privacy advocates worry that insurance companies could employ behavioral tracking to deny you coverage or raise premiums. Many of the privacy protection measures that have been debated in Congress and in the media relate to behavioral tracking.
  • Geolocation devices such as smartphones can transmit information about a user’s physical location. Combined with behavioral tracking and data mining, the collection of geolocation data further erodes electronic privacy by disclosing a person’s daily routines. Geolocation also potentially threatens a user’s physical safety if used by thieves or stalkers to predict where an individual will be at a certain time. This article further explains about Geolocation tools and online privacy.


Top four online reputation management terms you should be familiar with

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of creating Web content in such a way that it’s likely to be highly ranked by search engines. An individual’s online reputation relies to a large extent on SEO, as the ranking of websites in search results influences the information that searchers are most likely to find. The goal of SEO is to make a target website rank as close to the top spot as possible. If someone employs SEO to spread false or inaccurate information about you or your family, a high ranking in search engines could give the libelous material unwarranted authority in the eyes of readers.
  • Online Reputation Management (ORM) goes beyond SEO to control the entire contents of the first page of Web results for a given search. ORM employs a wide range of tactics and approaches to create a particular image of an individual or company. Although SEO is concerned with moving one website up in the search results, ORM is often concerned with moving one or more websites down in the search results, burying inaccurate, irrelevant or libelous content where it’s unlikely to be found.
  • Personal branding refers to the process of controlling how an individual appears online. Using ORM and SEO techniques, personal branding can emphasize an individual’s professional life or provide information on specific interests and hobbies. A proactive approach, personal branding also helps mitigate the damage caused by future online reputation attacks by creating a history of focused, positive content. It can thus be viewed as a kind of digital insurance.
  • Astroturfing involves posting false reviews to artificially improve the image of a product, company or individual, or alternatively to hurt a competitor. An ethically questionable tactic, astroturfing  is looked down upon by search engines and Web users because it misleads users and decreases the value of the Internet experience. People facing online reputation attacks sometimes resort to astroturfing out of panic, but the strategy usually fails. A better approach is to engage in methodical ORM, starting with the tips in this article: Five Keys to Unlock a Great Online Reputation.

As you can see, the digital world can have a strong impact on your day-to-day life, for either good or bad. But with an understanding of key online reputation management terms and Internet privacy terms, you possess the knowledge to decode the new developments that appear in the news.


Clement Lefebvre is a seasoned writer with expertise in online reputation management and Internet privacy. He is also an experienced academic and scientific editor.