As an old-school public relations consultant, I remember the days when “reputation management” was strictly a PR term. We learned about it in our college courses and included it on our websites as a practice area. But then sometime in the past few years, reputation management was stolen from us by the search engine optimization world. Today, when you mention reputation management, most people equate it with “online” reputation management and the act of trying to manipulate search results by pushing down, burying or suppressing negative content and links.
If you don’t believe me, ask Wikipedia (cue groans.) I know that our profession has an “it’s complicated” relationship with Wikipedia, but millions of people use it each day, and here’s what it says about reputation management:
Reputation management refers to influencing and controlling an individual’s or business’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results.