Imagine yourself in this situation: You’re a Realtor with many years of experience, even more satisfied clients, and by and large, a happy career. Upon the urging of your brokerage, you’ve established a Google Business page, and encouraged people to leave reviews about their experiences with you on Yelp.
Then one afternoon, you see a new review on your Google Business page that leaves you confused, angry, and a little nauseous.
buzz0976: This woman is a con artist! She’s the worse realter Ive ever met and made me loose a bunch of money on ahouse in Dallas. terrible service!!! Liar!!!!!!
Who is buzz0976? What on earth is he or she talking about? And why is this online?
Maybe the situation stops there, and that negative comment gets buried over time. But maybe it does not stop. Some Realtors have been the target of personal attacks on social media and other sites, like RipoffReport.com, where anonymous posters have fabricated all manner of stories designed to destroy their reputation.
It happened to Ebby Halliday Realtor RoseMarie LaCoursiere, who recently endured months of online harassment by an anonymous poster whose intent was clearly character assassination. LaCoursiere says this person wrote dozens of negative reviews under different names across the Internet, from her Google Business page to RipoffReport.com.
“It’s very serious when you look at how the Internet, misused with intention, can destroy a person’s reputation” LaCoursiere said. “In essence, I really have no recourse or effective way to defend my good name if I turn a blind eye and keep silent, which is what is expected of me by my online attacker. That’s what a bully expects.”
The crux of all this is online reputation management. As carefully as you may craft your online brand, by-and-large, you lack control over what other people say about you online in social media and other websites.
Most situations are nowhere near as serious as LaCoursiere’s. But what can you do about personal attacks in social media, no matter the scope? How can you defend your good name?