Of course, this fails to take into account what reputation management is: simple messaging. Businesses both online and offline have a responsibility to try to best control their messaging to show their brand clearly, and that often means interfering with competitors or others who are trying to cast the brand in a negative light. It has long been a technique in offline business to buy up ad time in markets where a competitor is attempting to engage in negative messaging, and online reputation management is a simple extension of that practice.
In fact, online reputation management services and tools are some of the most ethical forms of online marketing available to companies and individuals who want to improve their brands. Reputation management does not even directly oppose competitors – it doesn’t involve trying to snatch up choice keywords and phrases from a crowded marketplace. All a company is trying to do is simply manage their own reputation – to gain control over the thing they own most in the world, their brand. By pushing down negative results that show up in searches for their brand name, a business is ensuring that the end consumer has access to the best information available on the business itself. Online reputation management is, in fact, an ethical response to often unethical competitor behavior that aims to discredit or weaken the core brand.