Erroneous and negative content online causes serious financial and intangible losses for an affected company or individual. For a business, it’s difficult to quantify the lost revenue from prospective clients or partners who search you online, and then decide not to do business with you. For an individual, the perception that you are unreliable or fraudulent may mean a lost career or compromised opportunity set.
Defamatory content contains false or misleading statements that damage a reputation. Erroneous content also includes incomplete or inaccurate information. Nonetheless, the potential consequences are equally severe. One prominently displayed red flag can alienate existing as well as prospective clients. This may discourage them from doing business with you or even cause them to select a competitor with a better perceived reputation. The majority of content found online is not original, which means it was copied or paraphrased from a third-party website. The consequences of not addressing false or inaccurate information about your business can adversely impact your reputation. For example, an article highlighting a legal proceeding that is now closed may be syndicated or reposted by affiliate websites automatically.
Negative content erodes trust and can compromise precious strategic partnerships that you have built over the years. Perception is reality on the internet. Ask yourself: What are the people in your network going to think when they read that you have “dissatisfied and angry customers” or that you or your company is “involved in a legal dispute”? Would they want to be associated with you any longer?