With the explosion of Consumer Generated Media (CGM), ongoing monitoring of your personal or professional reputation has become a must. Consumer Generated Media consists largely of social networking websites; blogs; photo, audio and video sharing sites; discussion boards; and any other website that allows users to share their experience, opinion and knowledge.
Facebook, Twitter, BlogSpot, WordPress… people update and write about anything, anywhere, anytime. In fact, they might be writing about you. You can imagine the devastating ramifications of negative word of mouth about your company or yourself. However, you can be proactive and monitor online reputations before disaster strikes. You can monitor your name, product feedback, services, company, competitors, employers, even enemies. The sky is the limit and the tools are easy to set up and free to use, so take advantage of them.
Here are ten free basic tools to monitor one’s online reputation:
10. Yahoo! Site Explorer
Monitor the external links to your blog, corporate website or personal web page through Yahoo’s Site Explorer. This free tool allows you to check who is linking back to your site. There is a very high probability that people who post negative comments, also provide a link to their source of disappointment.
9. Google SideWiki
Google SideWiki is a very useful browser plug-in that allows any Gmail user to annotate or post comments on any website. This web annotation feature also allows the website owner to leave an owners comment on their Sidewiki. It will appear at the top of all other listings. It is very important to regularly check your SideWiki entries to prevent spam and abuse or to address negative feedback. Don’t be offended if there are some legitimate negative comments, but make sure you address them: contact the complainer, post a comment letting the person know you’ve contacted them directly, and take the conversation offline.
This tool will check the availability of your personal/corporate name or username on over 400 popular social networking and bookmarking platforms. Knowem is a good way to discover if someone is posing as you or if it’s just a coincidence. Checking usernames is becoming essential also for trademark protection and to protect yourself and your business from identity theft.
Delicious, the world’s premier social bookmarking service, is another handy tool. Almost everybody is bookmarking nowadays, so start discovering web bookmarks that mention your name, services, or competitors. Use the search box or the Delicious tag page to monitor your online reputation.
If you have been facing online reputation problems and you want to keep an eye on a particular website, Versionista monitors any change of the web page of interest, visually showing the exact words and sentences that have been added or removed. It alerts you by sending email notifications.
SamePoint is a useful social media search and analytic platform that allows you to analyze millions of user-generated conversations and monitor online reputations. It is easily accessible, simply type your query into the search box and analyze the social tone: whether it is positive or negative. The “Social Tone” feature indicates how many negative/positive words have been found in the post. Remember to subscribe to your tracking feed.
SocialMention allows you to easily monitor and measure what people are saying about you, your organization, a new service, or any topic across the online social media landscape in real-time. According to SocialMention, “the tool monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.” You can create various alerts (similar to Google Alerts) based on your choice of search phrase.
Twitter is one of the most popular and powerful social networking services. Conduct a search for your target keyword and then subscribe via RSS to get fresh search results. The TwitterSearch plug-in will help you find people by name, if you don’t know their Twitter account. It is a great plug-in. Type in “toptenz” and you will see for yourself. You can subscribe to the feed of your search query.
Technorati is a leading search engine of the blogosphere. It indexes millions of blogs in real time. Technorati is probably the best tool to monitor blogger conversations. Conduct a search using the Technorati search box and if you are not happy with the returned results, try using quotation marks, for example: “toptenz”. Subscribe to the RSS feed and check it periodically.
1. Google Alerts
One of my favorite free tools is, of course, Google Alerts- a powerful content monitoring service. It’s a great way to stay informed. Google Alerts monitor both social and traditional media. You will receive email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your search term. If your Web search query contains two or more words, use quotation marks around your phrase to tell Google Alerts exactly what to retrieve. For instance, a Google Alert for “online reputation software” works better with quotes. Here’s a great trick: use negative keywords. If your name is similar (or the same) to another organization or another person, use the search phrase “your name –characteristic of the other company/person” as an alert. Using the negative keyword, Google Alerts will exclude almost all results about the second one. Let’s say that my name is John Smith and I am a Human Resources Manager but Johnsmithsport.com is the corporate website of a Spanish designer. The search phrase “John Smith -johnsmithsport.com” will eliminate results related to his website from my alert. The Google Alerts service has several other settings to help you customize your updates.
What free online tools do you use to monitor?
by Timeea Vinerean
I enjoy looking through an article that will make people think.
Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!
Most of the above tools only monitor social media comments and links and don’t tell you where your site is being actively rated by users which matters because this will actually showing up directly in google search results when users do a search of your website/business – so as far as checking website reputations the above only have limited value. This one http://www.bigthis.com does an full search which displays an overall site reputation by collecting ratings from the major review sites (eg. like wot, trustpilot or webutation) and displaying an a link to each review page for easy access. There’s also another one or two which does a similar survey of all existing reviews however, I don’t remember the link to them.
Thought I would add a useful tool if your site uses Google Analytics. It is called InboundLinkAlerts from http://www.embeddedanalytics.com (disclosure: I work with them). This service is similar to Google Alerts, sending you an email when a new link on the web is made to your website. Based on past results, links are detected and sent within hours. Many of our users have built the service into their overall ORM strategy.
Why would a site use this when Google Alerts already provides this for free? Seems like the next question.
Length of time for alert to be delivered!
It takes time before Google crawls a site and sends out the alert. With this methodology links can be detected and alerts sent within an hour (assuming someone has clicked on the link going to your site).
Say someone writes a very nasty review of your company. Obviously it is good to know about this asap so that you can respond/react.
The service also has some other nice feature such as KPI of recently discovered links.
nice sharing these tools are very helpfull. And this article can also help beginers. thanks thanks alot
With the completion of algorithmic transition to Bing, Yahoo! Search has merged Site Explorer into Bing Webmaster Tools.
Cool list. Let’s hope businesses will use them wisely though! Measuring social media presence shows how much the brand is likely to be discussed.
Yup! monitoring your online reputation is a must thing now. And any business owner needs to check in that how his business is going and what the customers think about the services or products that this business is offering. So gaining some help from these free tools is really not a bad idea and it will improve the business too. Thank you for sharing it with us.
We just need to become more proactive and realize that our online reputation is indeed very important and worth protecting. If first impressions count, then we are who Google ‘says’ we are. Enjoy browsing the site!
In these times you need to be very carefull with what you or your friens post about you into the internet, that is true! It is very important monitoring your image in the web! I always imagined that all those tools are very complicated to use…thank you for these informations! It is really a good round-up of useful tools!
These are great tips! Some of them are really easy to use and very helpful! You pointed some great ideas for those who really want to closely monitor their online reputation.
Good round-up of useful tools! Thanks for including Samepoint and pointing out our social tone and RSS features. Our real-time search feature gives a nice view of what's being said about you, or your company, or the things important to you from across the social web.
Thank you for your feedback!