Seth Godin reflects on the story that a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company is claiming to be able to make online bad news about a company disappear.
PRWatch reveals similar services offered as a technological solution to “make sure that your company and key executives are being portrayed favorably online by burying the negatives and maintaining a positive online image.”
This is the same attitude that has seen PR practitioners seek to edit Wikipedia entries. Some clearly feel there is an easier way to getting positive Google juice than earning it.
Of course it is frustrating when negative information is readily available – and if such perceptions are incorrect, professional, ethical PR strategies are needed. Most organisations are open to having factual information corrected via legitimate dialogue.
But seeking to rewrite history smacks of Orwell’s 1984. I recently wrote at PR Conversations about PR Jobs of the Future – speculating how PR practitioners need to prepare for an unpredictable future.
Karen Hegmann viewed a need to PR practitioners to avoid rehearsing “corporatespeak” and grasp the human side of technology to be a real winner. If we don’t do this, can we hope for anything more than a future working like 1984’s Winston digging out the trail of things our bosses don’t like and changing them?
Or should we believe such actions will be readily exposed and companies will come to recognise there are no shortcuts to a strong reputation.