Always act with integrity to maintain your reputation and your brand. One reason to be fair and honorable in your dealings with customers and employees is the amount of damage an angry person can do to your brand. This damage can vary from complaints to the BBB and your credit card processor to posting negative reviews and feedback about your site. Negatives like this can really taint a site.
In the extreme example, the negative reviews can actually overwhelm the company’s own brand in search engines. Take the case of a now defunct SEO company called Traffic Power. They flourished briefly during the two years or so when a link farm could drive Google SERP. They acquired some enemies from their questionable practices as well as sued some people who made disparaging remarks about them.
Instead of silencing their critics, the lawsuit lit up the blogosphere, rallied the SEO community and generated thousands of back links to the story on SEOBook. The top ten SERP’s on Google for “Traffic Power” are currently dominated by websites dedicated to informing customers about the dangers of Traffic Power. The number one site is called Traffic Power Sucks. Traffic Power is in bankruptcy.
Most companies don’t have to worry about pissing off the top names in SEO or someone taking the time to create a site dedicated to telling people, for example “This Brand Can’t be Trusted” or P……….com is owned by a crooks. Only a mistreated former employee or a really angry customer would do that. Rarely is the anger sustained long enough to go to the effort of purchasing a domain like www.P………Sucks.com and optimizing it to control a brand.
What is far more likely is that an unhappy customer or former employee might spend a few minutes each day clicking on paid links for a particular company. For example, the search term of postcard printing brings up sponsored adds that cost between $5 and $15 dollars per click. If the spurned customer or jilted employee is angry enough to get their friends and family to do the same thing, pretty soon the ROI of the campaign can get be put in doubt.
So marketers and business owners, act with integrity in all of your dealings and your brand will prosper.