Blog | Jun 15, 2011 | 6 Comments

[your online business reputation]

[there's nowhere to hide]

This is a story about someone who had to make an interesting business decision in the online world. If you have a similar story–or a different opinion about the situation–I’d love to hear it.

What’s more important, exposure or reputation?

A colleague was approached about providing content for a large website with a very interesting business model and a lot of fans. Some well-known bloggers write for them. Having one’s name there could deliver a lot of exposure and has the potential to drive significant traffic to that person’s own website.

My colleague’s content would be business-related but in general, the site is not G-rated. Just the fact that we used the word “racy” in discussing the rest of the site’s content totally labels us as dinosaurs. I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I asked some basic business questions.

If you worked for them, would you list them on your resume or LinkedIn profile? Would you ask them for a testimonial?

If they had an actual storefront in your town, how would you feel if they put a poster with your face and a description of your contribution in their front window?

We’re tempted to treat clients and colleagues with web-based businesses completely differently from brick-and-mortar businesses. But the basic principles of business operation and association still apply online.

When you are your business and your brand, reputation is your most valuable asset.

Let’s face it: everyone’s online presence is created out of a series of calculated risks. In cyberspace or the blogosphere, we can’t really afford to “hook up” with any businesses that we wouldn’t patronize. Nothing is private; everything comes out from under the radar eventually. Just ask Rep. Weiner.

So what’s the next move?

My colleague is going to turn down the offer. I think the whole purpose of our discussion was just to validate a choice that had already been made. With that said, I did give some advice in the end: figure out what was attractive about the offer you received—the money, a new audience, different topics to write about, etc. Research sites that offer the same advantages but that feel compatible with your brand, and pitch them for the same kind of work. It will come eventually.

What would you do? I’m especially interested in hearing any opposing views.

Photo credit: liryon on flickr. This work is licensed by a Creative Commons License.

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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.



I appreciate your article today.

It think the most important thing is to trust your gut and guard your reputation.

Your suggestion at the end about researching options that offer similar advantages — I think sometimes we all forget that next step.




Claire Wagner Reply:

Yes, we do need to be guarded. I will probably always need to remind myself of that! Thanks for setting such a good example of someone who is very engaged yet very professional.





Excellent and grounded advice – especially the part about looking for similar situations. Online reputation is something that we need to be careful with – and finding the right ‘fit’ with the work that we do is always important. Thanks for this post.


Claire Wagner Reply:

Thanks, Anne!


Anne Janzer


It’s great advice!! You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Thanks for the reminder.


Claire Wagner Reply:

Glad you saw this, Lori!


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