June 24, 2009
Recently, an individual asked us to solve a problem for him. A member of his family had dealt with a certain company and, he said, was harmed as a result. This individual wanted to know how he could get high rankings for his blog when someone typed in the company's brand name. While he may have had good reason to get the word out about this, it was not the sort of SEO work that High Rankings was interested in.
However, it got me wondering what other people or companies might think or do faced with the same situation. So I threw it out to my 3,800+ Twitter followers and asked:
"Would you help someone optimize their blog for a company's name whose reputation they wanted to tarnish (assuming what they say was true)?"
The awesome thing about Twitter is that the replies start to come in almost immediately! Within 2 minutes @DavidWallace replied: "Guess it would depend on who the company is. Funny as 1st case where I've seen someone want to 'tarnish' rep. Most want to fix."
Which was indeed what made it an interesting question. We are often asked to help fix a company's reputation, but helping to hurt one was a different story. Unlike David, however, I wasn't interested in the project regardless of who the company was. It felt like bad karma to me.
Others, such as my Twitter friend @Skitzzo, weren't worried about karma. He simply tweeted, "Absolutely."
And still others, like @ShariMcConahay, were on the fence depending on the actual specifics. She tweeted: "Hmmmm that is a tricky one! I guess the answer is 'it depends.'"
@ChiqueLife and @ann_donnelly were with me on the karma thang, with Ann echoing my feelings via these 2 tweets:
"What goes around comes around – even if the company 'deserved' it, I wouldn't go there." and "Always say it's better to build your own good reputation instead of pulling down someone else's."
I couldn't agree more!
@reputationforum found the question interesting enough to post on his reputation forum. You can view his thread here.
So what do you think? Are you afraid of bad karma like I am, or would you have no qualms about working on such a site?