News Column

Reputation Changer Warns Against Autocomplete Overlook

Jun 10 2013 12:00AM

Marketwire

Tracker

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 06/10/13 -- What a Google search reveals about an individual or a brand can have a seismic impact on that individual or brand's online reputation -- and according to Reputation Changer, this is not limited to the listings on the search results page itself. While search result listings can prove make-or-break for people and for companies, the "suggested" search terms offered by Google Autocomplete can be just as advantageous, or just as damaging. In a new statement to the press, Reputation Changer opines on the fact that more and more people and brands are taking their Google search results seriously, yet overlooking their Autocomplete findings.

"More and more of our clients are aware that what an Internet search reveals about them effectively sets the tone for how the public perceives them," comments ReputationChanger.com president Michael Zammuto. "Adverse search engine listings can cost a person his or her job, and it can cause a business to lose clients. People are increasingly conscientious of this, and so they are taking great efforts to repair their search results and to suppress unwanted listings -- but sometimes, they neglect a key piece of the puzzle, which is Autocomplete."

Autocomplete is important for several reasons, Zammuto says, not the least of which is the fact that it often forms the first impression that a search engine user has about his or her search query. "Say that someone goes to the Google search bar to conduct a query for your business," Zammuto offers. "The first listing in the Autocomplete dropdown menu includes a word like 'scam,' 'complaints,' or 'fraud.' Right off the bat, the search engine user has a highly negative association with your business -- and this is before he or she even makes it to your first search engine listing!"

Zammuto also warns that many search engine users allow Autocomplete results to direct their inquiries. "Google intends for Autocomplete to be a helpful tool, which it is, and many users do allow it to dictate their search terms," he cautions. "So, if someone searches for your company and that 'scam' keyword comes up, he or she is likely to see where that term leads, just for the sake of curiosity -- and who knows what kind of damaging content that might turn up for your brand?"

The Reputation Changer president also says that Autocomplete can prove damaging to individuals. "What happens when a potential employer goes to Google you, and the first suggested search term implies illegal activity, or something else that's unsavory and potentially damaging?" Zammuto notes that this has happened before; as recently as April of this year, a high-profile defamation suit in Japan involved allegations that Autocomplete had falsely linked a local man with criminal activity, costing him his job and making it impossible for him to find further employment.

The question that many will have is what can be done to prevent unflattering Autocomplete results. Zammuto notes that these suggested searches are largely based on actual search engine user behavior, which means that attending to unwanted online listings can eventually have a positive effect on Autocomplete results. "To actively and efficiently change what Autocomplete says about you, though, you have to fundamentally alter the search engine's perceptions, which is something that takes vast resources -- the kinds of resources that only a firm like Reputation Changer can provide," concludes Zammuto.

ABOUT:

Founded in 2009, Reputation Changer has a vision for providing individuals and companies with complete control of how they are portrayed on the Web. ReputationChanger.com delivers reputation monitoring and defense services to individuals and companies alike. Indeed, the company is known for its standard-setting technologies and also for its proprietary methodologies; the company's client list encompasses government bodies, noteworthy politicians, Fortune 100 companies, small businesses, doctors, dentists, lawyers, and private citizens.



Source: Marketwire