Managing Your Online Reputation with Proxies
Companies with an online presence and especially those experiencing tremendous growth, are always at risk of cyberattacks that could lead to data breaches. Malicious people or even competitors who feel threatened by a company’s burgeoning brand may sanction these attacks or go all out on a smear campaign.
A smear campaign could entail posting fake negative feedback and reviews anonymously on social media platforms, e-commerce sites, and review websites. And with these sites freely allowing users to post reviews with little or no authentication requirements, many unsubstantiated negative comments maligning a brand could be posted there.
This, coupled with the fact that customers usually look at reviews or feedback before purchasing products from a manufacturer or seller online, portends doom for a brand’s reputation. This is why it is essential to know what people are saying about your brand for you to deal with the negative comments in the early stages before they become a full-blown PR nightmare. One way you can do this is by using review monitoring tools alongside proxy servers.
Web Scraping in Online Reputation Management
Review monitoring involves looking for and harvesting data containing customer reviews. As this data is extracted from websites, review monitoring is considered a subset of web scraping. And just like other web scraping use cases, review monitoring can be conducted either manually or automatically. The latter is preferred given the vast number of websites containing reviews, i.e., review sites and online marketplaces.
News and Social Media Monitoring
For effective results whenever the objective is to manage your online reputation, it is prudent to use review monitoring in conjunction with news and social media monitoring. Social media users are free to comment or post on their accounts. And if these users have a large online following, their posts have influence. They shape consumer buying behavior. So much so that social media influencer is a career.
Nonetheless, even in cases where the comments or posts are not from known influencers, they still constitute customer reviews and can influence another person to buy a product or disregard it. Simply put, a lot relating to a brand’s reputation is usually at stake when social media is concerned. Thus, social media monitoring is a vital undertaking.
In the same vein, what news outlets write about a company also shapes consumers’ perception of the brand.
The combined influence of social media platforms and users, review sites, review sections on online marketplaces, and what news outlets write about a company point to online reputation management’s large scope.
Outcomes of the Lack of Reputation Management
Failure to consider one or more of the elements of online reputation management or the complete disregard of online reputation management could be the end of your brand as you know it. Here are some of the problems a company can encounter for failing to manage its reputation:
Eroded Credibility and Trust
Consumers always go through other customers’ reviews of a product or the seller before deciding to purchase. A whopping 93% of customers read reviews before buying – the reviews influence their purchase decisions. And that’s not all. 91% of customers trust online reviews.
The presence of many negative reviews – genuine or fake – will cause potential customers to view the company as untrustworthy or one that does not strive to develop quality products. Furthermore, suppose the company does not make an effort to respond to the negative reviews on the various sites. In that case, the potential customers will interpret this to mean that the company does not care about what its customers say.
Reduced customer base
If customers post negative reviews about your product, regardless of whether they are genuine or false/fake, new customers will rely on the information published therein. As such, they won’t purchase your products.
A small customer base, coupled with the lack of new buyers, will automatically reduce sales and revenue.
If the reduced revenue cannot sustain your company’s operations, you will have to close shop.
You can avoid these four problems by using social media, news, and review monitoring tools. However, the success of these tools lies in the use of proxy servers. Here’s why.
Use of Proxies in Review Monitoring
Rotating datacenter proxy servers that use robust proxy management settings and solutions are the best type of proxies for web scraping/review monitoring. They act as intermediaries that regularly assign any web request from the users’ computers to new and unique IP addresses.
Websites usually block and blacklist IP addresses responsible for multiple web requests. Notably, review monitoring relies on web scraping bots that make numerous requests in order to access as much content as possible.
This implies that any review monitoring undertaking that does not integrate rotating datacenter proxy servers will always face hurdles due to IP blocking. In this regard, rotating datacenter proxies promote seamless and smooth review monitoring by preventing detection by websites at an affordable rate.