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The recent theoretical framework for online reputation management

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Abstract

Online space is becoming increasingly important for companies and their activities. People live their lives on two levels, real and virtual. As ICT usage increases, companies build their brands in online markets that never close. Online space is still alive. It´s more and more accessible to its customers, who can be and they are always in touch with selected popular brands thanks to smartphones, tablets and their applications. The above incentives and many others are forcing companies to respond comprehensively to the current situation and manage their online reputation. The article discusses why it is necessary to manage the online reputation of a company and offers a basic theoretical basis for reputation management. The obtained data were qualitatively evaluated.
THE RECENT THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK FOR ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Irina Ďaďová – Jakub Soviar
University of Žilina
Faculty of Management Science and Informatics, Univerzitná 8215/1, 010 26 Žilina,
Slovak Republic
irina.dadova@fri.uniza.skjakub.soviar@fri.uniza.sk
Abstract: Online space is becoming increasingly important for companies and their activities. People live their lives
on two levels, real and virtual. As ICT usage increases, companies build their brands in online markets that never close.
Online space is still alive. It´s more and more accessible to its customers, who can be and they are always in touch with
selected popular brands thanks to smartphones, tablets and their applications. The above incentives and many others are
forcing companies to respond comprehensively to the current situation and manage their online reputation. The article
discusses why it is necessary to manage the online reputation of a company and offers a basic theoretical basis for reputation
management. The obtained data were qualitatively evaluated.
Keywords: online reputation, online repuation management, brand building, use of information and communication technology
1. Introduction
Online reputation management can be considered a
relatively new management direction, which naturally
arose with the increased usage of the Internet for the users'
needs and at the same time for the development of
business activities. The development of ICT directly
affects the development of the online market and its
potential, so it is necessary to manage ORM activities. A
proper understanding of the theoretical foundations so far
can help to further development of this topic mainly
because of its high importance and its high degree of
applicability in practice.
2. Metodology
In obtaining the information mentioned in the article was
used the method of document analysis. It was focused
mainly on getting information from expert scientific
articles. The data were processed by deduction and
comparison methods. Conclusions from the analysis were
then formulated by induction. Also, the following criteria
were taken into account while selecting the analyzed
documents:
- focusing on online reputation,
- focusing on online management and its
management tools,
- orientation on the theme of brand building.
The theme of online reputation management and online
brand building relates to ICT, those are the reasons why
within document analysis was included only documents
from 2014 till nowadays. Most of the documents are from
2018 because of quickly changing trends in online space.
By formulation of recommendations and conclusions were
used logic and creativity.
3. Online reputation management
One of the definitions of online reputation management
says: "Online reputation management is a process that
ensures that the right information appears when you (or
your brand name) appear on search engines like Google,
Bing or Yahoo, or on social networks like Facebook,
Twitter or Linkedin. ORM intends to minimize negative
content and promote flattering content.” [1] It seems
simple and clear, but after analyzing it, it is evident that all
the words mentioned above have much deeper meaning. A
complex, difficult set of tasks and processes that together
make up the whole of one of the currently very important
areas of management, namely reputation management.
Based on the available theoretical background, the topic of
online reputation management is discussed in this article
from these four point of views: online markets,
reputation monitoring tools, brand building, social
networks.
3.1. Online markets
ORM is also based on collecting feedbacks or ratings from
buyers. Thus, the reputation of the company or brand has
an impact on the sale of offered products or services.
Trustworthy of reputation increases buyer´s confidence in
the electronic market. The question that is important to be
answered is: To what extent is the online reputation of the
company affected by the feedbacks given on the Internet
and their verity? There are two types of unfair ratings in
the online environment, with false-positive feedback and
false negative feedback. Misleading and unfair ratings are
a problem. Therefore, it is necessary to create a mechanism
that will not be influenced or manipulated by negative
feedback. [2]
It is also worth to mention online discussion forums, which
are a valuable source of information. Users share or
exchange ideas and experiences here. While according to
the increasing volume of content in the form of online
forums it becomes more and more difficult to find relevant
information on these websites. Online discussion forums in
most cases offer only searching by keywords. In particular,
this process needs to be improved by including the entire
content of each "thread" in the search. [3]
A solid reputation is a key signal with the potential to
reduce the risk of consumer dissatisfaction. It is a good
reputation that reduces the likelihood of consumers
returning products purchased online. Reputation is
becoming a tool that retailers can effectively set to reduce
the return on products without causing problems for
consumers. [4]
3.2. Brand building
Trust is a key indicator of online reputation. Well-managed
reputation management with positive customer feedback
enables the company to differentiate itself from
competitors. Customers prefer companies with a good
reputation. There is a risk of damaging the online
reputation by dissatisfied employees or falsified
competition. These are the reasons why the online
reputation needs to be constantly monitored and the
measures taken if necessary. [5]
In the field of online reputation, trust can be described as
the basis for good reputation management. Therefore,
online reputation research discusses the importance of a
trust management system in many online communities.
Trust systems themselves are designed to help participants
make better decisions based on information about the trust.
The trust management system can be divided into three
parts: trust modeling, trust management, and decision
making. Depending on the context, different methods can
be used in collecting and filtering trust. [6]
3.3. Reputation monitoring tools
Up to the present, the following online reputation
monitoring tools already exist and are in use: Social
Mention, Google Alerts, Hootsuite, Brandwatch,
BrandsEye. [5] Customer confidence in the brand greatly
affects the company´s success. Companies, therefore, need
to monitor how the brand is communicated online.
Currently, it is possible to track how well the audience
trusts the selected brand, even by reviewing relevant
review pages like Google My Business, Yelp, or Trustpilot.
[7]
Among the distinctive and currently very important
monitoring reputation tools belong, for instance, web
portal Trip Advisor used in the area of tourism. The
reviews on this website form the travelers' decisions of
hotel choice and others. The arrival of user-created content
has changed the professional foundations of reputation
management. The public, and thus the users themselves,
not only influence the reputation but also create its content
and thus create reality. Therefore, not only in the field of
tourism but also in many others, social media and
evaluation portals deserve special attention. Companies
need to work with them properly to build a reputation in an
online environment. [8] [9]
In the field of online reputation, the evolution of reputation
systems is also studied. ORMS (Online Reputation
Management Systems) search for data, information, and
knowledge across an entire website or specific domains
based on selected criteria. A technical system designed for
efficient information processing and data processing brings
awareness, knowledge, and competence in relation to
online business reputation. Managing reputation is
associated with an increased focus on people, their
relationships, and not just the content of the website itself.
Raising awareness, knowledge, and competence in the
field of corporate online reputation is associated with a
number of future-oriented positions in the company´s
reputation management. [10]
The increasing presence of mobile devices is essential in
online space. This led to the so-called Mobile Data
Capture (MCS). Foundations for quantifying user
reputation in a data acquisition system have already been
laid. A valuable fact is that the user's reputation and
credibility of data can be quantified. [11]
3.4. Social networks
A very important aspect, when it comes to online markets,
is certainly social networking which has made a huge
change in business. Social networks and their applications
are mainly used on smartphones. Mobile social networks
let you discover and share content among users. The
MCSaT (Motivating Content Sharing And
Trustworthiness) mechanism has been developed to
motivate users to share primarily trustworthy content. This
content is shared among multiple users at the same time.
[12]
Social networks allow you to measure your return on
investment (ROI) through advertising in the form of sales.
With online reviews and social media posts like on
Facebook, it is easy to contact and reach customers in real-
time. Engagement rate is one useful metric for sellers who
use Facebook reviews online. Social media combines
traditional print and electronic media and improves the
marketing mix. Online reputation management is an
extension of customer relationship management. [13] In
the case of Facebook likes, comments and post sharing
have a direct impact on the company´s reputation. Social
media directly shapes and can change the reputation of the
company. The existing communication environment affects
strategic reputation management and affects strategic
business decisions. [14]
6. Main conclusions
The topic of reputation management in the online
environment offers extensive scope for scientific
exploration. In this article, the topic of ORM deals mainly
with the running of the online markets, the possibility of
monitoring reputation, brand building processes and the
usage of social networks. It is certainly appropriate to
extend the areas of view on ORM in practice on the basis
of the given theoretical framework.
Managing ORM directly affects the development of ICT
and its tools or application (such as upper mentioned:
Social Mention, Google Alerts, Hootsuite, Brandwatch,
BrandsEye, ORMS, MCS, MCSaT) which managers can
apply in their management practice. Online reputation
management is closely connected to marketing as well as
part of it are activities such as brand building and building
and maintaining trust in the brand and company.
ORM management also relates to trends in the field of
online markets and digital marketing, such as the
development of Artificial Intelligence and SEO, which has
now also been influenced by RankBrain, a machine
learning technology that manages Google search results
management. [15] Another good example is the use of
VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant), which will act as a cross-
device linker. [16]
Also the rate of usage of chatbots (service of certain
communication with customers applied directly on the
website or e-shop). It's a popular and widespread form of
artificial intelligence that helps brands to improve their
service. [17] Last but not least, virtual assistants like
Corona, Siri, Google Now, Alexa, who perform basic
functions such as setting the alarm clock, playing a song,
reading a newspaper, but also more complex functions
such as putting things in a shopping cart, connections to a
music service (iTunes, Spotify, etc.) can also be connected
to new smart houses. [18]
Acknowledgements
This publication was realized with support of the
Operational Program Research and Innovation in frame of
the project: ICT for smart society, code ITMS2014 +:
313011T462, co-financed by the European Regional
Development Fund.
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