The Ultimate Glossary of Online Reputation Management Terminology

In one fell swoop, investors wiped out $40 billion off the market value of Johnson &Johnson, when Reuters reported that the healthcare giant has known for decades that its baby powder is tainted with asbestos. Whether it’s an over-reaction or just retribution, time and the courts will decide. In the meantime, we have to see how J&J manages its reputation both online and offline, given its handling of the 7 deaths caused by its cyanide-laced Tylenol pills in 1982, which is held up as an exemplary study in crisis management.

The ground rules for reputation management have changed, and the need to manage online reputations has become an additional requirement for individuals as well as companies, big and small. Refer to this glossary of Online Reputation Terminology to familiarize yourself with the terminology of online reputation, before strategizing to manage it.

  1. Affiliate Link: When advertisements are shared through an affiliate marketing program, they use a link which contains a unique ID or username of the advertiser, to track the traffic sent to the advertiser’s site – which determines what they get paid for the sales generated.
  2. Aggregators: These applications keep track of online conversations about you, your brand, and your industry on major social media networks. They then combine this information for easy viewing on one service or site. Aggregators may be curated by machines or humans and come in all sizes.
  3. Algorithm: This is basically a formula which is used by search engines to decide a website’s rank. So, you know who (or what) to thank for your position at number 1 in search results.
  4. Anchor Text: When we hyperlink a word or phrase to a different site in a clickable link, it changes color and gets highlighted. Such a word or phrase is called anchor text.
  5. Astroturfing: The reviews and comments are all fake!
  6. Attack Blog: Ever seen a blog which is created for the sole purpose of attacking/defaming an individual, company or group? Such blogs are also known as Attack Blogs.
  7. Authenticity: Basically a judgement of the quality of a blogger or an online community. Adds value, for obvious reasons. They use white hat SEO strategies and offer legitimate content.
  8. Black Hat SEO: Unethical practices which attempt to raise a website’s rank in search engine results
  9. Bot: Software which Bot which can manipulate the content on webpages, infect systems, perform online tasks like scraping content from a webpage.
  10. Brand Ambiguity: When a brand has a common word for a name, the ambiguity makes it difficult for the brand to stand out in the search landscape and even for their customers to find the brand’s website.
  11. Branded Content: The content a brand puts out to promote their products/services with a specific target group, and to build a rapport with them
  12. Brandjacking: Happens when someone masquerades as your brand online, using a website which falsely pretends to be yours. This may be just a parody or a protest. It can also be a fraudulent effort to cash in on your brand’s reputation to sell imitation products which counterfeit yours. Some of them just squat there, knowing that the rightful owner will need to claim that particular site, page or social media account and would be willing to pay them to vacate it. This can happen to individuals too, with celebrity status.
  13. Brand reputation: Brand reputation is about how the name of a company (or an individual) is viewed by others. A favorable brand reputation translates to trust in your name, product or services while a negative reputation could affect your prospects negatively and require a strategic approach to brand reputation management, especially in the aftermath of any negative publicity.
  14. Brand Safety: Brand safety in the context of Digital Marketing applies to the processes, tools and strategies which are adopted to ensure that an online ad does not appear in a context which could potentially cause damage the brand.
  15. Command Center: Generally, a command center is a place which is used as a centralized place from which all commands are issued in a war. In digital marketing, the campaign is equated to combat preparation with action being decisions made across multidisciplinary teams like web, social, production, creatives and media buying. These teams use lots of insights derived from various sources, including social chatter to help formulate their strategy.
  16. Concern Troll: People who post offensive and hurtful comments, while pretending to be helpful and supportive.
  17. Content: Information delivered in any format, whether text, images, videos or podcasts.
  18. Content Aggregator: A software or web application which collects, combines and publishes a range of syndicated web content (such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts and video blogs). Software or web application which collects all the syndicated web content (whether news headlines, blogs, videos or podcasts), combines it and publishes it.
  19. Content Communities: Any site which promotes the sharing of multimedia content, whether images, video or music, in an organized and searchable way. They encourage comments and support. YouTube or Pinterest would be some examples.
  20. Content Farms: These farms generate a high quantity of low quality content to be posted online with the sole intent of ranking high on internet searches..
  21. Content Strategist: Internet content can be written, or be audio or video content. The content strategist plans this shared content, keeping a brand’s objectives and goals in mind. The aim is to bring in additional audiences by engaging with a set of online influencers and growing a specific set of targeted audience.
  22. Covert Attack Blog: Blog owners pretend to be someone else, and create content which damages their reputation.
  23. Crisis Management: As social media presence becomes mandatory, organizations as well as individuals find them facing some crisis or the other, which could mar their reputation. It’s essential to turn the tide with immediate, confident and flexible reactions which reach as many people as possible, while keeping all the stakeholders in the loop.
  24. Digital Assets: The term describes online images, multimedia and textual content files.
  25. Digital Footprint: All the digital information left online by a person, on account of their activities online.
  26. Digital War Room: Digital marketers are seeking to monitor and manage their customer’s entire journey, track and measure customer behavior to derive actionable insights to support their sales efforts. Digital war rooms are usually managed by proactive cross-domain teams, which are well-informed, responsive, and geared to take collaborative decisions transcending the silos.
  27. Domain/Cyber Squatting: People register a domain using other people’s trademarked or brand names, planning to profit from selling it at an inflated price to the original owner of the name.
  28. Doxxing: Doxxing describes the hacking of a person’s personal and financial information, using online tools across various sites, with a malicious intent. The information is just dumped for public consumption online for anyone to see.
  29. EdgeRank: Refers to a tool used by Facebook based on algorithms which manages the updates, posts, photos and other information shown on a person’s Facebook news feed.
  30. Ewom: Stands for ‘Electronic Word of Mouth’. Trust-based opinions based on opinions, recommendations and reviews which are posted online aimed at generating awareness and new business in the process. It’s important to have the content which is supported by known and credible sources.
  31. Faceplant: A digital act of falling flat on one’s face is when someone unintentionally damages their own reputation by reacting in an aggressive or negative way on insignificant topics.
  32. Forum: An online site which enables its users to ask questions, provide answers and receive feedback in a group.
  33. Hate Sites: Both companies and public figures fall prey to hate sites which are ad-hoc websites which carry insults, false information, negative opinion/reviews which masquerade as the truth, using even illegal content.
  34. Identity Assault: Someone impersonates the victim and launches an attack on the credibility and reputation of the victim.
  35. Identity Confusion: A person with a clean personal record may still suffer on account of someone else, whose criminal activities, inappropriate photographs and improper social media activities appear on an Internet search with their name.
  36. In-depth Sentiment: A truly comprehensive understanding for how people feel about your brand, using their online behavior and activities.
  37. Influencer: These are key persons who drive a brand’s message to the larger market. Many brands are focusing on inspiring (and even hiring and paying) influencers to convey their message to a larger group of consumers.
  38. Influence Score: Social scoring metrics of an individual help us to determine the reach and ability of an influencer to exert a strong social influence and to convey their message to a larger audience on topics of interest to us. Brands use algorithms to spot relevant influencers for their context, catch their eye and establish credibility to seek collaboration and convert them to brand ambassadors, in a rather difficult and time-consuming effort.
  39. Influencer’s Proximity Scoring: Proximity scoring an influencer helps a brand to avoid such mistakes and engage right with the influencer. When trying to roll out the best engagement strategy for an influence, it is also necessary to establish their proximity to our brand. Really important influencers need to have access to targeted content which gives them an insider’s view into developments concerning your brand, instead of sharing standard, run-of-the-mill news with them.
  40. Knowledge Graph: The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google and its services to enhance its search engine’s results with information gathered from a variety of sources. The information is presented to users in an information box next to the search results.
  41. Lack of Information: If an internet search for you brings up no information, that would also make you appear untrustworthy and inexperienced. It could also be an invitation to people to spread negative information about you, if they feel like it.
  42. Libel: A permanent and public record of defamation in the form of a written word.
  43. Link: Also known as a hyperlink, a link instantly redirects a visitor to another URL/website or a section of a different Web site. A site’s page rank on Google (and other) searches is influenced by the number of ‘inbound’ links pointing to it, and the quality of the sites they are linking from.
  44. Link Farms: These are websites, offering an indiscriminate number of outbound links, with the sole purpose of increasing the page rank of other sites. Most search engines penalize sites connected to link farms.
  45. Link Bait: This is a marketing technique, aimed at increasing a website’s popularity by providing content which entices visitors to include a link to the website at their own sites.
  46. Media Monitoring: Media monitoring is a process of using social media channels to track, gather and mine the information and data of certain individuals or groups, usually companies or organizations, to assess their reputation and discern how they are perceived online.
  47. Media Tracking: Any social media marketing effort needs to be tracked and measured to make sure that one can retain relationships with one’s clients and reap positive results from one’s marketing efforts.
  48. Monitoring Specialist: This person specializes in listening to online conversations and identify relevant ones so as to tap into the most pertinent and important conversations.
  49. Multimedia Content: When more than one media (like text, images, videos or podcasts) are used to deliver content, it’s called multimedia content.
  50. Namespace: The name of a person or company online which acts as a unique identifier, without ambiguity, even when objects having different origins but the same name are mixed together.
  51. Negative Reviews: Negative reviews online make life hard for products and services, as customers visit the sites for information as a part of their purchasing journey. Many review sites facilitate this, but the problem comes when competitors fake the reviews of a good brand.
  52. Online Audit: This is a review of the online presence of a person or company, which takes their complete digital footprint and online actions into account to determine their online reputation
  53. Online Communities: Also known as virtual communities these are social networks which enable people to communicate online.
  54. Online Image: While all relevant content can make or mar someone’s reputation online, a company or person will find their image being decided by the top results which appear on any search engine.
  55. Online Monitoring: These days, persons and businesses alike are intentionally and consciously scanning all the information and online developments which mention their name, in real-time. Such alertness and awareness help them to address any issues in time and fix them without delay, before the damage spreads onward with more people sharing the information onward.
  56. Online Privacy: Internet Privacy enables individuals to control the flow of information and have reasonable access to data generated during a browsing session.
  57. Online Reputation Management: It’s the act of proactively establishing, improving and monitoring the publicly available online information about a business or individual, using online interaction strategies which ensure that they stay untarnished. Design and manage your information online across online channels and search engines, as an assured way of establishing long term relationships with one’s online contacts and clients.
  58. Page Rank: This is the rank a search engine (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.) assigns to a particular website. It basically determines how far up or down a site will appear on that search engine’s result pages. It’s decided using a complex algorithm and is never static.
  59. Reputation: Reputation is a user’s perception of a brand as well as the stories written about the brand by media. Whether through online content, or offline encounters, this reputation is built by them based on their personal experience over these interactions.
  60. Review Sites: Review sites are where users express their opinion on your brand and their experience with your brand and product. Positive reviews help your sales, while negative ones could hurt it really hard, if the review appears to be credible and well-reasoned.
  61. Scraping: This is a way to extract information (often personal) from all available online sources using bots.
  62. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This describes a scientific and strategic approach when designing a Web site, based on the role played by keywords in deciding a website’s page rank, so that it gains a higher page rank and attracts more new visitors as a result.
  63. Sentiment Analysis: A tool that’s programmed to track and analyze whether commenters are expressing positive or negative opinions, thoughts and feelings. Sentiment analysis is usually performed by people, but artificial intelligence-based tools are being perfected in an attempt to sense sentiments across large amounts of data.
  64. SEO-optimized: Website or page which is designed to be accessible to search engines to improve the chances for that website to be found and ranked by search engines.
  65. Shame Famers: Some people actually court shame to enjoy the spotlight it throws on them. Many times, this tends to inflict potential collateral damage on people around them.
  66. Silent Slashes: Agencies are tasked with silently damaging someone’s reputation in a stealthy and anonymous attack, which usually will get noticed only after the damage is done and the pain is inflicted.
  67. Slander: Defaming someone and damaging their reputation through the use of a spoken word in public.
  68. Social CRM: If CRM is customer relationship management. Social CRM is the management of customer relationship using social media services, techniques and technology to enable organizations to engage with their customers.
  69. Social Listening: Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying everything that is said about a company, individual, product or brand on the Internet. This is being done using social listening tools, and to assess what is being said and responding appropriately, and in time (which is of the essence in any social media monitoring effort).
  70. Social Media: Using a variety of platforms, including blogs, forums and Twitter, to encourage online communication between people, which usually exerts a very powerful influence on marketing efforts.
  71. Social Media Crisis: A social media crisis is an event which can have a negative effect on a brand’s, company’s, or individual’s reputation. There are many ways to control its occurrence. Individuals must exercise restraint in their public statements and opinions. Organizations must take the time and effort to clearly communicate the organization’s persona and social media guidelines to all employees who represent them on social media channels.
  72. Social Media Measurement: Social media measurement gathers and analyzes data from different websites to derive different metrics like time spent on the page, click through rate, content share, comments, text analytics to identify positive or negative emotions about the brand. These in turn help to compute the popularity of a brand, individual or company and determine its success in its use of social media.
  73. Social Media War Room: A social media war room is an essential part of an organized social media marketing tactic. Many organizations have a team of 10 or more social media activists to share a message or campaign with targeted groups, demographics or media segments, almost as a campaign of war to defend a pressing issue. This may be to launch a new product or service, combat negative review or create a buzz about a specific topic. It is considered successful only if there is a substantial increase in content sharing, fans, likes, followers and website traffic.
  74. Social Network: The network of individuals, businesses or profiles which keeps people connected through a given social media platform, like LinkedIn or Twitter
  75. Social Network Aggregation: Services which pull in information from various social networking sites to compile and aggregate them all in one place. This can be done by logging into just one account and accessing all updates from different sited at one time.
  76. Social Networking Sites: Sites which are designed for people to connect and network with each other. Each individual is allotted a profile page, which they can set up, and upload information to, like their personal or contact details, photos, interests or other characteristics.
  77. Social Proofs: When a piece of content is read, liked or shared by more people, it is supposed to be proven more trustworthy, reliable or credible.
  78. Social Strategist: They plan and maximize their clients’ online activities between social networking sites, aligning them to their business goals by crafting their online image suitably.
  79. Sock Puppet: An email or social media account which is set up only to publish fake online content.
  80. Strawman: A fake person or entity online, created to manipulate search engine results and to promote an entity better over another entity in search results by manipulating and engineering the search results.
  81. Transparency: Legitimate and scrupulous transactions with openness and sincerity in online communications.
  82. Troll: Trolls create the seeds of discord on the Internet, with their posts and messages which are deliberately inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic in an online community.
  83. Truth Remix: A truth which gets distorted and molded to support a different purpose, often negative (such as a mistake or shortcoming). The remix creates a ‘seeming truth’ which falls into a grey area, and can neither be accepted nor refuted.
  84. Unprofessional Content/Photos/Videos: Unprofessional/compromising photos come in all forms and posting them online is a sure way to damage one’s reputation. Whether posted to a friend’s social media profile, leaked to the media, or scraped by a mugshot website, such unflattering photos and videos appearing in an online image search might cost you your job or business. It is not always possible to remove such images from the online resource, unless they are clearly considered to be a violation of the site’s guidelines.
  85. Viral Media: Content which gains significant and rapid visibility from new viewers mainly through publicity offered by word-of-mouth referrals and sharing on social media.
  86. White Hat SEO: Search engine optimization techniques which are ethical and which involve no deception.
  87. Zombie: When a computing device is infiltrated and controlled by a third party software, which monitors all the activity taking place without it’s owner’s knowledge.

This list is by no means exhaustive, given the dynamic way the field of digital marketing is growing. Do let us know if you want us to make any additions.