Elixir Interactive has finally released the results of a ground-breaking case study which carefully documents an ongoing attack against our brand. “Brands Under Attack: Elixir Interactive Online Reputation Management Case Study” details the methodical campaign employed by an anonymous company or individual and designed to populate the search engine results for Elixir’s brand search terms with fictitious reviews and complaints. The case study represents months of analysis and research going back to the first false complaints filed against Elixir in early 2010.
Online Reputation Management companies had been defending themselves against an organized campaign of false complaints since September 2009, if not longer. When the first bogus claims against Elixir first appeared, the company decided to investigate the strategies being used and record the steps taken to protect the results for brand-related keywords. A post on CEO Fionn Downhill’s blog detailing analysis of the initial attack may have sparked an even more vicious attack on Downhill’s personal brand (see “Elixir Interactive CEO Online Reputation Management Case Study”) as well as motivated the attacker to continue to strike against the main Elixir brand.
The anonymity provided by complaint sites allows anyone, even unethical competitors, to post false and slanderous reviews against a company or individual without proof or fear of retribution. An SEO-savvy attacker, such as the one assailing Elixir Interactive, can utilize black hat linking strategies to get those complaints to rank high in the search engines – and stay ranked.
Because Elixir has years of experience assisting other companies and individuals protect their online reputation, there were already strong assets in place that made it more difficult for the attacker to gain traction in the results. By taking careful steps to 1)answer some of the complaints and solicit complaint sites to remove fictitious reviews, 2) fortifying the digital assets that already ranked, and 3) generating new pages such as press releases and event announcements, Elixir has been able to successfully defend against the relentless methods used to damage their online reputation.
“Brands Under Attack” serves as both a warning and a solution to the dangers faced by anyone with an online reputation to protect. It explains how complaint sites profit from the reviews posted on their sites and how current laws shield them from responsibility, giving them no reason to care if reports are padded or outright slander.