The advent of social media has opened the doors to anyone and everyone with a computer to become a part of the conversation- business practices have become more transparent, marketing strategies have been shared publicly and a new networking vehicle was born. An advantage of the television and newspaper media is that for the most part, to get your voice heard, you have to fork over money and there’s a paper trail of who you are- not so with the Internet. Many shady things go on when online from flaming to downright dirty tricks.
This article was first published here on April 02, 2008.
Believe it or not, in college I took a class about Internet behavior and on day one, the professor confirmed (less directly than the graphic below):
Behaviors that I have personally witnessed online range from:
- passively antagonistic comments by competitors (don’t we all have one of those floating around our blogs? If not, you’ll get one soon!)
- flaming comments, baiting behavior, etc.
- nasty blog posts about you
- competitors leaving nasty comments anonymously on blogs (people, remember that the administrator can see your IP address and compare it to other comments you’ve left- not smart)
- blacklisting your email address so all your emails bounce
- creating fake usernames across the web with your email address
- flat out impersonating you
- studying your marketing and copying it then badmouthing you
The best way to get ahead of your online competition is NOT in an underhanded way, it is by working hard to be being a leader and raising the bar with your own marketing efforts. Most of the time, your hostility is not as anonymous as you believe it to be. Chances are that your defamation efforts are actually destructing your own reputation… there’s nothing illegal about local competitors coming here to the national stage and being under-the-radar ugly but people should be careful not to defame others through slanderous statements or acts (such as submitting your competitor’s email to porn sites).
The Internet is a wonderful marketing tool but can also be a shark pool where hostility infects those within- what has your experience been since you jumped in?