Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Michael Fertik, the founder of Reputation.com, helps businesses and people manage their online reputation. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg News
David Paul Morris
Michael Fertik, the founder of Reputation.com, helps businesses and people manage their online reputation. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg News

Form an identity and then take ownership

The Life: Michael Fertik has spent a lot of time considering the importance of reputation in the digital age. He is the founder of a company called Reputation.com and his book, The Reputation Economy, is scheduled to be released next year.

As well as formulating a theory about "venture countries", Michael Fertik has spent a lot of time considering the importance of reputation in the digital age. He is the founder of a company called Reputation.com, which helps people and businesses to manage their online reputation. His book, The Reputation Economy, is scheduled to be released next year.

What is the book's premise?

The concept is that everyone has a reputation [that can be used] as a form of currency. There is now enough information freely available on the internet that we can begin to mine it and assess it and attach a value to it. By scoring everything, you can start to trade reputation.

Why has reputation become so important now?

Reputation is definable at a massive scale because of the internet. For the first time - maybe about five years ago - it became cheaper to store something forever than it did to erase it. Second, the cost of publishing something became nearly zero. Third, the cost of searching has become basically zero - so you can publish something, store it forever and find it forever. And then, relatedly, a fourth trend is the set of analytic tools that are now available [which] hasn't really yet reached the public consciousness [but] that will have a massive impact.

What accounts for your preoccupation with reputation?

We've all been opted into the machine without our knowing it - the internet. Data is being collected without our knowledge by people we can't identify for purposes we don't know. The data [may not represent] what we intended when we developed it or be the best version of ourselves. All this is subject to very substantial mishandling by anonymous third parties. I felt really bad about that and wanted to do something about it. You've got to put up or shut up. I couldn't just keep talking about it.

Would you say online reputational assaults are becoming increasingly difficult to handle?

Until about two-and-a-half years ago, I used to say you could have a hand in your own reputation online [but] the problem has become too complicated technically.

I understand there are some things every business should do to protect its online reputation.

Yes. One: you should have a media presence and it should be populated. Your social media presence first and foremost should be closely aligned with the brand. So if you have a car distributorship in the UAE, the Twitter handle should be the name of the distributorship and not some pop star's name. Two: you should have digital real estate. If you are not listed, make sure you are listed. Three: you should have some kind of narrative feature like a Tumblr or blog and you should have it populated. Once a week or once every two weeks is enough. It should be multimedia - not just text but also a photo. But this is absolutely not enough. Now you need professional help.

lgutcher@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National