The field of Search Engine Optimization, particularly Online Reputation Management, can be a minefield. Because the industry is not regulated, these marketing firms can make claims that are unsubstantiated, charge rates that are unreasonably high, and most importantly, not follow through with promises. This leaves unsuspecting customers down thousands of dollars with nothing to show for. In this article, we will review Reputation Defender (ReputationDefender.com), a prominent player in the online reputation management space.
Who is ReputationDefender?
Reputation Defender is a large ORM firm based in Redwood City, California that was founded in 2006 by Michael Fertik. They are a subsidiary of Reputation.com, both operating independently of each other.
The company has received several large investments. Starting in 2008 with a Series A round & a series D totaling $41 Million in 2011. In 2018, the company was acquired by Stagwell Group.
In 2019, ReputationDefender is prominently advertising their services. You may have seen their TV or heard their Radio Commercials.
With a large budget, this is of course possible. And to the average person in need of online reputation services, this may the company appear like the #1 go-to company in this niche. They are the only company advertising these types of services to the masses.
Let’s get into a few hard truths about the industry, secrets that the large ORM firms like ReputationDefender and Reputation.com will not tell you.
The Challenges of Online Reputation Management
The first item that everyone should understand is that cleaning up an online reputation is far from easy. Each campaign requires an entirely different strategy.
You must also follow Google’s guidelines. Not only that, but the algorithm standards are constantly changing. If the reputation strategy isn’t changing with it, the results will simply not be there.
There is no “cookie-cutter” solution that works for everyone – and the strategies of ORM firms must constantly be updated. This leads us to the second hard truth.
The (Lack of) Desire to Succeed
Ponder this: If these large companies get you the results you desire in say, 3 months, guess what? You stop paying them.
If they could stretch that into 12 months, or even 24 months (knowing well that they could achieve results in less time), wouldn’t they do so?
This appears to be ReputationDefender’s business model. We will get into that below.
A tough pill to swallow, but without industry regulation and the lack of focus on actual results, they will continue to operate this way and make money. Regardless of their actual success in online cleanups.
Reviews of ReputationDefender Online
You would think that a reputation management company would have a great online reputation, right?
Not for ReputationDefender. If you Google “ReputationDefender reviews”, you find these particularly alarming results on the first page:
We hope that, if you are going to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per month for these services that you would research the company first.
Further, you would also think that the company would prioritize having a clean, slick reputation. This begs the question: Do they not care, or do they not know how? Either one is damning.
A Further Look at What People Are Saying
Let’s take a look at these online reviews and what people are saying about the company. From the outside, it looks like people generally do not have good experiences.
Let’s look at Sitejabber.com, where there are three 1-star reviews written by customers. The first one was in 2014. Here is a brief clip from that review:
A year later and not only has the negative site been moved in rankings, but there has been no sign of any work on behalf of ReputationDefender. There is no trace of anything that they could even take credit for as far as any type of promotion to my website regardless to not helping me suppress a bad review.
This was written over 5 years ago and is still easily visible on Google. Makes you think. It doesn’t look like things have improved in 2019. Here is another:
Do not hire Reputation DEFENDER! Absolute JOKE! Paid them $5000 up front and not only are the search results better but worse now. THEIVES!!
“These could just be outliers. They have serviced thousands of customers since 2006.” Well, I am not so sure after reading this next site.
PissedConsumer.com is a popular site that you can easily & anonymously write a review about a company. Customers of ReputationDefender did not hold back here, as they have a 1.5 rating out of 5 over 29 reviews.
Here are a few clips:
As you can see, people wasted upwards of $25,000 and did not receive the results they were promised. Truly awful.
‘PissedConsumer1470099’ has more visibility on Google than ReputationDefender’s (lack of) efforts to have a strong reputation.
This is the last one we will review, that is the most damning of them all. It has over 4k views on the site.
From the review:
After consulting with Reputation Defender over negative listings, I decided to go with another company but started receiving RD’s promotional emails. I had made great progress pushing the links down with the help of another company, but in only a few hours the negative links rocketed to page 1 shortly before receiving offers from Reputation Defender.It took several months to rebuild my reputation, but then coinciding with each email from Reputation Defender, the negative links rocketed back to page 1. Coincidence?
If that is the case, the company is willingly making results worse so they can get your business. It makes us at Universal Business Reputation sick to our stomach. We pride ourselves on getting great results and helping people in tough online situations.
Furthermore, it appears that this company, as well as reputation.com, do not care about your results. They care about your money.
Recommendations if You Go With ReputationDefender
We understand that many people choose ReputationDefender to help their online issues. After reading the reviews above that may change.
However, If you decide to give them a shot to clean up your reputation, here are tips to make sure you are getting your money’s worth:
Ask them about their major strategies.
If they don’t have custom strategies ready for your campaign, they likely are not working in your best interest.
Ask them how Google has changed recently.
Google is constantly changing & updating their algorithms. Each year, reputation strategy must be changing to keep up. If they have no answers, they are likely not working in your best interest.
Ask how often they succeed for clients. And if needed, point them to this article that exposes their obvious lack of success.
Try Us Out
The Universal Business Reputation brand was built in response to the scammy, unwavering nature of the online reputation industry. Having spent thousands of hours crafting successful reputation campaigns, we set out to be the difference-maker. Transparency, affordability, and most importantly, honesty sets us apart from these large firms.
We would be happy to help your online situation – with no contracts, at a fair month-to-month price. Our technical team takes pride in succeeding in these campaigns. Without 12-month, 24-month contracts, our business model is based on results.
Contact us today for a free analysis. Thank you for reading, and remember to share this with anyone you know who has considered using ReputationDefender for their online reputation.