Introduction – what is e-reputation?
E-reputation is the reputation of a natural person (even under a pseudonym), of a legal entity (e.g. a company or a public body) and/or its products and services on the Internet. It represents the image that web users have thereof.
It depends on several factors, from the quality of the product to the acts carried out by the person or entity. The key factor for influencing one’s e-reputation is communication.
In this respect, the e-reputation of a company is based on several kinds of communication:
- communication stemming from the company itself (‘owned media’, e.g. press releases on the company’s website),
- communication stemming from third parties at the request of the company and against payment (‘paid media’, e.g. ad banners on the website of a third party) and
- ‘free’ communication by third parties (‘earned media’, e.g. client comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.).
In a world where the Internet makes communication global, instantaneous and often permanent, a company must carefully control its own communication and manage communication stemming from third parties.
A company’s e-reputation turns out to be both a marketing matter and a legal matter. Throughout its presence on the Internet, it is essential for the company both to build (and maintain) its e-reputation and to defend it if necessary.
One’s e-reputation can be built and lost rapidly, [Note: This is especially true of companies that have yet to prove their worth in ‘real life’.] as shown throughout the website through the fictitious example of Janssens-Quidam SA/NV, a company under Belgian law.