There is a growing debate over whether the practice of online reputation management is ethical. Recently there has been controversy over people posting fake reviews on TripAdvisor and other review websites. Online reputation management agency “Reputation 24/7” is one of the companies that has been blamed for using these unethical tactics among other things. The companies’ founder denied that they use unethical strategies saying “we do offer 'brand ambassador work' and employ teams of content writers to try to bury bad publicity on the Internet, anything else is pure speculation." His company uses SEO technology and other content "dilution techniques" to help clients improve their online reputation by hiding damaging stories and promoting positive ones. “What we do is totally ethical and is a new twist on marketing and is becoming an integral part of companies' marketing and brand campaigns," he said.
Is this type of online reputation management unethical, or is it simply the next step in digital marketing strategy?