Corporate Online Reputation Management

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24 million Zappos accounts were accessed when the eTailer’s site was hacked on Monday.

THOUGHT: Zappos’ reputation took a hit this week when the site was hacked and 24 million of their customers accounts were accessed.

Whether or not the damage is lasting remains to be seen but I suspect it will be short-lived. It is not necessarily the fact that you have a crisis that’s most important, it is how you respond.

BP executive Tony Hayward responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe by complaining that he wanted his life back. Didn’t work out so well for him.

Zappos, on the other hand, has responded to being hacked by letting people know that fact, explaining the details of the incident (your credit card information was not breached), and saying what they were doing about it.

When news of the hack broke on Monday, searches for Zappos spiked through the roof as people searched to learn more about what they needed to know. Related searches included Zappos Breach, Zappos Password, and Zappos Security.

Search for Zappos Security and you’ll find a Zappos blog post that includes the contents of an email sent to customers that details the incident and includes instructions for changing passwords.

Everyone understands that websites get hacked. What they expect is for companies to have stringent security practices in place to protect their data and if they are hacked, they expect to know what the company is doing about it.

Zappos responded appropriately.

I’m afraid that too few organizations have reputation management policies and practices in place. I suspect many companies have crisis communication plans in place but I’ll bet a lot of them don’t fully account for how information travels through social and search.

The basics for any online reputation management plan should include a thoughtful monitoring system, a rapid-response content distribution mechanism (ideally, a blog), search engine optimization practices that account for reputation management and crisis communications, and active social channels and widespread social sharing implementation.


KEYWORD WEDNESDAY: Zappos was the 20th most popular search term at Google on Tuesday.



Thank you for fascination.



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