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Project Bloodhound: Online Reputation Management: “It’s in the Google”

Incubating, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
Etymology: Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare, from in- + cubare to lie
transitive verb
1 a: to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the body b: to maintain (as an embryo or a chemically active system) under conditions favorable for hatching, development, or reaction
2: to cause or aid the development of intransitive verb

One of the sessions I went to at Blog World was “Taking Smart Risks with Your Online Personality”, with Alex Hillman and Jake McKee. Being on the Bloodhound Blog I figured it would come in handy, right?

The session went well, solidified some things I knew and clarified a few things I had an inkling about. I didn’t have any epiphanies during the session, but one phrase wormed it’s way into the deeper crevices of my brain and began to incubate: “It’s in the Google”.

Hillman, if I remember correctly, was quoting his father’s insights into the far reaches and lasting legacy of everything we do online. Everything we do online is “in the Google”. Everything. For better or worse, it’s all out there for someone to find. That’s obvious, you say. Perhaps, but “it’s in the Google” has been incubating in the warm gray matter ever since, and late last night I Googled myself. And then I Yahoo’d myself (no comments from the Peanut Gallery). And then, while I was sleeping, “it’s in the Google” bumped into Kelley Koehler’s advice to “Win the small battles. Go niche”, and then it shook hands with an unfortunate situation for a dear friend who is unable to comment on this blog because Akismet eats everything he writes, and when I woke up, those thoughts had joined forces.

What’s in the Google for me? Stuff, stuff, and more stuff- some good, some bad, some ugly. I’d like to do away with the bad and ugly, or at least bury it, but what if I made the good even better? I noticed that there are quite a few comments that are coughed up from the Google, and I’d like to do a better job of managing those. So here’s my idea, and I’m wondering if anyone else is doing this: Really using the power of leaving a comment, not just to leave a witty and insightful comment, not only to leave a url, but to leave a url to a landing page, to a category, depending on the topic of the post. Just to make this clear, I’m not talking about leaving a link in the comment, but leaving a specific page in the url field.

What if I was truly thoughtful about this, so when I commented on a Dayton blog, on a post asking how Realtors come up with a listing price, I left the url of my Selling a Home in Dayton category instead of just my home page? What if, when I leave a comment on a Dayton blog, on a post discussing something cool going on in Dayton, I left a url to my Things to do in Dayton category? Wouldn’t it be more useful to someone clicking over? Could I win a small battle? Go niche? I could send people to a flickr account, if appropriate, or one of my multiple twitter personas. When commenting on a blog here, in the RE.net, I could send people to my Bloodhound archive, or my BHB subscription page…

This has never occurred to me before, but I wonder if this idea is fully incubated. Would it be more useful to a reader, or is this poor online etiquette? Anyone else doing this? Everyone else doing this? Any results you’d like to share?

Related posts:
  • The Latest Project Bloodhound – Need for Speed Edition
  • Carolyn Capalbo – a REALTOR needs our help
  • Online Reputation Management for Realtors (and everyone else for that matter)

  • 15 comments

    15 Comments so far

    1. Cheryl Johnson September 25th, 2008 7:05 am

      It could be said I am a reader and a learner much more often than I am a writer or a teacher. I ‘spose that could be said of all of us. So how does it seem to ~you~ when ~you~ are the reader?

      When I am the reader and I come across blatant marketeering, I am gone in a hurry.

      If, on the other hand, the writer is offering useful, pertinent information, then I appreciate the link out to further reading,,,

    2. Todd September 25th, 2008 7:13 am

      Including explicit URLs in comments is just fine, but there are a couple of barriers;

      Here at Bloodhound, including more than one URL gets your comment flagged for approval, and not posted. I am not criticizing Mr. Swann, I am sure he has why better things to do, like sell real estate, but often by the time a comment is approved the thread has long since ended.

      Another issue is with those really loooooong, poorly formed URLs some web site generate. I won’t provide an example, but you have seen them. They are utter nonsense, several hundred characters long. These non- RESTful URLs often break and become un-clickable.

      Which leads us to URL shortener services for the above mentioned long URLs. URL shortener are great, but then “etiquette” comes into play. A shortened, masked URL, is risky in that I may end up at some Not Safe For Work web site. To address this, check out the ‘preview’ feature at tinyurl dot com. It allows you to generate a shortend URL for your comment that takes the user to rinyurl’s website and view the long version before going there…

      …I would consider that “polite”.

    3. Teri Lussier September 25th, 2008 7:15 am

      Cheryl-

      That’s what I’m thinking. If it’s done well, not left in the comment, but in the url field, then it’s not obnoxious, is it? I don’t know.

      I always roll over the names to read the link. Hmm.

      And besides, big shiny buttons! Lots o’ calls to action! Does subtly make the damn phone ring? I don’t know… Ruminating…

      Have you tried it? Have you seen it done?

    4. Teri Lussier September 25th, 2008 7:24 am

      Todd-

      Great input as always- thank you.

      I use the short urls so I hadn’t considered the issues those cumbersome urls would bring up, but that’s valid.

      So this wouldn’t offend you, under the right circumstances? Good to know. I’d hate to be a pariah in my market because I breached some online etiquette of which I was unaware.

      I’m not impressed with “HomesForYouInTimbuktu” as a name, to me that’s not polite, but that’s considered acceptable by most, right?

      Still ruminating…

    5. Todd September 25th, 2008 7:54 am

      @Teri Lussier

      I would never take offense to the inclusion of a well form or shortened URL cited in a comment so long as it is hyper-focused on the context of what is being discussed…in fact I would expect it.

    6. Mariana Wagner September 25th, 2008 7:57 am

      Teri – This is a great way to look at niching yourself in the blogosphere. Often, I will leave a different URL for different posts – depending if I am leaving a consumer-based comment or an agent-based comment.
      I am working on weaving online reputation, niche marketing and SEO, so will be referencing this post in one of my future classes. (Thanks for doing my work for me!)

    7. Teri Lussier September 25th, 2008 8:16 am

      Todd-

      I understand what you are saying. To use a link to support a point is useful. I guess I’m thinking of the nasty habit of Realtors leaving a useless comment, then slapping down a link with “Go here for some great advice on buying a home in Timbuktu!” Happens frequently elsewhere.

    8. Teri Lussier September 25th, 2008 8:18 am

      Mariana-

      :-D

      Do you use a specific landing page url, or just different blog urls?

    9. Scott Nelson September 25th, 2008 10:01 am

      I purchased the Bloodhound Unchained DVD’s recently. They sat on my to do list for a few weeks but now I’m working my way through them and Greg talked about that in the first section of the first disc. I agree if you have a relevant post on your website/blog a link would be a great way to benefit both the conversation your adding to as well as helping your own site.

    10. Teri Lussier September 25th, 2008 12:19 pm

      Scott-

      My copies have been sitting as well. Thanks for the nudge. :-)

    11. Todd Carpenter September 25th, 2008 12:33 pm

      Teri, Use different url’s in the link to my name for different purposes. Most of them are my different blogs. Sometimes it’s something special. See above.

      In my view, the link in the name is a thank you from the blog host for commenting. It can be anything. Links in the body of the text though, should apply specifically to addressing the subject at hand. Most of the links I’ve provided in the comment field are to sites other than my own.

    12. Teri Lussier September 25th, 2008 2:58 pm

      Todd-

      Punk. ;-)

    13. Heather Rankin September 26th, 2008 9:26 pm

      Teri – I had been thinking about this a month or so ago. On a Utah blog there was a rather entertaining post about the lovely liquor laws of our great state. I had just written about something along the same lines, so posted it in the name link.

      I agree with Todd C. the link in the name section is sort of open, but would hate to see people start abusing that. In the body tho, on topic is a must.

      Results? Too early, and too few for me to tell if it did any good, but still watching.

    14. Teri Lussier September 27th, 2008 7:57 am

      Hi Heather-

      Thanks for the input. I will give it a try, avoiding the Todd C. trick or treats.

    15. Heather Rankin September 27th, 2008 9:04 am

      Gotta admit tho, it was funny. I was grinning ( well actually laughing) Thanks Todd :-)