NEW MEDIA is spinning out of control...

Where in the whirl are you?

What is the Whirl®?


The Whirl® is the dizzying cacophony of technologies from SEO to SMS and PPC to SEM and all of the latest trending technologies, social delivery systems, apps, appliances, sites, applications, fads and farces in between.


So how do you make sense of where you need to marshal your efforts (and budget)? Don't be surprised to find out you don’t need to be as technologically spread out as the landscape would have you believe.


For the same reasons that Boeing doesn't need commercials running on Hip Hop Radio stations, you may find you don't need (or more aptly) simply can't use, certain new media delivery systems. It’s one thing for Amazon to strive for omnipresence... but does Lockheed-Martin really need to launch an app for ordering jet fighters from a smart phone?


We stop the Whirl®. We reach into the Whirl and look objectively at what each media offers and what it can and can’t do for you.


Let’s talk. Set up an appointment today: TheWhirl@CarlTDesign.com




The Reviewniverse®
By Carl Tramontozzi


In My Humble Opinion

is an industry opinion area.
Articles are the author's opinion, based on experience, analytics, industry supported articles and empirical studies
from the digital trenches.


(And sometimes,
a little humor).

In 1995, I became aware of Angie's List, a newsletter with the simple mission of providing contractor reviews to homeowners. In 1999, Angie's List migrated to the Internet, the same year, Epinions (a peer product review site) launched. Both gained a portentous foothold. Since then, many forums where consumers can critique businesses with impunity have emerged. With so much potential for abuse, I kept a guarded eye on the emerging review industry. In 2004, Yelp launched and as it grew, it's practices illustrated every abuse the industry feared possible. The Federal Trade Commision has received over 2,000 Yelp complaints since 2008 (commonly making allegations of extortion). To be clear, not all review forums are corrupt, but as long as an entity has the ability to ruin livelihoods without the accuser having ANY skin in the game, all businesses must be vigilant and ready to act. In 2010, I coined the term; "The Reviewniverse®:" Much like our heavenly universe, it is a great void, ill defined with unknown boundaries, subject to theoretical interpretation. If you can understand how the Reviewniverse pertains to you, you can master it.


I urge my clients to pay close attention to and have a durable strategy set up - for handling their on-line reviews. Some of you reading this aren't even aware that there are active reviews critiquing your brand in public forums as we speak! On-line reviews can play a crucial role in generating revenue, but ignoring bad reviews can do irreparable damage to your brand. The PR service spin-off of Reputation Management was born to contain scandals. Now, Reputation Management spends as much time putting out fires in the Reviewniverse.


IMHO, an even playing field for businesses and consumers would be a great development. The Better Business Bureau was your best bet in the pre-internet era but its efficacy skewed unintentionally in business' favor. Today, consumers have never wielded more power, but the playing field has tipped way too far and way too fast in favor of the consumer. Normally complacent patrons, suddenly find themselves empowered. Unfortunately, in too many instances, these folks are easily tempted by the power of anonymity. Yes, the same anonymity that emboldens middle-school bullies and on-line sports blog trolls, has a similar effect on otherwise sophisticated adults. Only now, they may genuinely feel it is their responsibility to warn others of the ordeal they had to endure. Any perceived injustice, no matter how slight, has a forum in which to be expressed. Here, the author is under pressure to not appear petty. Unfortunately, this can lead to embellishment of the truth (e.g. a restaurant complaint may escalate from, "the soup was cold" to "the soup was cold, the staff was rude and the prices were criminal") and what's worse, the review has an eager audience willing to listen and share. Of course, not all bad reviews are embellished, but IMHO most "negative reviews" would be a lot more fair if their authors had to use their real identities. While this blanket of anonymity emboldens, businesses are afforded no such comfort.


The good news is that there are proven ways to pro-actively generate positive reviews as well as mitigate the bad actors of the Reviewniverse. There are many methods of parsing useful comments (read: reasonable input) and turning them into actionable improvements... and in worst case scenarios, the unreasonable can be countered with legal action. Before it comes to that, have your official review policy ready and be prepared to support it faithfully.


Do you have an on-line review strategy articulated? Master the Reviewniverse.

Set up a consultation at: TheWhirl@CarlTDesign.com