Ignoring online voices can cost you
Several years ago I worked in the games industry. At that time, the company I worked for produced a game for US national product launch. In anticipation of the product launch the company wished to get good press and generate buzz in the industry; so we sent free copies to trade magazines as well as online e-zines for product reviews.
The reviews ranged from overwhelmingly positive to absolutely scathing but on the balance were somewhat good. The worst review we received was from a little known online e-zine and we decided that we should tackle that review.
The company met about the bad review. Ultimately the product manager decided that because it was from a small e-zine site that did not have a strong reputation in the industry that we should ignore the review.
It has been over a decade since I worked for that company and a few weeks ago a friend of mine asked about the game we produced. I told her about it and she went online that evening to see if she could find some reviews on the game.
The only review she could find was the bad one.
Of the good reviews none were available online. Those reviews had either only been published in print or due to the passage of time the online links to the reviews had all broken. There was no record of a single good review for our product.The Lesson
This story shows the importance of protecting your reviews yourself and ultimately your brand. Any time you company received a positive press story or review you should ask the writer for permission to link to it on your website and to publish an exact copy of it yourself. This ensures that even if the publisher goes out of business or redesigns their website later (breaking all the links) that you will still have a way to show your product in a positive light and not be beholden to a bizarre search engine result.
- Get permission from article publishers or reviewers to link to the article on your own site.
- Get permission to host the article on your own site.
- Make sure the article is kept in a format that is searchable to the search engines. If it is a print article do not scan it in as an image. Make sure it is a searchable PDF or html page at the very least.
- Never disregard a small online e-zine even if they don’t have a great reputation. They may outlast your company in the end.