Reputation Advocate | Out of the Darkness, Into the Light | Reputation Advocate

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light by Steven Wyer, Managing Director of Reputation Advocate

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? ~Maurice Freehill

Darkness vs. light. This has been a metaphor throughout the ages. Darkness describes the shadow side of living while light represents that which is translucent and pure. These word pictures are an accurate reflection of our perception of life for the most part. There can be, however, applications for other aspects of life as well – relationships, culture and even commerce can be cast as shadow and light.

Commerce as shadow and light – now there is a topic worth discussion!

I came to the business of Reputation Advocate not through the usual path of academics or generational fixation. Reputation Advocate was born out of a very pragmatic need; mine. Yes, the first client that Reputation Advocate had who needed search engine reputation management was… me. After a protracted legal battle my online reputation was unbalanced, slandered and it was damaging the rest of my professional and personal credibility. I had come from several decades of success; my clients had been institutions, brand names and regulated entities. Providing service to these types of companies requires radical transparency, anything less will kill your business.

Reputation Advocate evolved after I retained a reputation management company to assist in promoting content that would be a more accurate reflection of who I am – a thirty-five year veteran of service related industries. That began my experience of the shadow side. Now, it’s true that nearly every industry goes through a shadow period, a time when someone with a history of shadows sees an opportunity. Reputation management is no different. I soon learned that there are a number of shadows (both domestic and foreign) that can damage the reputation of an otherwise vibrant emerging sector of business. How ironic!

Most emerging service sectors are birthed as fragmented, undercapitalized endeavors taken on by those with either vision or desperation. Shadows almost always exist in these early efforts. So it’s not surprising that as the owner of Reputation Advocate, I have experienced shadows from competitors, peers and employees. There is good news however; valid businesses can come out of the shadows and into the light…if they choose to. Therein lies the dilemma. Are those who lurk in the gray ready to stand in the light, disclose their true identities, submit to professional evaluations and agree to defined performance that provides protection to the consumer?

I believe that Reputation Advocate and other honest companies are poised to succeed. The need for high quality, honest, and service-based vendors is growing daily. Reputation Advocate offers its services to both individuals and corporate clients. Our clients contract for very specific one-time projects as well as broad annual service agreements.

Reputation Advocate is able to secure these relationships because of transparency – we endeavor to stand in the light. There are several other high quality service providers that have been in business longer than Reputation Advocate. And while age does not necessarily indicate innovation or “best practices”, it is at the very least an indicator of the staying power of this business sector.

In any given week I will receive several calls that are fraudulent, i.e. these callers are not really who they say they are. They are what I call Reputation Advocate “bait” calls. These calls come from competitors deceptively attempting to discover our processes, the structure of Reputation Advocate agreements and Reputation Advocate guarantees.

A decade ago I was part of another emerging business segment. I owned an integrated direct marketing company. A significant portion of our income came from targeted telemarketing. Our clients were big banks and our firm was a dominant force in that narrow vertical. Without fail, we had competitors attempting to discover how, as a newcomer to the industry, we had captured market share. The answer was simple – we stood in the light.

The teleservices industry matured, and solid business practices, financing and integrity penetrated an industry that had started with shadows and pinky rings. As with my business venture then, today Reputation Advocate aspires to a high standard of service. We are not the only ones. There will be other leaders from within the reputation management sector who will step forward.

Together we will organize, define standards of service and chase the shadows away. Snake oil will be replaced with character and our services will become more mainstream. That is what happens when valid business meets genuine need – everything grows in the light. Reputation Advocate welcomes scrutiny and constructive input, believing that this will only serve to make us better. Embracing the light will deliver a bright future for all of those with the courage to move in this direction.


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