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How NOT to Build Reputation

Posted at Jul 28, 2008 2:34:55 PM by Bill Teubner | Share

In an ideal and alternate universe, fame, popularity, influence, the size of your "carbon footprint", are all a product of what you do, not who you do know. And with the big lean on reputation management, it's essential that the name a SEOlebrity makes for him or herself is one earned.

In a scene from 'The Weatherman', Nicholas Cage's character, a putzy chi-town weather forecaster, is consoled by his Pulitzer Prize-winning father, played by Michael Caine.

He says, "Nothing that has meaning is easy."

And when that nugget of wisdom is applied to the SEO community, I think we can begin to cull the glass chewers from the glass jaws.

The how-to for making a name for yourself, well, that one is fairly straightforward—offer something no one else can or already has, create, become and integral part of your community, maintain an amiable rapport, become iconic.

But how not to make a name for one's self—there's not an instruction manual for that, until now.

Meet Julia Allison, quintessential fameball and Disney animatron. This former Star-online editor rose up from the dregs of a whimsical Manhattan lifestyle and engineered a fame for herself, one founded on nothing more than showing up to a party in a costume of condoms.

From a surface inspection, it would appear that Allison took the Walt Whitman approach to celebrity-status by fueling her own publicity, but what separates the two is glaring; one had a prowess for creating, the other is simply a lamprey of others' fame and married to the lens of a camera.

Fast-forward nearly two years. Following a botched six-figure position at Star magazine, a handful of appearances on Fox News and CNN, an expose in Wired, and talks of a TV show aptly titled 'IT Girls', there is still nothing, really, to warrant such attention. With any positive press, she attracts twice as much negative. And instead of being proactive about it, managing her reputation, and performing some much-needed damage control, she gets upset.

Present and future SEOlebrities would be wise to use the trainwreck that is Julia Allison's fame as a lesson on how not to earn your reputation. You have to find your niche, be unique, have something brilliant to offer, serve your time, and become endorsed by the community you serve.

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