Last August, I had a brilliant idea. I rarely call my own ideas brilliant, but I think that this one will be truly revolutionary for online public relations and reputation management. I call it the “TruV1ew 1ndex”, after one of my company’s two main products.

A little background: I work for Vis. Tech. on the TruV1ew team as a business analyst. We control the top 20 search results for client keywords and charge a hefty fee to do so. For example, if Jon Stewart or Chevron came to us and wanted to ensure that positive, up-to-date and relevant information filled the top twenty search results across the 4 major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL) for their brand names, we could take care of it for them. It’s a mix of search engine optimization and public relations work; techie marketing.

My idea was for the quantitatively tracking over time of how your reputation looks online- sort of a combination of the Gallup polls and Nielsen ratings. Basically, my prime goal is to create the industry standard for effectively and efficiently measuring an entities reputation in the search engines. My first problem was considering our current way of tracking search reputation- we just tracked the total number of positives, negatives and unrelateds across the four search engines. This does not work at all because it is obvious that holding the #1 result on Google is far and away more important than holding the #20 result on AOL, but we weighted each equally. Another problem was our method of rating each article- we only had options to rate it positive, negative or unrelated. Yet another issue is that we didn’t take into account the market share each search engine held, nor the importance of each individual keyword to a client (some clients give us keywords that are more important to them then others).

My system will basically fix all of these issues and give V1s1ble a far deeper understanding of how the search engine results break down (we are constantly trying to reverse engineer the engines to understand how to promote positive content). I have built an algorithm that will take into account the weighting of the search result rankings using data derived from recently released clickthrough info from AOL, it will weight the keywords and the search engine market share and establish a new 6 point scoring system that will be far more accurate then the old methodology. When you compute the algorithm for your keyword, you will get back a single number, between 0 and 500 that will tell you exactly how positive or negative or irrelevant you are to your keyword. This number will be able to be broken down by search engine, keyword and several other views. Over time, we will be able to tell you whether your visibility is improving or decreasing and whether or not you have a good online brand image.

As more and more people go to the search engines to gain insight into companies and individuals, the internet has become a very important part of public relations. I don’t have any hard numbers, but I think the search engines are where 35% of people turn to find out about other people and companies. That means that the multi-billion dollar marketing and public relations field is about to undergo a radical paradigm shift and when it’s over, hopefully my company will be on top. My goal is to establish the TruV1ew 1ndex as the leading brand in quantitative search management; the equivalent of Kleenex to facial tissue. I plan to do this by rolling out a free website where people can go and type in their keywords and receive a score back for free. We will make money from the upsell to more and better information as well as actual reputation management itself.

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Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

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