Careers at Reputation.com
Reputation.com’s mission is to empower individuals and businesses to control their privacy and reputation online.
Law school graduate Michael Fertik was working as a clerk for a federal judge in Louisville, Kentucky. During his job he encountered some cases involving online privacy. His experience made him realize that at the time social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook often made users’ personal information easy to access – information that could be damaging. He sought a way to address this.
He began working on a service that could help customers manage their image online – with a particular focus on assisting parents in protecting their children. He founded a company for this service in April 2006, called Reputation Defender, and did prep work. Not wanting to annoy his employer, he waited until leaving his clerkship to officially launch a website in October 2006.
While working on the site, Fertik obtained a position as a junior partner at an investment company in California. Tensions with his new boss led to his firing within a week, which encouraged him to focus on the site full-time. The decision paid off. By 2007 the firm was generating $2 million in annual revenues. In 2008, it raised $2.6 million in funding. In 2011, it changed its name to Reputation.com.
Benefits at Reputation.com
Business model of Reputation.com
Reputation.com has a segmented market business model, with customers that have slightly different needs. The company targets its offerings at consumers and businesses.
Reputation.com offers three primary value propositions: convenience, accessibility, and brand/status.
The company offers convenience by helping customers keep track of their reputation throughout the Internet at all times. Its technology continuously collects social media posts, reviews, and survey results, saving clients the time and administrative burden of such activities. It then aggregates all of these components to establish a “reputation score” that reflects a user’s image. The service is particularly useful for companies with thousands of consumer-facing locations.
The company creates accessibility by working with dozens of online services and specialty review sites to facilitate reputation management for customers. It maintains direct integrations with prominent platforms such as Google and Facebook.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. It bills itself as the first and the largest firm in the world to protect privacy and reputations on the Internet. It has distributed over 2.5 million surveys and collected over 22 million reviews for businesses. It serves millions of consumers and thousands of companies in 77 industries. Its clients include many members of the Fortune 500, such as Ford, BMW, Kaiser Permanente, Boston Market, and McDonald’s. Lastly, it has won prominent honors, including recognition as a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum for its impact on society (2011).
Reputation.com’s main channel is its website, although it also maintains a direct sales team.
The company promotes its offering through its social media pages, seminars, webinars, a free online “Reputation Success Kit”, and participation in conferences.
Reputation.com’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through its platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website features a number of self-help resources, including white papers, case studies, eBooks, and videos.
That said, there is also a personal assistance component in the form of a dedicated reputation advisory team for its Reputation Defender Service and e-mail support for all customers – it responds to all inquiries within one business day.
Reputation.com’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for its customers.
Reputation.com does not have a formal partnership program; that said, as mentioned previously, it works with online services and review sites to help clients manage their image on those platforms.
It also forms strategic alliances from time to time to enhance its offerings for customers. Examples of these include the following:
- A partnership with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) through which the association allows Reputation.com’s customers to manage their mailing preferences with DMA member firms
- A partnership with Hellerman Baretz Communications through which HBC enables the company’s customers to use its content generation and litigation communications services
Reputation.com’s main resources are its human resources, who include its engineering employees that maintain and update its software platform, data scientists that analyze collected information, sales/marketing staff that promote the solution, and customer service staff that provide support.
The company also places a high priority on intellectual property, with at least 23 issued patents and 25 pending ones.
Lastly, as a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $67.3 million from 12 investors as of March 2013.
Reputation.com has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense.
Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and product development, both fixed costs.
Reputation.com has two revenue streams: a one-time set-up fee for use of review kiosks ($199) and the annual subscription fees it charges for access to its software services. There are two services:
Reputation Defender – Offers five different plans based on scope of reputation management needs, which are as follows:
- Defender 3000: For moderately high severity; it offers 30 commercial website postings, four cusomized websites and 10 content refreshes. Cost: $3,000 per year.
- Defender 5000: For issues with high severity; it offers 40 commercial website postings, six customized websites and 20 content refreshes. Cost: $5,000 per year.
- Defender 7500: For very high severity; it offers 40 commercial website postings, eight customized websites and 20 content refreshes. Cost: $7,500 per year.
- Defender 10000: For extremely high severity; it offers 50 commercial website postings, 10 customized websites and 30 content refreshes. Cost: $10,000 per year.
- Defender 15000: Also for extremely high severity; it offers 60 commercial website postings, 12 customized websites and 30 content refreshes. Cost: $15,000 per year.
Each plan is supplemented with a dedicated reputation advisory team, a tailored content strategy, and regular progress reporting.
Reputation Management Platform – Offers two different plans differing based on scope of service:
- Gold: With this package, customers are able to manage their social media accounts from a dashboard, and their business information is populated in 10 different online business listings. The firm will not respond to negative reviews on customers’ behalf, and also will not build up their social media presence or respond to posts on their profiles. Cost: $2,500 per year.
- Platinum: With this package, all of the abovementioned tasks are covered. Moreover, customers‘ business information is populated in 20 different online business listings. Cost: $4,500 per year.
info: Michael earned an A.B. at Harvard University and a J.D. at Harvard Law School. He previously served as the President and CEO of Reputation.com, as the Founder of TruExchange, and as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
info: Shrey earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rutgers University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He previously served as Senior VP of Worldwide Field Operations at Zscaler and held executive roles at Cisco Systems and GE Capital.
info: Mark earned a B.A. in English and Philosophy at Dartmouth College and an MBA from Stanford University. He previously served as VP of Global Marketing at RMS, CMO of Anthrocapital Consulting and NimSoft, and President and CEO of TipMarks.
info: Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics at University of Califorina, Los Angeles. He previously served as CFO of RichRelevance, EyeTMedia, and Ecast, and as the VP of Finance at Vertical Networks and Knowledge Networks.
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