A recent private discussion amongst some members of our illustrious community focused on how to cope with the potential damage to one’s reputation if idjuts start posting negative and inflammatory comments on your blog.
There are historically two things you can do if you start receiving the attention of the ill-informed and barking mad:
- Ignore them
- Delete their comments
Quite rightly, I always advise clients to avoid option two because it creates more trouble than it’s worth; a firestorm starts because you, in their eyes, deny them the right/freedom of speech and point of view. It is a firestorm that finds great ‘traction’ within the blogosphere’s more rabid corners and very quickly can escalate out of all control and reason.
But, since Google now determines your reputation (what comes up in the search engine results when someone searches on your name is what your reputation now consists of for the potential new client), how can you stop these rabid comments on your blog from causing you damage?
‘Tis a question that has vexed many of us, and we tossed ideas back and forth; discussions about the ethics or otherwise of deleting comments, of putting up a ‘comment policy’ (too late for this colleague, but something I initiated over at the RSPCA blog from the outset)… much commentary, discussion and furrowing of brows followed.
Then Chris Penn chipped in and, as he usually does, completely floors us with the beauty and simplicity of his solution:
If your blog template allows and supports it, I would simply add a no-cache no-index header to this page only so that search engines don’t bother with it. When the controversy has settled down in a few months, do a 301 redirect of the URL to a more favorable page, remove the no-cache no-index and copy over a few of the comments worth preserving, then delete the original, now invisible and unindexed page.
Now, you might be a geek and the above solution may seem obvious to you, but I have to say that we in the Business Communication industry are once again floored. I tell you, there is no end of evidence that the man is quite simply a genius.
Here’s what some of my colleagues said about his elegant solution:
Chris, awesome idea! A great way to not duck out and hide from the conspiracy theorists, but to also protect your brand so clients and prospects don’t stumble upon that post from a search engine. Love it!
How he walks around with all that stuff in his head every day — I’ll never know. ;-))
I love The Ninja!
He’s also never missed a day for his Financial Aid podcast — after 714 episodes!
Truly, the man is incredible. He’s also, say those who I respect immensely and who have met him in person, one of the nicest, friendliest people you could ever meet.
I was watching the Australian Open on tv last night and Jim Courier was talking about Roger Federer and how, despite being absolutely incredible and almost inhuman, he is the nicest bloke in the changing rooms, going out of his way to talk to people, always smiling, always friendly.
I guess when you have nothing to prove and a very healthy ego you are able to express yourself like this.
Obviously Chris Penn is in the same category; and I know that many of the people I respect and admire immensely equally hang on his every word and treasure his company and friendship.