According to JupiterResearch, 90 percent of online users search the Internet for product and company information before they make a purchase. 91 percent percent of journalists say they use search engines to research articles, reports The Pew Research Center. And according to public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller, 84 percent of the group defined as e-fluentials - the group of the most influential "movers and shakers" who help shape opinions - have read product or service related messages on opinion Web sites in the past year. How do they find these Web sites? Search engines.
In an interesting article, Rob Key, President & CEO of Converseon says the top result pages under a company or product name have clearly become a highly influential new form of media, and the top rankings have become the new "digital front pages." Yet for many companies that otherwise spend substantial sums investing in their reputation and brand, they are often unpleasantly surprised when they "Google" themselves.
The reason? While the Web is an increasingly powerful channel to promote company goods and services or to build a community of interest, it also presents the unscrupulous or merely disgruntled with a powerful mechanism to damage a company's image online and offline.