In the old days, capturing sentiment about your brand was slow and expensive and primarily under your own control. But in these Web 2.0 times, information overload from myriad sources stares us in the face. Customers, competitors and employees have public online outlets to vent their praise and frustrations about your brand. The popularity and accessibility of social networks, blogs and customer complaint sites have sent the visibility of these outlets into the stratosphere. Strategies for managing your online reputation via all this information abound and are ever-changing. Instead of lingering on consequences, let's boil things down and focus on what not to do.

Mistake #1: Monitoring everything. Some organizations throw a lot of money at monitoring, but they consistently come up short. They assemble large teams of market researchers, data architects and Web developers to look for references to the company, competitors, partners, their industry and even regulators. They buy hardware and software, acquire subscriptions and custom-build entire solutions that store the data, aggregate the information and help users to visualize the results. Their goal is to efficiently monitor all Internet channels for anything that sounds or smells like a reference to their brand that may negatively impact their reputation. But should they? The Internet is full of nonsense flowing at maximum capacity. For all the cream that rises to the top of the search results, a mountain of garbage follows. Identifying each and every reference creates unnecessary noise that distracts from discerning the true message or potential crises.

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