Companies and individuals with solid online reputations are not safe from attack by unscrupulous competitors or vengeful individuals. Elixir Interactive has published a case study documenting a systematic and malicious smear campaign waged against the company’s brands since early 2010. The goal of the study is to reveal the tactics that can be used to intentionally damage a brand as well as provide an example of how to defend against them.
“Brands Under Attack” documents months of investigation and analysis of the methods employed against Elixir as well as information about the current threats against brand reputations. Elixir CEO Fionn Downhill warns “No one’s reputation is safe online.” She also cautions that when a reputation management company with a solid brand can be persistently harassed, it is easy to extrapolate the damage that can be done to an unsuspecting company or individual.
The anonymity of complaint and social media sites makes creating false reports and fake accounts to support those reports practically effortless. The current state of digital law is so far behind the realities of the internet, that even outright slander is free from prosecution. Anyone with an axe to grind, or a competitive edge to gain, can easily attack individuals, companies, or even entire industries. In fact, the attack against Elixir was part of a larger campaign against multiple online reputation management companies.
Elixir, as an experienced ORM company, already had considerable defenses in place when the first complaints were filed. In the months since, the company has taken steps to reinforce those digital assets and create new ones in order to bolster their brand results and guard against the continuous filing of false complaints. The case study documents these steps, which can be utilized by any company or individual to safeguard against such an attack or to respond once an attack is underway. Be prepared to visit a law office as part of the process.