Social Signals at Techweek: What Startups Need to Know About Online Reputation

July 31, 2011

1:00 pm

Call it social signals, your digital reputation, your online footprint – your online search results matter – a lot.  Once you sit down and absorb what that actually means, it is quite a sobering thought, whether you are a professional with a full-time job, a freelancer, or a startup looking for funding.

With several sessions at last week’s Techweek revolving around privacy, marketer access to online data, location information, and overall personal rights information, provided below are some of the insights and thoughts from the “Digital Reputation: Trust, Reviews, Credibility” session:

Our digital reputation is based on who we are – our lifestyle, every piece of us that is available on the web and through searches….When looking at online reviews and ratings, it isn’t so much the score that tells the story, but what were the motivations behind the score. – Noah Lang,

Companies use search when learning about someone’s digital reputation to find out the rest of the story.  The more important you are, the more people want to learn about you….Understand the conversations taking place about you; insert yourself where you can, monitor where you can’t. – Melissa Marchwick,

When asked how a startup looking for funding should look at their online reputation, the panelists – Mark Britton, Founder and CEO of Avvo, Noah Lang, Head of Business Development at and Melissa Marchwick, Chief Brand Officer at – provided the following thoughts:


Melissa shared that sometimes parents provide reviews after they didn’t need the services of their Sittercity babysitter because they don’t want to lose access to him/her if they get too popular, while sometimes ratings reflect a misunderstanding between the sitter and family. provides ways for sitters to address concerns and reviews in a positive way, which reinforces the credibility of the company and strengthens relationships with families.


When investors are evaluating your funding proposal, they are not only assessing the idea, but also the team that you have in place, all of whom will be bringing your idea to life.

Investors will ask how you and your team are going to break through the barriers and walls that inevitably pop up when launching a new business or product.  They need to believe that once you hit that wall, you can overcome it.

Separate the personal from the professional, because investors are doing their research on you.

Be aware of your online reputation and monitor it.

Look yourself up online.  How visible is the information?  How likely is it to impact your business reputation, or whether or not you receive funding?

Build up your online footprint, find the appropriate social channels, and claim a stake for your company or idea – those that are the most relevant, make sure to populate with content.

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Barbara Maldonado is the Social Media Strategist at Legacy Marketing Partners, one of the top Experiential Marketing agencies in the country. For Tech Cocktail she looks at emerging technologies that can help businesses. Follow her on Twitter @bmaldonado

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