Picture this: It's 1970 and you're faced with a problem at work. You aren't happy with the terms of your employment and want a change. You have two traditional remedies available to you. The first, attempt to find a resolution through direct communication with your supervisor. The second, resign and move on.
Things were simple, clean and to the point.
Fast forward to 2017 and there are several more avenues available to unhappy or disgruntled employees.
The purpose of this blog is to uncover, discuss and diagnose these avenues while also providing you (the businesses owners) information on how to best protect yourself. Getting straight to the point, the avenues taken by unhappy employees, in order of most to least common are as follows.
Reputation attacks on key personnel, management teams and the business itself are a common occurrence both during and after employment. These attacks, however; differ from common attacks on reputation as they involve an element of online circulation such as through Social Media or web-based forums.
In our experience, disgruntled employees tend to use sites such as Blogspot, WordPress and Reddit to anonymously create defamatory and harmful publications about their employer or former employer. The main reason these platforms are popular is due to their geolocation, which is generally outside Australian jurisdiction.
The purpose of creating these publications is generally:
- To cause harm to the individual named; or
- To cause reputational damage to the business.
In some instances, publications become widespread and gain enough circulation to cause loss of contracts, clients and revenue.
For information on our services in relation to detecting reputation attacks, see our content monitoring page
FALSE BUSINESS REVIEWS
As with reputation attacks, disgruntled employees may also turn to platforms such as Google My Business (Google Reviews) and Facebook. These individuals go to the effort of creating fake accounts, using the knowledge they have of your business to craft the most destructive review possible.
In some instances, multiple accounts and false negative reviews are left by disgruntled employees, leaving your star rating trashed and the business owner with a severe headache.
For information on our services in relation to removing false business reviews, see our content removal page
In contrast to the above, disgruntled employees can, with disturbing ease, use the intimate knowledge of your business gained through employment to anonymously set up shop in direct competition.
The use of domain privacy settings, dummy directors or offshore companies can leave companies with no idea where to begin in terms of tracking down who this new anonymous competitor is.
Given the intimate knowledge of your business being used by your new found competitor, they can outprice you, out market you and ultimately attempt to sabotage you.
For brick and mortar stores, it's not that easy. However, with advances in technology fuelling the creation of more internet based e-commerce businesses, it can be hard to track down let alone compete with these businesses.
PASSING OFF - TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT
Cases where employees leave businesses and create direct replicas of their organisation are not uncommon. This is different to the above, where a former employee competes under a different name and distinguishes itself as being different.
In this example, some employees have set up similar businesses using the exact same digital assets as their former employers, such as logo's, colour schemes, text and services.
The benefit for these employees is that they leverage off your already established reputation and misguide your customers to use them instead. This is commonly a clear violation of your trademark (if you have one) and could be considered action that constitutes 'passing off'.
For information on our services in relation to removing content infringing on your Intellectual Property Rights, see our DMCA takedown page
In some cases, a former employee may begin leaving reviews on the internal practices of your organisation across platforms such as Glassdoor and Seek reviews.
These platforms accept reviews from current and ex-employees as to how they rate working in the organisation and what their recommendations would be for current management and future staff.
In a lot of cases, employees trash their former employer on such sites, making it an even more difficult task for the business to secure talent.
PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS
Human resources are one of the most important and trusted business assets. Unfortunately, they can also be the causation for major unforeseen problems.
Outside of internal fixes, the best ways to protect your business from online attacks are:
- Curate and publish quality, SEO focused content;
- Develop a system that fosters user feedback integrated with review platforms;
- Register similar, associated and valuable domains; and
- Proactively monitor your digital assets for any potential misuse.
While the above won't stop someone from attempting to cause you harm, it may put some roadblocks that slow them down or stop them all together.
THE IMPACT OF ANONYMITY
Platforms and software such as Tor Browser and Hide My Ass (HMA) are notorious for allowing users an unparalleled anonymous online viewing experience. This comes without fear of reprisal for any illegal or questionable activity online, as the aforementioned providers do not keep track of or retain user data.
Through our own internal research, we have found a direct correlation between an increased awareness and use of these anonymous viewing platforms and the volume of potentially illegal online publications.
The end result of anonymity online is that a user who feels and sometimes is, invincible.
Our next blog, part two of this series will discuss consumers and the balance of how vital they are to business and how damaging they also can be.
For any enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 039 196 (1300039196).
Published by Internet Removals , Gold Coast.
Chris Jones, Digital Marketing Coordinator
Company: Internet Removals
Address: Level 2, 64 Marine PDE, Southport, Qld 4215, Australia
Phone: 1300 039 196