Someone emailed my friend Amthrax a letter that MonaVie recently sent out to its distributors about online reputation management. The gist of it is that MonaVie Does Not Want You To Read Or Link To "Negative" Websites. Here's the letter... I'll give my analysis afterwards:
"One of the biggest challenges of a company as big as MonaVie is managing what people say about it online. MonaVie has one great advantage over other companies in that we have countless distributors that wish to support the company and help manage the company’s online image. If you’d like to know how you can help promote MonaVie’s good reputation online, then keep reading!
Why Reputation Management?
All successful companies attract opposition. Online reputation management is the most effective way to combat this negativity. Online Reputation Management consists of managing what people see on the Internet when they are researching the company.
MonaVie’s corporate team is very active in managing our online reputation. Over the last several months, we’ve seen great improvements on the search results pages by promoting some of MonaVie’s corporate websites, which, in turn, push down negative websites. When searching for “MonaVie” on search engines, the first several pages are filled with MonaVie product microsites, social networks, and other corporate websites.
Why We Need Your Help
MonaVie Corporate can do a lot of the Online Reputation Management, but Google looks to see what the masses are saying about a company, not just Corporate. As a MonaVie distributor you are in a unique position to increase the positive content that searchers will find online because you are seen by Google as a third party, and not part of MonaVie Corporate. With the ongoing reputation management efforts of MonaVie Corporate and our amazing distributors, we can be even more successful in managing our online reputation.
How You Can Help
One of the many factors that Google uses to determine which websites should rank in the top positions is the popularity of a website. To determine popularity of a website, they look to see how many people link to it. Google treats a link from one site to another as a vote. The more votes you get, the better.
If you have a website, a blog, participate in forums or other people’s blogs, link to official MonaVie websites and social profiles when you have the opportunity.
For example, if you are writing a post in a forum talking about how you love MonaVie Pulse, make sure to link the words “MonaVie Pulse” to the Pulse microsite (www.monaviepulse.com).
Here is a list of official MonaVie websites and social profiles that you can link to:
[... cut out links for brevity ...]
What NOT to Do
If you link to any negative websites, take down the link. You may have inadvertently linked to a negative site on your website or blog when discussing their website. Just as links will help us promote positive MonaVie sites, they will also help negative sites rank better.
If you see a negative website in the search engine results, don’t click on it. If lots of people are clicking on a negative website on the search engine results page, Google may rank it higher because it sees that so many people are clicking on it.
Avoid visiting or commenting on negative sites. If the negative sites are receiving a lot of traffic and comments from visitors, search engines will think it is a popular site and rank it in the top positions.
With your help, we can make sure MonaVie is well represented online when perspective customers, distributors, or anyone else researches the company.
This was to be expected. I've written before that MonaVie Tries to Suppress the Truth and this is just another example.
It would be nice if MonaVie could engage criticism head-on in a public forum. I know if someone were to call this website, Lazy Man and Money, a scam, I would try to understand their point of view and defend the accusations publicly. It's a no-brainer. This is what a reputable person or business would do. MonaVie Consumers and/or prospective business owners should want MonaVie to be transparent and address the issues. Instead MonaVie has chosen to abandon their biggest supporters and try to obscure the criticism. This is what companies do when they know they have no defense for the criticism.
In other words, since MonaVie knows that they are scamming people, they don't even attempt to defend their business and instead take the costly and time-consuming step to prevent people from learning about the scam.
MonaVie wants to play it off that criticism of successful companies is normal. What they don't mention is that the FTC warns consumers that some MLMs, MonaVie's business model, are illegal pyramid schemes. It is not normal for the FTC to criticize an industry as being potentially illegal. When it does, consumers should be on high alert for scams.
Amthrax made a great point in his article:
"For someone thinking about starting a business, you had better get as much information as possible. This includes both the good and the bad. If all you see is one point of view — a one-sided point of view in the case of MonaVie’s 'positive' websites — you’re shortchanging yourself."
This is the kind of wise insight that MonaVie wants to block from consumers. Instead they'd like you to view a microsite, essentially a commercial, for MonaVie.
I like to think that the general public doesn't like to be manipulated like this. In my opinion it's not only bad public relations and the wrong way to do business, but it is also the cowardly way to conduct yourself.
It begs the question, "If MonaVie was trying to improve it's reputation, isn't generating all this negative PR through an attempt to manipulate Google exactly the opposite way to go about it?"
I ask you, the reader to please help me fight back this manipulation. Spread the word of what MonaVie is trying to do and blog, Tweet, Facebook, Reddit (there's a handy button below) the following sites that try to get the best information to the public:
Update: Thanks to CGC in the comments we have the perspective from the company that was hired by MonaVie to game Google in the form of a letter written by MonaVie. It doesn't add too much except for making what seems to be error in saying that they've been "targeted by rogue distributors." I didn't see any in top twenty results in Google.
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