Managing Corporate Reputation in the Blogosphere: The Case of Dell Computer
The emergence of the blogosphere has created new challenges for large companies in the management of their corporate reputations, since grass roots blogs can generate negative perceptions about a firm and then spread them rapidly and widely. The blogosphere has also created new opportunities for firms to enhance their reputations, because the informal and personal communication that occurs on blogs may generate significant positive ‘Internet word of mouth’. This paper examines the interaction between the blogosphere and a leading technology company, Dell Computer, over a critical two-year period. Our approach combines two novel techniques: automated mining of blog entries, enabled by parsing software, which generates semantic analysis and network maps of the relevant blog entries; and netnography, a method derived from ethnography for analyzing Internet-based discussions. This study shows that many established reputation management approaches, which were developed during the era of mass media, need to be reshaped to meet new realities in the age of Web 2.0.