How to maintain a good reputation online with offshore merchant accounts

Understanding the risks

For high-risk businesses using offshore merchant accounts, consumer image is of particular importance for survival.

The Internet has a huge influence on public perception, especially for high-risk businesses such as adult entertainment, escort services, telemarketing, travel services, online pharmacy, multimarketing, etc. If your business is in any of these categories, then it is worth taking extra pains to ensure that your image is safe and confidence inducing.

While it is, bizarrely, true that people are often drawn to the riskiest propositions - much in the same way that people are drawn to rubberneck at car wrecks - it is undoubtedly better business strategy to ensure that your customers' loyalty is based on the better qualities of your business. People should be coming to you because of the product or service you offer, and not for the whiff of scandal that surrounds your business.

With the fast access to information and opinion from a wealth of independent sources that the Internet offers, your online business is constantly in peril from negative comment. Years of hard work can be swiftly undone by one critical blog post, a few comments on a message board, or a single critical review on an "expert" site.

Combating risk

The first thing to remember when trying to protect your online reputation is that everyone on the Internet is anonymous, hidden behind pseudonyms and invented profiles. The key to containing and controlling negative publicity is to keep track of its. The most important things for offshore merchant accounts holders to keep insight are the general progress of your company, data on competitors, and general information about the industry you operate in.

To do this, you need to become an active and regular Internet watcher, to keep abreast of what is happening in the particular part of cyberspace that is relevant to your business. Time is of the essence, and there are various techniques that can be used to help you stay up-to-date. The first step is to set up customized RSS feeds based on keyword search parameters.,,, Yahoo! News, Google News, MSN News, and can all be used for this. It is also possible to sign up for news alerts, by setting up accounts with services like and This will provide you with instant warning of what is happening in your particular field, and there are various options for filtering the method in which you receive updates.

It is equally important to monitor what is being said about your business and your industry on forums and in chat groups. Forums which it is possible to monitor closely are:,,,, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, MSN Money. Yahoo Groups, AOL Groups, MSN Groups, and Google Groups are also all worth paying attention to. You can also easily search for references to your company or industry in blogs by using, which searches for tagged posts across a multitude of blog search engines.

You may well also want to keep track of more general news items that may have an effect on your company's share prices. Google have recently launched a Google Finance site, with tools that can help you analyze what news was breaking as your share prices moved.

The bottom line is that in order to maintain a good reputation in the online community, you need to become a member of that community yourself. To achieve good results from "word-of-mouth" in cyberspace requires a considerable investment of time and the intelligent use of a number of strategies. However, as an offshore merchant account, your business is already considered a high-risk enterprise, so it pays to spend the time improving your image in any way you can in order to instill confidence in potential customers.

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