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A web presence (singular) is a location or place on the world wide web where a person, business, or some other entity is represented (see also web property and point of presence). Web presence (plural) is the collection of places on the web where a person, business, or some other entity is represented.
Examples of a singular web presence for a person could be a personal website, blog, a profile page, a wiki page, or a social media point of presence (e.g. a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook account, or a Twitter account.). Examples of a singular web presence for a company, product, brand or some other non-person could be a corporate website, a microsite, a page on a review site, a wiki page, or a social media point of presence (e.g., a LinkedIn company page and/or group, a Facebook business/brand/product page, or a Twitter account.). The web presence (plural) for a person, company, brand, product, or some other entity is the collection of all the singular web presences that represent the same person, company, or brand.
- 1 Owned vs. Unowned Web Presence
- 2 Web Presence Management
- 3 Web Presence Discovery
- 4 Web Presence Monitoring
- 5 Web Presence Audit
- 6 Web Presence Management vs. Web Reputation Mangement
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Owned vs. Unowned Web Presence
Web presence may include owned as well as unowned points of presence. A web presence created on a platform where a single person (or an expressly limited set of people) can control what content is published there is considered owned media. A corporate website or a personal Twitter account would be considered an owned web presence. A web presence that is created about a person or other entity but that cannot be solely controlled by a single individual (e.g. the creator) is considered "unowned" media (see earned media). A Wikipedia or Yelp page about a person, company, or product would be an example of an unowned (or "earned") web presence. "Paid media" is often the third form of media which is included in the discussion of media types: "earned vs. owned vs. paid". Paid media, which is usually in the form of advertisements, is not considered to be a form of "web presence" in this context; so it is not included here and only mentioned for completeness.
Web Presence Management
Web presence management consists of the policies, procedures and tools used to establish and maintain a digital footprint on the web where content can be shared with the public in general or a certain population. Web presence management is about managing where the a person or business has presence and how each owned property is provisioned to represent its relationship to the enterprise. Content management is about managing what is published at a point of presence.
Web presence management is the discipline of determining and governing:
- the distributing of policy documents
- which platforms are to be used and which are not (e.g. internal vs. external blog, YouTube vs. Vimeo.)
- the single, unified inventory of personal or corporate web presence for all stakeholders (including relevant third parties like partners or advocates)
- where on the web a company and its key employees, brands, or trademarks are represented, officially
- where on the web the company and its employees, brands, or trademarks, etc. are being impersonated or infringed upon
- web properties with the divisions, brands, products, teams, or people they represent
- which employees (or other stakeholders) have access or control to which web properties
- new web properties which are not in the personal or corporate inventory (e.g. someone creates a new presence)
- authorized and unauthorized changes to the provisioning (e.g. branding) of a web presence
- workflow for bringing a web property into compliance with regulatory, corporate or brand standards
Web Presence Management System
A web presence management system is a tool used by an organization to manage the collection of domain names, websites, social media, and other web pages where an individual or enterprise has an interest in how he, she, or it is being represented. The tool generally offers the following key functions: new presence discovery, inventory management, change detection, access control, stakeholder coordination, and compliance workflow.
To publish content to the various points of web presence, one or more content management systems or social media management systems, or both, are often used. Some content and social media management systems offer certain web presence management capabilities but their focus is generally limited to the specific web platforms where they can manage content. A web presence management system is meant to have a much broader reach across the web to provide greater awareness of where presence has been established, is to be established, must be maintained, or must be remediated. An example of a web presence management system is the Brandle Presence Manager.
An additional aspect of web presence management is managing the collection of domain names registered to the individual or organization. A person or company may register multiple domain names for the same property to link alternative spellings, different top-level domains, aliases, brands, or products to the same website. Similarly, negative or derogatory domain names may be registered as a defensive action to prevent those domains from being used against the individual or business. It is not uncommon for a larger enterprise to have domains registered by more than one employee at multiple domain name registrars due to organizational or geographical requirements, or both. A web presence management system can be used to maintain a common inventory of all domains registered by the enterprise, independent of the registrars used.
Web Presence Discovery
Web presence discovery is the practice of monitoring the web to detect the creation of a new point of presence about an individual, business, or other entity. Web presence discovery is often included in a web presence management system due to the fact that a new domain may be registered, a new website published, or a new social media account established outside of the immediate view and control of an individual or enterprise. The purpose of monitoring is to detect a new presence early in its lifespan and either bring it into governance and compliance or take appropriate action to address any infringement. Web presence discovery is distinct from content listening in that the former involves looking for new properties on the web while the latter refers to listening to content streams to hear what is being said about an individual, business, or entity, often in near real time.
A person or business may choose to watch for a new web presence which appears to represent a person, company, product or brand in order to detect unauthorized activities by third parties (e.g. counterfeiters, spoofers, or malicious hackers). One of the early pioneers in the online brand protection marketplace was MarkMonitor, now part of Thomson Reuters, which helps detect rogue domain names and websites. Because of the growth of social media and ease with which a new presence may be created on those platforms, the ways that a brand may be impacted have increased. Online brand protection providers are now adding social media to their domain and website discovery offerings.
The widespread growth of social media has also made it easier for unauthorized individuals to impersonate an employee and social media has now become a recognized threat vector due to the ease with which it can be used to socially engineer an attack on a business. Companies can use web presence monitoring tools to detect new points of presence on the web impersonating their employees to help defend against socially engineered attacks.
Distributed Inventory Management
A web presence monitoring system can be used by an enterprise to detect when a new web property is created and ensure the asset and related information are added to the corporate inventory and brought into governance. This practice usually applies to larger businesses which have employees in diverse locations who may create new points of presence on the web for the company. A large retail chain, for example, may allow each local store to create and manage their web presence to market to and communicate with their local customer base. Similarly, a global business may have teams in each country or region who create and manage a web presence to adapt to local languages or cultures. A web presence monitoring system is usually designed to address these autonomous, distributed behaviors.
Web Presence Monitoring
Web presence monitoring is the practice of monitoring a known inventory of web presence to detect both authorized and unauthorized changes to those properties. Web presence monitoring is often included in a web presence management system and can serve multiple purposes, especially for a larger enterprise though some individuals (e.g. celebrities) may also employee a web presence monitoring system or service.
Presence monitoring is distinct from content listening in that the former is monitoring the descriptive properties (e.g. branding) of a web property in an established inventory while the latter is listening to the content streams to hear what is being said about a topic, often in near real time. Presence monitoring generally focuses on owned media while content listening generally focuses on earned media. Examples of content listening systems include Radian6, now part of Salesforce.com, and Sysomos.
Corporate, Brand, and Regulatory Compliance
Many companies need to ensure that any property on the web that purports to represent their business meets certain standards. For companies in regulated industries such as finance and healthcare, the company may be required by law to ensure that all public-facing messaging, regardless of platform or technology, meets certain regulatory requirements. Other companies may have strong corporate or brand standards which they need to ensure are met when dealing with the public. While this has long been an issue with domains and websites, the growth of social media has increased the opportunities for a new web presence to be created outside of corporate governance structures. A web presence monitoring system helps alert the company when a known property is changed, so it can be reviewed and brought back, if necessary, into compliance with the appropriate standards.
Web Presence Audit
A web presence audit is performed by an enterprise to determine that all corporate points of presence on the web are meeting strategic objectives as well as governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) needs. These audits are often conducted as part of an information technology audit by a professional services agency or an internal audit team to ensure independence and objectivity. However, a less formal web presence audit is often performed by internal stakeholders as a routine practice to meet GRC objectives at an operational level. A web presence audit generally includes web presence discovery and a review of all content on web properties in the enterprise's inventory of web presence. While web presence monitoring is not part of the audit function, a review of the nature and scope of the company's web presence monitoring policies, procedures, and tools is often included in the audit.
Social Media Audit
Due to the additional challenges introduced by the dynamic and open nature of social media, an enterprise may choose to perform specific social media audits with greater frequency. A social media audit may be conducted with the same scope as a general web presence audit or more specifically for the purposes of maintaining an accurate inventory of all enterprise social media points of presence. Alternatively, the enterprise may choose to employ automated web presence discovery and compliance systems to keep the corporate social media inventory up to date and within GRC parameters.
Web Presence Management vs. Web Reputation Mangement
Reputation management systems are sometimes loosely included in the category of web presence management. In general, web presence management is about knowing where an individual or business is being represented, while a reputation management is about knowing what people are saying about someone or something. Web presence management is primarily concerned with finding and managing owned media while reputation management systems are concerned with managing earned media. Both systems generally offer some degree of remediation. For web presence management systems, remediation would include finding counterfeit properties which are infringing on a brand or trademark. For reputation management systems, remediation often centers around identifying and taking down fraudulent or misleading reviews, or comments, or encouraging the generation of more authentic (and hopefully favorable) reviews or comments.
While a web presence monitoring tool can help identify unowned web properties where people are talking about a person, product, or brand, it is only part of the solution. A reputation management system often includes a content listening system to monitor the stream of messages about a particular subject which may be coming from any point of presence on the web (e.g. a comment about a product by a customer on her personal Twitter account). An example of a reputation management service is Reputation.com.
- Digital footprint
- Domain name
- Domain name system
- Earned vs. Owned vs. Paid media
- Internet presence management
- Online identity management
- Online presence management
- Online reputation management
- Web Point of presence
- Social Media
- Social media measurement
- Social networking service
- Web address
- Web page
- Web property
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