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Blogged Down?

An internet contrarian exposes the dark side of company blogs but offers some advice on how to stay afloat.

Many are enchanted by the potential of social networking, file sharing and blogging. Decidedly outside this cheering section is former dotcom founder Andrew Keen, who decries the corrosive effects of anonymous internet posting in his book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture. Keen believes the biggest concern with Web 2.0 is that "anyone can trash your brand. A particularly militant blogger, Jeff Jarvis, got upset over Dell customer service and single-handedly launched a damaging crusade against Dell. Small companies aren't targets as much, but a few negative posts could destroy you."

To protect yourself, "don't allow anyone to post on your site anonymously," says the 47-year-old, an avid blogger himself (andrewkeen.typepad.com). "And remember, when you're blogging, it only takes one [misunderstood] comment, one inappropriate joke, to have a negative impact."

If you're targeted, how should you respond? "Aggressively, but with civility, to protect your brand," says Keen. "Launch a counterattack. Take it to the conventional media and develop your own network of bloggers, who will cite the lies and explain what really happened."

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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This article was originally published in the October 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Blogged Down? .

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