UK businesses will need to be more proactive in managing their reputation online if they want to succeed at e-commerce, Gartner has said.
The growing use of scoring and rating sites, and social and business networks such as LinkedIn, means that customers will have access to more information on a company's reputation, says analyst Jey Heiser.
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Negative or false attacks online could harm a customer's trust towards doing business with a company and Heiser said that IT criminals will shift focus to blackmailing companies for not affecting their online reputation.
To combat this, e-businesses need to build and foster their own online communities which encourages feedback and transparency.
"Amazon and eBay succeeded precisely because they explicitly provided reputation evaluation systems. If your business depends on a positive Internet reputation, or an accurate evaluation of external reputations, you need to address this," said Heiser.