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SEO as Reputation Management: Bank of America Trying to Optimise Its Image

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Whatever your opinion of Julian Assange, there is no doubt that the WikiLeaks founder has an incredible ability to stir the media into a frenzy.  He has done it again as he targets Bank of America.  Assange claims he has gigabytes worth of damning evidence against the credit giant.  At this time, it is unclear if the allegedly damning documents have anything to do with the ongoing fraud case against Bank of America, but they aren’t waiting around to find out.  They are embarking on a vigorous SEO campaign to try to mitigate damage before it really even starts.

Ironically, BOA’s move to preemptively suppress negative press has led to…negative press.  Their purchase of hundreds of domain names (including BrianMoynihanSucks.com) related to the business and its higher-ups, including CEO Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board Charles Holliday, and CFO Charles Noski has attracted a tremendous amount of attention.  The move, of course, is to keep dissidents from setting up websites detailing just how CEO Moynihan, and the rest of BOA, sucks.  It is also aimed at preventing people from diverting queries for Bank of America to sites other than its own, particularly those with negative content.

Many see the SEO move as too little too late. The “preemptive strike” as the domain-buying scheme has been called has drawn not only attention and criticism but mocking and not a little disgust with the credit company. Gawker has posted a list of domain names that are still open, including “BrianMoynihanIsJustTheWorstInMyOpinion.ly; BrianMoynihanSmellsKindOfLikeHam.edu; and BrianMoynihanKeepsLeavingTheToiletSeatUp.it.”

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