A casual question sparked the idea that led William Rivas to start ReviewBoost.com, a pioneering company in the field of helping businesses manage their online reputations.
An electrician wanted to know how he could distinguish himself online from thousands of other businesses offering the same services, said Rivas who was managing a third-party call center in Southern California that sold SEO services to businesses at the time.
The concept, Rivas said, was so new that reputation management wasn’t a common phrase. In 2007 and 2008 people were just becoming aware of how badly the Internet could besmirch personal reputations. But there was very little attention paid to reputations of a business, Rivas said.
He started the business that helps companies promote positive feedback and increase their online presence as well as boost local SEO efforts.
“We work with businesses to collect positive feedback and post it,” Rivas said.
Rivas has even written a book about reputation management called “Internet Reputation Management for Businesses”. It came at the suggestion of a University of San Francisco instructor where Rivas completed his online Master Certificate in Internet Marketing in 2012.
The certification led to credibility in the Internet marketing world. “That credibility should be worth more than a Google partnership,” Rivas said.
The credibility has increased since Rivas received his certificate from University of San Francisco. Not only does ReviewBoost.com have thousands of clients, Rivas has been taped for television interviews on the topic such as one with Donald Trump, Jr., an interview for CNBC and on 21st Century Television.
During that recent interview, Rivas stressed the importance of online reputation for businesses, something not given enough attention by most companies.
“They’re so worried about their marketing and advertising dollars, but little do they know that without a proper reputation, those marketing and advertising dollars would be for nothing,” he said in the interview.
The University of San Francisco certificate program also helped boost his career in Internet marketing, giving him credibility and motivation, Rivas said. “It helped me structure how to present myself to businesses. Certification opened a lot of doors and it helped me make sure what I self-learned was accurate."
“I learned how to use all the tools you have in the tool chest and put something together, something for yourself. That was really valuable. University of San Francisco helped me make sure I’m not lost in the shuffle,” he said.
At 36 years old, Rivas says he’s a grandfather in the Internet marketing industry that seems to have no cap on its potential growth.
“Everywhere I go, one out of four people I bump into are going into Internet marketing,” he said.
There seems to be room in the industry, though. In Southern California alone where Rivas is based, 60% of businesses do not even have a website, and need the marketing guidance.
For someone entering the field, Rivas offered some advice.
"First, look at the marketing from the consumer’s view, then look at your business as it would appear to someone using the Internet," he said.
“Studies show that 90% of people look at Google before deciding to buy something. Your marketing has to be a representation of your story,” he said.
Earning an Advanced Professional Certificate in Internet Marketing can provide you the tools to create websites that draw visitors and generate revenue, drive traffic and let you master the intricacies of digital analytics or mobile marketing as well as solidifying your credibility in a rapidly evolving field.