HopLite Online Reputation Management

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When it comes to dealing with ORM, everyone always has questions; usually very good ones -- we have answers. That's why we've created a list of the most common things people ask about and made it available here. So you may be surprised you might find out what you're looking for without having to go very far. Feel free to browse below. These are just a small number of the ways we can help at HopLite when ORM problems strike.

What's the Difference Between White Hat, Grey Hat, and Black Hat?

There is a lot of talk these days about “White Hat,” “Grey Hat,” and “Black Hat” maneuvers online. They are defined for our users here below:

White Hat: A “White Hat” maneuver is an action taken in regards to Online Reputation Management (or anything else internet related) that is both completely legal as well as being considered morally acceptable in general by the online community. Building positive content on search rankings is considered an example of a “White Hat” maneuver. It is an action taken with no “funny business” or extra-legal business involved of any kind, and is generally acceptable, morally or otherwise, in all possible respects.

Grey Hat: Did you ever play soccer as a kid? If you timed it just right, you could “trip” an opponent on the other team and cause him or her to fall to the ground in such a way that wouldn't hurt them, but just knock them off their feet for just a few moments. Again, if timed just right the referee may not see what you did, or, if you did get caught you might be given a warning or a minute or two in the penalty box at most, but no real harm done to anyone, or your team. That, is analogous to what a “Grey Hat” maneuver is; it’s an action that is not illegal, carries no real or serious sanction or jail time, but is not the most moral thing in the universe to engage in per se. An example of this would be creating tons of online accounts that are fake and generating a great deal of positive reviews from them for a business or website on other online platforms besides your own. These positive reviews are not real, but they seem real. This is not illegal in any way, and the reality of it is, like it or not, people do it all the time, and if it’s done right people generally do not get caught. If they did get caught, chances are they would just be kicked off the website they posted the false reviews on. No real damage to anyone would ever come of it at all, but again, it’s not really a moral thing to do. This, is known as a “Grey Hat” maneuver. The reality is people do engage in these, they are not as uncommon as one might think.

Black Hat: You know that master-hacker in the movies? The one everyone is always trying to catch? The reason those people are chased by everyone, in the movies and in real life, is because they are by definition involved in “Black Hat” maneuvers. “Black Hat” actions are “hacking” activities in an utmost and absolutist sense of the word. "Black Hat" actions are illegal, harmful, and dangerous, and they often involve other crimes along with them such as stealing data. An example of “Black Hat” would be breaking into a secure computer system, such as a bank, for any reason at all whatsoever, or taking down a computer system and causing it to cease to function for a time or in general because you do not like the information on it. “Black Hat” actions should never be condoned or tolerated in any way, shape, or form. It is important also, to distinguish between true and harmful, and illegal “Black Hat” actions and things that are not. For example, Wikipedia says that it considers companies who hire or find people to edit Wikipedia pages about a specific business so that content on those pages remains positive to be engaging in a “Black Hat” maneuver against them. This is very irresponsible of Wikipedia to say since that is not a “Black Hat” maneuver, but a “Grey Hat” maneuver. Something that may not be the most respectable action in the world, but is something that people do engage in from time to time, and something that all major websites like Wikipedia have to deal with as par for the course for any major website. Real “Black Hat” actions are violent, dangerous, cannot be tolerated and can cause major damage and are not “par for the course” like people who make edits on their own behalf in a questionable way. “Black Hat” maneuvers should only be considered actions that cause real damage to computer systems and therefore real people by extension and are by definition always illegal. In fact, if the action is not illegal it technically cannot be considered “Black Hat,” and that in general is a good rule of thumb for understanding what “Black Hat” technically is.

So there you have it, those are the definitions of “White Hat,” “Grey Hat,” and “Black Hat” and if you have any questions about anything related to this particular topic or Online Reputation Management in general, feel free to give us a call. We really enjoy speaking with customers and clients and helping those who want to know more. Call or e-mail us anytime for some advice absolutely free!

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