Posted May 28, 2008 11:53 am by with 8 comments

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Every time I speak with a journalist about the online reputation management (ORM) industry, I’m often asked “How big is the industry?”

You know what, I don’t know.

However, when it comes to Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM)–which is a component of ORM–I have a better feel for the amount spent in the space.

So, in light of the complete lack of “estimates” for the SERM space, I–well actually Trackur–have put together the first ever estimates for the size and growth of SERM.

Here’s the estimate:

As you can see, the estimate for SERM spend is a conservative $100 million in 2008. This includes all spending on reputation management within the search engines. That means it includes specific SERM campaigns, as well as the amount spent on SERM as part of a regular search engine optimization effort.

The estimate calls for 40%+ growth in 2009 and 2010–just take a look around at all the new companies popping up that specialize in SERM–with a decrease in growth by 2011. Why the slow down? By 2011, companies will have learned more about online reputation management, meaning they have fewer Google crises to clean-up.

Now, I’ll say it for you, this is just our estimate. But, then again, it’s as good as the many other industry estimates that get thrown around. The good news is you now have something to share with your boss, or the next conference you speak at. And, it will be more than sufficient for the next year or so–until someone else releases data based upon actual numbers, as opposed to estimates.

  • Glad to see someone taking a stab at estimating SERM size & growth. Given we are in the earlier stages of the SERM industry, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that a large % of the $100 million spent this year was wasted and misdirected in attempting to fix online reputations using a do-it-yourself model.

    With books like Andy’s (which I still need to read) and more and more blog posts dedicated to SERM, the education level will rise for do-it-yourselfers, but hiring a professional skilled in SEO & one who can positively change the way a company or individual manages their reputation is money well-spent.

    As the industry grows, wasted time & efforts will shrink.

  • @Andy: Great that you have estimates, but how on earth did you create these estimates using TrackUr?

    Basically, what kind of source data did you use to even come up with any kind of estimates?

    Jonathan Dingman’s last blog post..Video: Windows Techno Soundtrack

  • @Dustin – thanks for your thoughts. It will be interesting to see if SERM does in fact slow down, once companies start becoming more efficient with their SERM efforts and practicing better prevention as well.

  • @Jonathan – I didn’t “use” Trackur to create the estimates, but they’re released “by” Trackur. 😉

    I looked at the growth and size of various other niches of the SEM space, compared that to my own observations and client experiences, et voila!

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  • Andy,

    As always the ORM / SERM conversation is fascinating. How do you see these numbers playing out with regard to company size and their “need” for ORM? Is this just for the big boys (Fortune 500’s etc) or should the small business (even a Mom and Pop operation) be as aware of their own online reputation? In my conversations with small businesses they seem to think that it does not apply to them (much the same way that many of them don’t understand or are simply ignorant of the power of SEM). I have my thoughts. What are yours?

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  • @Frank – that sounds like a new blog post! 🙂

    Actually, I believe SMBs should care MORE about their online reputation. When they face a crisis, they have less marketing dollars to buy their way back to a good reputation.