UPDATE: December 13, 2016: Do you have experience with Terakeet? Please let us know in the contact section! We’re looking for further information in regards to their services to continue improving our assessment.
In the world of online reputation management, also known as ORM, there are many service providers to choose from. Terakeet is a company that claims to offer comprehensive ORM services based on a proactive approach that protects clients from harm before they’re ever exposed. This is our Terakeet review.
Of course, it’s worth investigating the validity of any ORM firm’s assertions before making a selection. Here are some insights into what differentiates Terakeet’s offerings from other available options.
Fast Take – Terakeet offers high-end online reputation management services and has been doing them for a long time. They’ve worked with high end brands and political groups including the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential campaign. Reports of their work are mixed, some seem happy with the work while others report “red flags” when it comes to their process and the lack of quality. Overall they seem to fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to evaluating companies in the ORM space.
What Is Terakeet?
Terakeet is an American brand management and advocacy company that focuses primarily on the digital sphere. It has worked with clients that include Coca-Cola, Vegas.com, the American Science Institute and a number of political figures.
Terakeet was founded in 2001 by Patrick Danial and Mac Cummings. Unlike many of its tech startup contemporaries, the firm remained rooted in its city of origin, Syracuse, New York.
Terakeet’s initial business model revolved around voice-recognition software intended for use in call centers. Although this software was less successful than the company and its angel investors hoped, it did garner appreciation from technical users and resulted in the development of numerous business relationships. When the company decided to focus on SEO in 2004, these contacts were said to have played a role in its eventual success.
Terakeet has played significant roles in multiple political campaigns. During part of the Hillary Clinton presidential bid of 2008, co-founder Cummings acted as the campaign’s Director of Internet Finance and was responsible for raising some $75 million in donations, including $10 million in one day.
Shortly after the termination of the Clinton campaign, Terakeet and its founder were brought on by the Barack Obama campaign. Obama for America, or OFA, retained Terakeet’s digital visibility consulting services following President Obama’s 2008 election. The firm focused on helping OFA successfully increase search engine visibility, capitalize on new off-page value opportunities and capture search traffic from the competing Mitt Romney campaign.
Today, Terakeet uses its Chorus software to distinguish which online content providers bear the highest relevancy. It then fosters relationships between sites to drive up traffic that improves Google SEO and promotes favorable search results. The company also creates original content for its clients for use in rebranding efforts.
Terakeet provides many of its services in conjunction with its own custom software platform. This metrics software, known as Chorus, is used internally by the company’s own brand advisers. Certain Chorus functionalities are also available in the form of service offerings for Terakeet clients. This is definitely a differentiation in the industry, but the key is to focus on the effectiveness of the product rather than just the presence of the product itself.
As an integrated platform, Chorus includes a discovery engine that helps clients and company analysts identify different kinds of web sources that might influence public perception of a brand. While the firm remains tight-lipped about the specifics behind its data gathering and sorting methodologies, it’s known that users can organize discovered influencers based on categories like quality, relevance and affinity. In terms of ORM, this might help users focus on the sites that are most likely to provide value.
Key ORM Methodologies
Terakeet’s ORM services concentrate on optimizing organic search results. To achieve this, the company analyzes client-owned pages as well as other websites.
In addition to promoting favorable content, the firm devotes effort to minimizing the impact of content that might harm its clients’ brands. Using its Chorus platform, it follows a methodology that includes three key stages.
According to the company’s own publications, it begins each ORM job by auditing client content. The focus of this process is to determine a brand’s online advantages, vulnerabilities, potentially untapped engagement channels and usable assets.
Using the results of its initial audit, Terakeet devises a strategy to help its clients achieve their ORM objectives. The solutions it offers are largely designed to be applied incrementally while leaving owners and managers free to oversee their organizations.
During the application of each strategy, Terakeet monitors the results and manages ORM efforts on behalf of its clients. The company gives users the option to choose how much of a role, if any, they’d like to assume in oversight. It also provides frequent progress reports.
Terakeet’s Account Management Process
Chorus also incorporates reporting capabilities. Users can evaluate the success of their ORM campaigns based on predefined or custom metrics. They can also use quantitative analysis to examine their own site traffic, backlink profiles, SEO rankings and other factors from a segmented or comprehensive perspective.
While having a tool like this is nice, it seems a bit scattered. The influencer management portion is largely aspirational as it’s difficult to get content on key influencer sites. The back end web traffic tracking is also nice, but the information spit out by the tool is widely available via an excess of web tools elsewhere on the internet.
Terakeet clients work with dedicated account managers who oversee their projects. These individuals communicate with the firm’s Brand Strategy Supervisors on behalf of clients and are held responsible for quality of service. In addition to scheduling client meetings and directing Terakeet ORM talent, they also perform metric analysis. These look similar to how companies like Five Blocks and Status Labs utilize account managers, while other companies like BrandYourself use them as glorified inside sales reps.
According to the firm’s hiring information, Account Managers have to be able to develop and monitor KPIs and other relevant goal markers. Each one can oversee multiple accounts, so it’s possible that users could find themselves competing for time with other Terakeet clients depending on how busy the firm is. As of August 2016, however, the company employed well over 100 people, making it likely that it can handle significant ORM workloads with minimal impact.
Terakeet maintains its own ongoing employee education program known as TerakeetU. As such, clients may be able to reasonably expect that different Account Managers will provide uniform services.
Other Corporate Services
Terakeet also provides closely related services intended to improve its clients’ digital outreach capabilities. These offerings include:
- Organic Brand Visibility
The company uses its Chorus platform to identify digital influencers who might aid in brand promotion. It also provides assistance bringing said influencers on board for projects like product launch events and content marketing campaigns.
- Digital Advocacy Solutions
Terakeet helps clients secure footing on authority websites and target misinformation. It plays a direct role in guiding conversations that could contribute to positive PR.
Terakeet’s branding and advocacy services are both reliant on personal relationships with influencers and similar actors. The firm claims that this allows it to return to these sources of goodwill and increase the longevity of the marketing channels it establishes on behalf of its clients.
- Terakeet’s Branding and Market Positioning
Terakeet advertises itself as offering comprehensive solutions to SEO, advocacy and visibility. It makes similar claims about its ORM capabilities.
Terakeet markets its ORM services as being suitable for a wide range of entities and organizations. It maintains that its approach to PR is both responsive and agile, and this makes sense considering its distinctly incremental approach to publicity campaigns in general.
It’s worth noting that the company also says it can help its clients fortify their defenses in advance. Terakeet touts its experience with political figures and major brands as evidence that the ORM results it produces are sustainable over the long term. It also suggests that its clients are better equipped to respond to unanticipated bad PR in the form of smear campaigns and other attacks.
Like many of its clients, Terakeet positions itself as an authority source. The firm maintains a regularly updated blog on ORM, SEO and influencer marketing. It also publishes white papers on such topics.
In one case study, Terakeet reported that an unnamed executive had his reputation tarnished following a false news report that went viral after its publication by a reputable outlet. The company said that it was able to completely eliminate negative content from top Google search results for the client’s name within twelve months and ensure they remained positive afterward.
Terakeet doesn’t seem to work on a fixed cost structure. The company’s bespoke approach to campaign management suggests that it bills each client on a case-by-case basis. It does, however, provide a contact form that might make it easier to determine your ORM costs.
Needless to say, Terakeet seems to be on the high-end of the industry in terms of offerings and service, so that’s likely reflected in their pricing. Premium ORM services require premium ORM prices. It’s likely out-of-budget for most small companies and individuals as they evaluate what type of budget they can afford on their digital reputation.
What Do Customers Say?
As one might expect from an ORM company, it’s difficult to find many reviews on Terakeet’s performance that aren’t published by official sources, such as the company itself.
In July 2016, CMSConnected’s Leah Kinthaert reported being impressed with Terakeet’s Chorus platform and methodology. She did note, however, that the company’s solutions were ultimately unsuited to the specific audiences she was trying to reach. She also said that the firm may be more focused on content volume than content quality. While this could be compatible with many ORM strategies, it does raise the possibility that the bespoke approach Terakeet prides itself on isn’t quite as nuanced as it claims.
We’ve seen other platforms focus on content creation volume rather than quality – places like BrandYourself, Reputation.com, and others – and it generally falls flat while other approaches are more successful.
Is Terakeet Suited to Your ORM Needs?
Clients like Kinthaert do say that Terakeet offers a service demo. Those worried about controlling campaign costs might find this heartening since they don’t have to fully commit themselves prior to getting a peek at what they’ll ultimately receive.
Terakeet’s broad focus could mean that its efficacy depends on the type of organization you run and your reputation management goals. For instance, it seems to have earned accolades from numerous well-funded political campaigns and international brands, but it’s unclear how well it might perform on behalf of a smaller enterprise with a lower ORM budget. Overall Terakeet looks to be more successful than most when it comes to fulfilling online reputation management, but we’ve got some major red flags when it comes to their process.