Over two thirds of British business owners admit to having concerns that how they appear online could have a negative effect their business, according to a study released on Tuesday by UK hosting provider Fasthosts Internet.
The "Fasthosts Proprietor Identity Survey" found that a large majority of UK business owners are now engaged with the issue of online identity and over 40 percent of owners have a specific concern that what others may be publishing may have a negative effect on their business
"Today, the issue of online identity is clearly a concern for the British businesses," says Mark Jeffries, CTO of Fasthosts Internet. "With it now being commonplace to search online for individuals as well as companies, proprietors should take care to present their own personal online material carefully and keep an eye on their online image accordingly."
Fasthosts says 78 percent of business owners now believe there to be personal material relating to them, such as photos, blog entries and Facebook profiles, on the Internet.
The research also found that one in five owners routinely performed vanity searches on Google for personal material on rival owners and 48 percent judged personal online material to be representative of a business person overall.
"With the right approach, business owners can present their personal online material in a way that won't compromise their business activities," says Jeffries. "Our research highlights that personal websites in particular appear to offer a high level of control over online image and can allow this to be modified effectively."
Another survey of 300 people who publish their own personal website, as opposed to just social networking profiles, showed that 84 percent believed this offered more control over their online image and 79 percent of personal website owners were happy to recommend the tool as a means of creating or modifying an individual's online image or identity.
"It is not all bad news when it comes to how business people manage their online image or identity," says Fasthosts in its recent press release.
"Encouragingly, 76 percent of business owners believe that if the right balance was struck, their personal online identity could be used to positively impact their business, with 19 percent strongly believing this to be the case."
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