5 Unusual Ways To Measure Your Online Reputation

I’ve written this blog for more than 2 years now. Although I enjoy doing it, my business side (after all, I did have an online business for more than 10 years) keeps popping out every once in a while. For instance, my business side likes to measure stuff. How am I doing with this blog in terms of, let’s say, users, page-views, or sales? I let this side interfere every once in a while, and it helps me keep some things in perspective.

But in the last few weeks, I started to notice a different trend. Several unorthodox ways of measuring my online influence started to shape in a more and more consistent way, and apparently out of nowhere. We all know the basic metrics: unique users, page impressions, comments and so on. But I slowly discovered that your real online influence is seldom a sum of these well-know numbers. In fact, I think following those numbers can be deceiving to some degree.

I mean, what does it mean to have 100,000 unique monthly visitors? How can you translate this in terms of influence? Or reputation? What’s the point of having 3,500 twitter followers or 1,000 facebook friends? If you can’t escape those numbers, you won’t have a real image about what your reputation really is. Or at least this is what I think after taking some time to define these new and unusual ways to measure online reputation. Without further ado, let’s start.

1. Getting Hate Comments

This is tough. But it’s fundamental. Receiving hate comments is a very important part of a blogger job and you should develop a proper way of handling them. When I first received a hate comment on my blog I genuinely thought I did something wrong to the person who wrote it. But after a while I realized not only did I do nothing wrong, but it looked like however I chose to handle the conversation, the hate would not just disappear.

Some people choose to express their feelings through aggressive wording. It’s their choice and we should respect it. It’s unpleasant to get hate comments because the vibe is negative, and it’s hurtful. But it’s also part of life. And, in my experience, people who choose to express themselves through aggressive talking are very difficult to reach, as in personally, genuinely touch their inner core.

So, when you get a real hate comment on your blog, take a deep look (a deep breathe won’t hurt either), and realize that your message crossed a very remote border. Your ideas, stories or lifestyle have made their trip up to one of the farthest places in this world: the heart of a lonely, frustrated and inhibited person. The aggressive comment that person left on your blog is just the receipt your blog gets from anchoring on that shore.

2. People Are Approaching You in Real Life Situations

For example, you may be approached by people who start up conversations with you using sentences like: I don’t know you but I read your blog. Or: my girlfriend is a big fan of your blog (that’s a little bit frustrating, I admit, since it appears that all those girls who are fans of my blog, as gorgeous as they are, already have boyfriends 😉 ). All joking aside, the moment you are making it outside your regular circle of people, and being approached because of your digital brand, something good has happened.

Your circle of friends or business partnerships are usually formed by direct interactions. The smallest building block of this circle is your business card (if we’re talking about business relationships). I gave up business cards a while ago. I don’t consider myself as someone who does business anymore (although my business side still pops up every now and then, as you already know).

And when you realize that your business card has been replaced by your domain name, well, I take this as a sign that you have created a sustainable online brand.

3. Being Quoted On Totally Unrelated Blogs

I blog about personal development here but every once in a while I get a mention from a high-profile blog completely out of my niche. I mean I can expect some of my colleagues to spread the word, but when a blogger from a completely different niche mentions my work, I take it as a strong sign of a healthy and powerful influence.

The first time this happened was almost a year ago, when Gala from galadarling.com mentioned one of my posts in her weekly carousels. It felt a little bit strange to see one of my posts quoted on a fashion blog, especially since nothing in that particular post was related to fashion. The climax of this trend happened just a few days ago, when one of my most popular posts got featured on Camille Crimson’s blog.

I will leave the pleasure of exploring Camille’s blog to my male audience and, as one of my female Facebook friends said, I’ll leave the pleasure of learning a few trips and tricks from this blog to the opposite sex. 😉

4. People Are Asking You To Let Them Help You

This has happened to me only recently, but I guess in some form it was always there. What I am talking about is that some people will draw something so profound or meaningful from your blog, that they will genuinely and transparently offer to put themselves at your service. I’ve always met people who have said in one way or another that they’re motivated, inspired, and want to give something back.

Until recently, I never really took this seriously, but then one of the people I met on Facebook (it all started with a polite and standard: “thank you for your blog” message) offered to proof-read some of my blog posts, if I would agree, of course. I agreed and we started to “work” together. I don’t know if I will make this a long term commitment (although the other person is happy to continue helping as long as I am blogging), but I also take this a sign that I must be doing something right.

5. Receiving Out Of The Blue Thank You Emails

This started to happen a year ago, and in the last few months has become more and more common. In the beginning I was getting a thank you email (or comment on the blog, for that matter) once a month. Now I’m getting almost daily interactions from people I don’t really know, in which they express their gratitude for motivation that they have drawn from this blog.

I choose to never publish these messages. It’s a private interaction, and since the person initiating it has chosen to e-mail me, which is a more private communication channel, I take it that they would like to remain anonymous. But the power of those messages is incredible. Sometimes is just something like: “I like your blog and I want to start one too, you inspired me”. But sometimes is something like: “my life has really changed and I was able to leave behind an ugly/abusive/unhappy time, thank you”.

Whenever I receive one of these messages, something starts to melt inside me. I feel it almost organically.


As you can see, these ways of measuring your online reputation have almost nothing to do with numbers. As a matter of fact, my supposition that numbers give you the wrong impression of what your digital brand is capable of, proved to be right. It’s true that my traffic has tripled in the last year, but the overall impact was bigger than that.

Word of caution: all the signs mentioned above are trying to tell you an important story about the brand that you have created. For the sake of your mental health, please understand that there is a difference between your digital brand and yourself. Just because you have created a famous/well respected/popular blog, it doesn’t automatically make you a famous/well respected/popular person. You have just created a powerful blog brand.

Don’t sweat over it too much. And keep having a real life.

42 thoughts on “5 Unusual Ways To Measure Your Online Reputation”

  1. I have to admit that I love all of this except #1, and with that one I think it’s the concept of “aggressive” commentary.

    I don’t mind people disagreeing with me if they make their points because I know what I believe isn’t shared by everyone. However, I do expect a certain amount of decorum, as in no one gets to speak to me or anyone else on my blogs a way they wouldn’t do it in person.

    I’ve almost never had anyone say things to my face in an aggressive way; pays not to be a small person I suppose, but I’ve also never given anyone a reason to be aggressive in person with me. As for the blogs, I figure that they’re there for lots of people, not just one person who doesn’t know how to behave in public, if you will.

    So, if it comes my way, they’re gone. Lucky for me, it’s only happened once in 6 years.

    BTW, is your CommentLuv disabled, since it doesn’t seem to be working?

  2. You’re right 100%. Not long time ago I received a bad comment and try to handle in a polite way.

    Nothing happened or was only my impression because few hours after some friends of mine come and say – you have toooooo many patience..lol

    I have written a little about your amazing point 1 here:


    Multumesc, Dragos


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  4. Good morning, I would like to say many thanks for an awesome blog about a topic I have had an curiosity in for quite some time now. I’ve been browsing in and reading through the responses and just wanted to voice my thanks for giving me some very useful reading material. I anticipate reading more, and taking a more active part in your chats here, whilst picking up some expertise as well 😀

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  6. Dragos,

    Those are definitely unique ways to measure success! I can relate to the third one, I have a google alert set up for my blog and I’ve seen my blog quoted in some unusual places!


  7. Yes! I was giggling earlier today from a trackback to a heavy metal blog. They must have liked the name.

    Reader emails, too, are something that I personally cherish – I have a special folder called Blog Love, and have gone back to read them anytime I’m feeling uninspired. Sometimes it can be tough keeping up with the correspondence, but I think personal responses are integral to long-term success.

    But you’re absolutely right – these metrics are more subjective, but often more accurate. It’s all about your engagement – not your volume.

  8. A great though provoking post. I made some decisions on the hate comments some time back – if they are just expressing another point of view that’s fine (basically I figure if you express an opinion, not everyone will agree with you), but if it’s just vitriol, then it immediately gets deleted, I don’t need that kind of toxic waste in my life.

    • Yeap, I have a quite similar strategy. Only I insert a supplemental step: I ask them politely to leave my blog if we’re not having nothing in common. If they leave, it’s ok.If not, I tend to have a rather greedy “Delete” key on my keyboard.

  9. Dragos,

    I’ve been receiving many of those out of the blue thank you emails which are so great to receive.I think that’s always a sign that you are creating value for people. Really interesting post and thought provoking.

  10. Awesome dude!

    I’m getting some of those hate comments once in a while. It’s definitely a sign I have some unorthodox ideas.

    In a way, i think each hate comment is a sign that many people love what you write, because the kind of content that generates hate from some is the exact kind that generates love from others. Unfortunately, many of those in the love camp are not so eager to express it as the ones in the hate camp.

  11. I like this post, Dragos. It’s really easy as a blogger to get addicted to numbers and stats. It’s a good reminder that influence is about much more than that. Your ways of measuring, I think, are a much stronger indication of one’s true influence on others.

    • Hey Carmen

      Always nice to see you commenting here. As you may already know with your NuNomad Tribe, the thing is to create a real people community, not some pie charts.

  12. Whats up, Dragos ” Sick as name by the way”

    Very true, because when people stop you in the street and start to ask for autographs and picture, that the point where, you have to look yourself and the mirror and ask yourself, ” was this what really wanted?” I think when you do great things. It leads to great success no one cannot see past. Much truth to your words Dragos. Much Truth!

    • Yeah, sick name, i know. But I cannot take credit for it, my parents took care of it even before I was born. 🙂 Also, enjoyed your observations about being famous. As a matter of fact, I think I have a blog post coming soon about that.

  13. Hi Dragos! Today I’ve already have a chance to look through your blog. It’s awesome! Very interesting and exciting articles you write. I like them a lot!

    And this one is no exception. 😉

  14. Gosh I don’t get the bit about Hate comments- what is wrong with those who send it….although you did answer that question. I read this post while my hubby drove us home today and really enjoyed your mature and wise approach to each topic here, Dragos…keep at it, I know this is what feeds your success, current and future!

    • Thanks for the comment Farnoosh, and I think I should add a sixth way here: when you’re read by a blogger your respect and admire, on her way home, well, you nailed it 😉

  15. Hi Dragos,

    I feel that when it comes to trolls (those who leave spiteful comments etc) you need to step back and consider what drives this person to be so petty.

    Most are very insecure types who look for attention, even if it’s negative attention.

    Once one sees it like this, as you suggested above, it’s easier to take it in your stride and not get so offended. Well, sometimes 🙂


    • Trolls are a different species, as you said. They are in need for attention and they’re trolling regardless of your content. If they feel you’re big enough to create a sustainable chunk of attention for them, they’ll dig in. Getting offended or not is just a choice.

  16. Thank you for a wonderful new way to look at hate comments.

    Haven’t gotten any real ones yet, just the SPAM version so far, but now I have a heart-sustaining way of looking at them, which gives me some much-needed confidence.

    So glad I took the time to click! 🙂

    • Well, if you do your job good and for as long as it takes, you will receive some hate comments. Just look at their intrinsic value, don’t take them personal.

  17. Good stuff here. That first one is interesting in that I don’t mind people who disagree with me, but I’m not accepting just any type of language on the blog. If someone’s going to debate me, they’re going to be circumspect with their words or they’re just gone, especially if I’m paying for it. I decided that a long time ago, and I’ve been fairly lucky over the years in not having to deal with it.

    Of course, I wouldn’t mind a few more mentions in other people’s blog posts, but… 🙂

    • I know the feeling, this is why I said you should develop a consistent routine of dealing with those negative comments. You can decide to let them or ditch them, but the bottom line is that once you had them you can bet your reached to a very distant place. And that’s a good thing, reputation wise.

      As for being quoted on other people’s blog posts, well… 😉

  18. Dragos,

    These are such meaningful ways to see that your blog is making an impact. I’m so glad you’ve shared them to inspire us to look beyond the numbers. You’re blog is unique and I understand why your articles really move people. They are brilliant mix of heart and mind.

  19. Hey, this is great to read, as I’m new to blogging, although not new to writing, and well, the figures so far are small! But I do it because, I can’t not do it and it’s a honour to touch even one person, with something you’ve written. So I’ll keep on, keepin’ on! Suzy
    btw, I’m also trying to settle on a theme, so still some work to do…)

    • Hang in there, it will become better as you advance. One of the most important benefits of blogging it wasn’t the amount of money I made out of it (which was and still is important) but the quality of human relationships I formed.

      So, welcome and hang in there 🙂

  20. Delighted things going so well for you Dragos and the reason for this is that your posts are intellligently informative AND warmly human which is definitely the best mix for bloggers. Great post…Mind you…It will be a long time before I reach the stage of fighting ’em off in the streets :O) but in the meantime like you, I am loving the journey online. Also I agree about the negative comments…So many great people out there so off course there’s going to be the occasional lost soul with an angry reaction to your success. Keep ’em coming comrade…

    • Thanks for summoning the courage to leave a comment on the blog here (we’ve been listening to the same music for a while on blipfm and facebook ;- ). Yes, negative comments are one of the most clear signs of a powerful message, although in the beginning is very difficult to “get it” as a blogger. Nice seeing you around 🙂


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