You are only as good as your reputation. For small business owners, this sentiment is even more true and harder to maintain with the vastness of online social networks.

While small business owners can’t afford to ignore social networks, they don’t have to fall prey to identity theft that damages their reputation and business. A host of software and services look to help protect a business’ reputation on the Web; check out which one is best for you business.  

ReputationDefender’s MyReputation

ReputationDefender’s agents will search for every online reference of you and your business on and report back with a comprehensive monthly report on where your name and business are popping up.

According to the company, agents search more than 40 of the biggest social networks as well as all over the Internet. The service costs $14.95 a month, $12.95 a month for a one-year plan and $9.95 a month for a two-year plan.

If you want to optimize searches for your name or business you can use the company’s MyEdge service. For $599 a year you get an improved Web presence, search engine optimization, professionally-written biographies and promotion of existing Web content.

KnowEm

This Internet service lets you check for the use of your name, brand or product on more than 400 social media Web sites. While identifying where your name is being used online is important, it’s even better to be able to contact each site to have the name released and returned to you—this is where KnowEm comes in handy.

According to the company, it has helped to reserve more than 350,000 profiles and reported back to clients instances of more than 25,000 issues of squatting and misrepresentation of a brand. For small businesses the service costs $249 and covers 100 social networks.

Online Reputation Manager 

If your reputation has already been slammed on the Internet and you are looking to do some damage control you might want to check out Online Reputation Managers.

The service starts with an analysis of when, where and how the negative postings were generated. The service identifies who owns or manages the sites or pages hosting the negative content, determines the extent of the damage and figures out what keyword or search phrases bring up the information. The company will create a plan to combat the negative information, which could include deploying a legal team to handle any copy right infringements, pushing positive content up higher in search listings and creating new positive content to counter any negative content. Since the plan is customized for each business you’ll have to contact the company to get a quote. 

Submit In Me 

Facebook and Twitter may dominate the social networking world, but there are numerous other players.  With roughly 150 social networks, a small business owner has to make sure their identity isn’t stolen. Submit In Me can help with that.

The company’s Social Media Identity Protection service will sign up for all of the social networks for you. That, according to the company, can prevent someone else, perhaps a competitor, from claiming your identity.  All sign ups are done manually and in three business days you can be a registered user of all 150. The service costs between $145 to $280 depending on the level you choose. For a higher fee, the company will create your profiles on the networks.

Reputation Management Partners 

Ripoffreport.com lets consumers report incidents when they were scammed or cheated by a company. If your small business lands on the Web site, whether or not it is true, it can follow hunt your online reputation for a long time. 

Reputation Management Partners works with reputation management companies to get you removed from the Web site. Sure, you could try things on your own like taking legal action against Ripoffreport.com or the person that posted the claim, changing the company name or posting rebuttals, but according to Reputation Management Partners you won’t have to waste the time and money associated with that if you give them a call.