The New York City Housing Agency that regulates NYC housing is having financial difficulties and gaining a poor reputation. In pursuit of good publicity, they hired a Seattle company to suppress any negative results about the agency that are pulled up by Google searches. They want to repair their reputation on the Internet. They need good news spread out about the agency and are willing to assume the expense to pay for it.
And they did pay for it, to the tune of $100,000. They hired a firm to eliminate any negativity about them on the Internet. NYCHA is intent on telling their story in the way they want it told, and that is all in a positive way.
One consulting firm worked for them previously using reputation management expertise. Rebecca Bilbao, CEO of Search Impact consulting, is a specialist in managing business reputations as well as crisis communication. Her company worked for them for a year.
Although the NYCHA has an in-house public relations department, they sought outside help to improve their image. They state that all companies in the private sector do this sort of thing to repair their reputation when necessary.
They find it a detriment that people must go through many pages of search engine results before what they are looking for comes up. One of the results is that the housing authority has a deficit. Annually, their budget totals approximately $50 million, but, the budget rose to over $3 billion.
Recently they were criticized about the poor condition of some buildings they are responsible for. Now they feel they should not have spent $1,000 for outside public relations. Any bad publicity should not have been exacerbated further.
It seems inadvisable to continue with the same agency for that reason. Sheila Stainback claims that the agency’s in-house staff does not have the experience needed to resolve the online difficulties. It seems to prove her assessment correct when they continue to get bad publicity.
The most recent blot on their reputation is the accusation that they would not make public the report detailing difficulties, made after a consultant was paid $10 million dollars for it. It contained the tenant’s criticism of the poor condition of several buildings managed by NYCHA.
A recent Google search produced nine positive results. Google pulled up the agency’s web site. However, following those, questions about possible problems were indicated in the results from the tenth entry and after. Apparently, the public relations people have more work ahead before all negativity is dealt with.