Ex-Speaker Cannon joins online reputation firmby John Kennedy | May 22nd, 2013
In a move that may sound a little like rain on your wedding day, a leading online reputation-building company announced Wednesday that former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon has joined its board of advisors.
ReputationChanger.com, whose website says it is dedicated to “protecting and advocating for our clients’ online images,” is part of a growing industry of digital message-shapers.
Cannon, R-Winter Park, ended his two-year stint as House Speaker last fall and since has opened a Tallahassee lobbying firm, Capitol Insight, with another Republican ex-speaker, Larry Cretul, among his employees.
Cannon’s path from being on the receiving end of lobbying to actually doing lobbying himself isn’t uncommon at the Capitol. But the trajectory became harshly condemned by senators this spring as they crafted a new state ethics law.
The measure approved by lawmakers and signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Rick Scott extends a current, two-year ban on former legislators lobbying the Legislature to include a new, two-year restriction on ex-lawmakers lobbying the executive branch and state agencies.
In a statement, ReputationChanger.com president Michael Zammuto said there was a ”natural synergy” between ReputationChanger.com and Capitol Insight.
“Online reputation management is critical across the political process, and indeed, political campaigns worldwide are won and lost on the basis of online reputation and the effectiveness of their online strategies,” Zammuto said. “As such, ReputationChanger.com has been busily gearing up for the
next election cycle, and expanding our services in the political realm.”
In the company statement, Cannon said, “The usefulness of online reputation management in the political campaign process is difficult to overstate.”
“Just imagine,” he added, “If an unflattering news headline or erroneous accusation come to light, a company like ReputationChanger.com can help political campaigns get the facts of their message out aggressively, and even push those unwanted headlines off the first page of an online search results page. This can be a huge potential advantage for any political campaign.”