MISSION INTANGIBLE

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MISSION:INTANGIBLE, the blog of the Intangible Asset Finance Society, offers critical comments on intangible asset, corporate reputation, and finance; supplemented by quantitative reputation metrics. Intangible assets include business processes, patents, trademarks; reputations for ethics and integrity; quality, safety, sustainability, security, and resilience; and comprise 70% of the average company's value. MISSION:INTANGIBLE is a registered trademark of the Intangible Asset Finance Society.

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Yahoo: Reputation by the numbers

C. HUYGENS - Thursday, March 06, 2014
Ken Goldman, CFO of Yahoo, was answering a question about the company's nagging human resource problem. ”When we came to the company, and we talked about acquisitions…frankly, companies did not want to be acquired by Yahoo…and for us to even acquire them we would have to pay a ‘Yahoo premium’ because they didn’t want to come here. That’s not the case any more.”

According to Yahoo's chief numbers guy, Marissa Mayer fixed Yahoo's #1 problem. Unfortunately, the actual numbers suggest otherwise. For while the annual report indicates Yahoo received in 2013 more than double the number of job applications it received in 2012, the applicants appear to be following the money. According to the career site Glassdoor, Yahoo was the third-highest-paying company in Silicon Valley for engineers last year, behind Juniper Networks and LinkedIn.

There's a reputation value link to this, and just like a recent note on Warren Buffett, it tracks back to costs. The thing about being a company with a great reputation is that this intangible asset usually provides savings on human resources costs. If a company has to pay an objectively measured premium to recruit employees, then the company's reputation (among labor) is not great.

CFO's should know better than to speak against their numbers. They're supposed to trust numbers - the same numbers trusted by the capital markets. Numbers are spin-free objective measures. It's the point Theodore Porter makes in his book, Trust in Numbers. Numbers are most trusted in environments where elites are weak, where private negotiation is suspect, and where trust is in short supply.

Let's look at some more Yahoo numbers. Yahoo is trading at 31 times earnings, just behind Google's 34x and way ahead of Microsofts' 14x. Those numbers are trustworthy, and they say investors have very high expectations -- arguably, frothy.

The expectations of other stakeholders are reflected in reputation metrics. Like other trusted numbers, they're based on objective quantitative criteria. The good news for Yahoo's stakeholders is that the 85th percentile ranking for the Reputation Premium among 137 peers indicates plenty of upside. It also may indicate that the reputation is not as strong as it could be for a company this prominent, and may explain the salary premium the company has to pay. (Paying top dollar and not making the 50 best places to work says all that another way).  The 4.0% value for the Consensus Trend, CT, suggests that stakeholders are fairly confident that Yahoo's reputation is properly valued.

The upside, therefore, is less likely to be realized, and that will disappoint the equity investors.



For more background on the Consensiv reputation controls, click here. To view the December 2013 reputational value league table, based on Consensiv's metrics, and available exclusively at CFO.com, click here. Last, to read more about how reputational value is linked to stakeholder expectations and enterprise value, read, Reputation Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (Apress, 2012) (click here).

Facebook: Comedy or tragedy?

C. HUYGENS - Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Janus, the Roman god of transitions, is often depicted with two faces and is known to many through the theater masks of comedy and tragedy. Janus is said to have presided over all beginnings and transitions, whether abstract or concrete, sacred or profane. For 21st century cyber-religionists, Janus is the god of Facebook. After paying $19billion for What's App, a messaging service with 450 million users (because it's free) with no significant revenue model, hope and prayer are likely more prominent elements of Facebook management's daily routine.

The reputational value metrics, shown below, reflect the expectations of everyone else. The good news for What's App beneficiaries is that the 81st percentile ranking for the Reputation Premium among 137 peers indicates plenty of upside potential in the equity used to fund the deal; the bad news is that other measures suggest that potential is less likely to manifest over the long-haul. The 13.1% value for the Consensus Trend, CT, for example, is usually a leading indicator of major equity market changes. So while the sector Internet Software/Services sector has been unusually volatile, and great upside can be a volatile event, the high CT value is most critically an indication of stakeholder uncertainty, and that always translates into a bumpy ride for the short-term.



For more background on the Consensiv reputation controls, click here. To view the December 2013 reputational value league table, based on Consensiv's metrics, and available exclusively at CFO.com, click here. Last, to read more about how reputational value is linked to stakeholder expectations and enterprise value, read, Reputation Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (Apress, 2012) (click here).

Business Maxim from the Beach

C. HUYGENS - Tuesday, March 04, 2014
It may be too cold to be on a beach, but if you're going to think about it anyway, think about this: beach safety.

To build a better reputation, it is far better to identify and mitigate the sources of risk than to try and respond to a crisis, even on the beach. Jonathan Salem Baskin explains that for lifeguards in Florida,

success is measured by how many so called ‘prevents’ are made. That’s the number of people lifeguards approach to prevent them from getting into trouble by pointing out rip currents and other beach hazards. In 2009, there were 4,879 prevents. That number swelled to 16,450 in 2013 by pushing the notion that a lifeguard’s job is about serving the people who come to the island instead of sitting in a lifeguard tower waiting for someone to yell ‘Help!’”

Read more.

Buffett Buys Businesses At Bargains and Deputies at Discount

C. HUYGENS - Monday, March 03, 2014
If you have not yet caught on that reputation is much bigger than brand marketing, and if the fear of personal reputational damage doesn't motivate reputation-linked changes in your company's governance, controls and risk management strategy, try this incentive: cost savings.

Warren Buffett's reputation creates cost benefits. Business Insider reports: "Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder letter explains that 'If you treat people well, they'll often sell their companies to you and work for you for less than they would the competition.'

These cost savings can be applied to investments in reputation protection, as when Berkshire purchased for BNSF rolling stock that exceeds safety requirements and reduces the risk of deadly railroad fireballs. The reputation burnishment Berkshire gained from taking a position opposite the one the auto manufacturer took when confronted with the risk of deadly Ford Pinto fireballs reinforces stakeholder expectations of responsible behavior. This creates further goodwill (lay definition, not accounting definition.) "This strategy of creating goodwill to get lower prices is an explicit part of Berkshire's strategy."

A superior reputation creates value in many tangible and intangible ways. While most of the value eventually becomes apparent on the profit and loss statement, there are good reasons to signal the benefits of better reputation management to those who can appreciate and value it.

Warren Buffett's annual investment letter may be the most followed corporate communication in the world. If you don't have Warren Buffett's cachet, consider Reputational Value Insurance. Like a warranty, this index-linked insurance tells stakeholders that the company has the requisite risk controls to protect its reputational value, a message that by themselves neither Public Relations nor Investor Relations can credibly deliver.

Read More.

RepuStars 2014 February 28

C. HUYGENS - Sunday, March 02, 2014

Weekly Reputation Index Metrics


At the close of trading February 28, 2014, REPUVART and REPUVAR stood at 3523.51 and 2946.34 respectively. Over the past four weeks, the former has changed by 5.24%, while the latter has changed by 5.11%. The benchmark S&P500 Composite Index stood at 1619.62 (31 Dec 2001=1000) and has changed over the past four weeks by 4.31%. The current calendar year spread between REPUVAR and the S&P500 is -4.02%.

Over the trailing twelve months, REPUVART and REPUVAR have, respectively, changed by 10.61% and 8.16% respectively; the S&P500 Composite Index has changed by 22.76%. The trailing 12-month spread between REPUVAR and the S&P500 is -14.60%.

Over the trailing 36 months, the REPUVART and REPUVAR have changed by 36.90% and 30.06% respectively; the S&P 500 Composite Index has changed by 42.34%.

The 4-week, trailing 12-month, and trailing 36-month returns for REPUSPX are 2.50%, 29.21%, and 86.00% respectively. The trailing 12-month spread between REPUSPX and the S&P500 is 6.45%.

The spreads between the S&P500-only index informed by reputation metrics, REPUSPX, and the broad market index informed by reputation metrics, REPUVAR, for the calendar year and for the trailing twelve months respectively are -0.48% and 21.05%.

Other interval changes in the magnitude of the indices are shown in the tables and charts below.

Analysis

This week was like last week if you’re not paying too much attention to the dramatic geopolitical events of the past few days in western China or eastern Ukraine. Large companies are looking stronger as they pare workers, and inexpensive capital continues to fuel the equity markets at the expense of the tried-and-true safe haven for funds. The bellwether is PIMCO, which was hit with a record $41 billion in redemptions at the start of the year. From this week’s Financial Times:

Although Pimco points out that Mr Gross has beaten returns from the bond market as a whole, his fund was outperformed by 71 out of 100 funds in its category over the past year, according to Morningstar. This year has also started poorly, with returns ranking in the bottom half of all funds since the start of 2014.

The greatest gains in the RepuStars Variety portfolio for 2014 year are being reported by Cavium (CAVM) which leaps to first place with returns of 19.65% Right Aid Corp (RAD) slips back to second with a 17.89% return year to date. Silver Wheaton (SLW) slip back to third with returns of 17.00%. These are three of the 41 firms identified by the RepuStars Variety algorithm at the start of 2014 as value opportunities.

As for those whose reputational value may have been overestimated, Rent-A-Center is in the stocks with returns of -21.07, Mobile TeleSystems (MBT) is down further at -13.42% and Yanzhou Coal Mining (YZC) is back at -11.56% for the year.

Turning to RepuSPX whose constituents are limited to the S&P500 members, the top three performers in a portfolio of 31 names are Walgreen Company (WAG) up from second at 13.46%, Ameren (AEE) at 11.72%, and back on the top-three chart for 2014, AutoNation (AN) at 9.14%

Side Note: A description of the portfolio constituents and historical returns data from December 31, 2001 can be obtained on request from Technology Option Capital, its manager. Click Here.

Background

The RepuStars® Variety Corporate Reputation Index calculated by S&P/Dow Jones Indexes is the first-ever composite equity index based on a quantitative value strategy informed by the Steel City Re Reputational Value Metrics. The metrics comprise non-financial indicators of reputational value (RVM) and ranking (CRR). These are the same metrics that power the reputation controls provided by Consensiv, and the league table of reputational value, the Consensiv 50,  published periodically, and most recently January 1, 2014, by CFO.com.

The RepuStars Variety Corporate Reputation Index has two versions: a total returns index and a price index, whose ticker symbols are, respectively, REPUVART and REPUVAR.  Click on the ticker names for real time quotes.

The RepuStars Variety Corporate Reputation Index tracks up to 57 company stocks that appear to be underpriced relative to  Steel City Re’s proprietary Reputational Value Metrics™, which track 7400 companies weekly. The principles behind measuring reputational value are described in the book, Reputation, Stock Price, and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (2012, Apress).

The RepuStars indices are reconstituted annually in the first week of January and posted by S&P/Dow Jones Indexes in the third week. The Indices were last reconstituted 18 Jan 2014.

REPUSPX  is a pocket index with portfolio constituents being selected algorithmically by the same criteria as the constituents for REPUVAR and REPUVART, except that the field of eligible companies is limited to constituents of the S&P500 composite equity index.

The strategy used to pick the constituent members of REPUSPX, REPUVAR and REPUVART is discussed in the book, Reputation, Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (Apress, 2012). (Link below)

Reputation, Risk and Finance

Reputation management through superior control of a company's intangible assets may be one of the best paths to value creation today. If it is not on your agenda, perhaps it should be. Here are several things you can do right now to start creating value for your organization:

1. Become better informed. Participate in our regular Mission Intangible Monthly Briefings held on the second Friday of every month, read the book, Reputation, Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (2012)  or its predecessor, Mission: Intangible. Managing risk and reputation to create enterprise value (2010), available at the IAFS Store, specialty finance sector retailers, or other leading online book retailers
2. Become a member of the Intangible Asset Finance Society and engage.
3. Join our community on Linked-In and stay in the information flow.

Notices

S&P Dow Jones Indices is a registered trademark of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a part of McGraw Hill Financial; RepuStars and Steel City Re” are registered trademarks of C. Huygens & Co. LLC. The method underpinning the RepuStars Variety indexes is subject to a pending patent assigned to C. Huygens & Co. LLC. S&P McGraw Hill Financial and its affiliate (S&P Dow Jones Indices) makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the ability of any index to accurately represent the asset class or market sector that it purports to represent and McGraw Hill Financial shall have no liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of any index or the data included therein. Past performance of an index is not an indication of future results. All information provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of any person, entity or group of persons. S&P Dow Jones Indices receives compensation in connection with licensing its indices to third parties. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Exposure to an asset class represented by an index is available through investable instruments offered by third parties that are based on that index. S&P Dow Jones Indices does not sponsor, endorse, sell, promote or manage any investment fund or other investment vehicle that seeks to provide an investment return based on the performance of any Index. Investment products based on the RepuStars Variety Corporate Reputation Indexes are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC, or their respective affiliates and none of Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC and their respective affiliates make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such products. Inclusion of a company in any of the indexes in this piece does not in any way reflect an opinion of Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC or any of their respective affiliates on the investment merits of such company. None of Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC or any of their respective affiliates is providing investment advice in connection with these indexes.

Barclays: What new sheriff?

C. HUYGENS - Thursday, February 27, 2014
After a run of scandals at the global bank, it was hoped that the new boss, Antony Jenkins, would right Barclays' (BCS) tilted culture and restore its reputation. Last year, Huygens shared this encouraging indicator of commitment from Barclay's annual report:

In order to strengthen the governance relating to reputation matters, we have recategorised reputation risk as a new Principal Risk and have created a Board Conduct, Reputation and Operational Risk Committee in 2013. The Barclays Reputation Council created a Bank wide Reputation Risk Control Framework and Reputation Risk Impact/Control Policy, both of which were approved by the Board. The Council has also delivered training on reputation risk to senior executives across the bank to ensure the knowledge and culture is embedded.

Fast forward some 48 weeks and the expectations set by those lofty words appear hollow. As Jonathan Salem Baskin noted last week, the bank's reputation is still wrecked.

Moving from the qualitative to the quantitative, the reputational value profile of Barclays, according to Consensiv and based on Steel City Re's reputational value metrics, is shown below. The Reputation Premium is at the 10th percentile relative to 49 companies in the Major Banks sectors, and the Consensus Trend, CT, has been hovering below both 2.5% and the median of the peer group. The Consensus Benchmark is 6.4%.

These data suggest that stakeholders, like Charlie Brown, have repeatedly raised their expectations only to be disappointed time and again. Control processes and communications are both being under-managed, and much value is being destroyed in the wake of failed governance.



For more background on the Consensiv reputation controls, click here. To view the December 2013 reputational value league table, based on Consensiv's metrics, and available exclusively at CFO.com, click here. Last, to read more about how reputational value is linked to stakeholder expectations and enterprise value, read, Reputation Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (Apress, 2012) (click here).

Berkshire Invests $600M for Its Reputation

C. HUYGENS - Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Canadian National Railway is charging shippers more to transport crude oil in older tank cars, one of the first signs that rail operators are actively discouraging use of the type of cars involved in several dramatic explosions. BNSF, on the other hand, is investing $600m to buy a fleet of 5,000 tank cars to ship crude oil and ethanol, using specs that exceed the most stringent industry standards approved in October 2011.

If you are a customer, which of the three railroads is telling you they care that you are operating as safely as possible? Will it impact your purchase decision? Of if you are an employee, which of the three is offering you a source of pride? Now view the above from the perspective of creditors: which railroad is the longer term safe bet,? How about from the perspective of regulators: which one has signaled to you they are really trying -- a factor that you as a regulator must by law consider if an adverse event occurs?

Cutting to the chase, the potential for reputational value is created through operational controls that enable a business to meet or exceed stakeholder expectations. Reputational value is realized when stakeholders are able to transparently appreciate and value the investment.

When you are Warren Buffett, analysts watch your every move and report it to the world in big headlines. If you are not Warren Buffett, then you need a more creative approach to communicating reputational value in a way analysts will recognize that your commitment is authentic and not merely marketing pablum. Reputational Value Insurance, anyone?

Lest the concern over cost lead to hesitation, remember, when things go wrong for a company, they can go terribly wrong for its directors and officers on a very personal level. Warren Buffet would not risk the reputation he built over a lifetime; neither should you. Read more.

Coca Cola: Things used to go better

C. HUYGENS - Monday, February 24, 2014
Although Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are tapping emerging markets for growth and sell a wide array of beverages, the two companies are struggling to stem the decline in their flagship soda business back at home. Americans have been cutting back on soda bit by bit for years. Today, Coke just isn't what it used to be (See Reputation Metrics, Dec 2011) and most of its stakeholders are cognizant, at least according to the most recent reputation metrics shown below.

When Coke announced last week that fourth-quarter profit fell, the market was shocked sending the company stock  down 3.7%. But investors would have been less shocked had they been tracking the reputation metrics where the reputational value profile of The Coca Cola Compamy, according to Consensiv and based on Steel City Re's reputational value metrics, is shown below. Among the 18 companies in its peer group, Beverages: Non-Alcoholic, the Reputation Premium was near the top of the heap but over the past six weeks has drifted to the 71st percentile. Concurrently, the Consensus Trend, CT, has been rising to the top quartile. The combined movement of these reputation metrics indicate lost value from evolving expectations and uncertainty.

Coke also announced that it will save $1billion in costs even as it boosts marketing to stimulate demand. One might argue this is a fool's mission authorized by desperate executives; but those in the know appreciate that Marketing (caps "M") includes product development. Coke as a source of buzz is losing ground to energy drinks and coffee because, well, all that sugary brown water that Steve Jobs derided is just that to the generation that grew up on Apples, Macs, and iPhones.

There may also be an opportunity for that other aspect of marketing -- promotion. Because this is the generation that looks at Coke's supply chains and cares about who is making their beverages, under what working conditions, and with what ingredients, there may be an additional opportunity to realize value. Huygens calls the "who, what and how" the basic questions that expose the drivers of reputational value. Granted, this generation is cynical and will not succumb to conventional marketing ploys, but if Coke could come up with a unique way to create transparency into its highly ethical, safe, and sustainable processes that could be appreciated and valued by its stakeholders, what then?



For more background on the Consensiv reputation controls, click here. To view the December 2013 reputational value league table, based on Consensiv's metrics, and available exclusively at CFO.com, click here. Last, to read more about how reputational value is linked to stakeholder expectations and enterprise value, read, Reputation Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (Apress, 2012) (click here).

RepuStars 2014 February 21

C. HUYGENS - Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weekly Reputation Index Metrics


At the close of trading February 21, 2014, REPUVART and REPUVAR stood at 3489.22 and 2918.92 respectively. Over the past four weeks, the former has changed by 3.10%, while the latter has changed by 3.00%. The benchmark S&P500 Composite Index stood at 1599.41 (31 Dec 2001=1000) and has changed over the past four weeks by 2.57%. The current calendar year spread between REPUVAR and the S&P500 is -3.66%.

Over the trailing twelve months, REPUVART and REPUVAR have, respectively, changed by 10.17% and 7.74% respectively; the S&P500 Composite Index has changed by 22.22%. The trailing 12-month spread between REPUVAR and the S&P500 is -14.48%.

Over the trailing 36 months, the REPUVART and REPUVAR have changed by 34.77% and 28.09% respectively; the S&P 500 Composite Index has changed by 39.59%.

The 4-week, trailing 12-month, and trailing 36-month returns for REPUSPX are 1.35%, 27.42%, and 79.86% respectively. The trailing 12-month spread between REPUSPX and the S&P500 is 5.20%.

The spreads between the S&P500-only index informed by reputation metrics, REPUSPX, and the broad market index informed by reputation metrics, REPUVAR, for the calendar year and for the trailing twelve months respectively are 0.20% and 19.69%.

Other interval changes in the magnitude of the indices are shown in the tables and charts below.

Analysis

The equity markets remain hot and the appetite for risk is growing to the benefit of all the companies that missed out on the surge last year. In what is either a game of catch up for a diversity of firms buoyed by a frothy market, or too much money chasing deals and steering clear of obviously overvalued assets such as the S&P500, private equity was unloading through IPOs a diversity of assets acquired over the recent past. No, Huygens is not going to try to explain the $19B valuation for What’s App, but it does help explain the narrow 0.20% difference between RepuStars Variety and REPUSPX for the calendar year.

The greatest gains in the RepuStars Variety portfolio for 2014 year are being reported by Right Aid Corp (RAD) with a stunning 19.32% return year to date. Silver Wheaton (SLW) slip back to second with returns of 18.42, and Cavium (CAVM) slips back to third with returns of 14.31%. These are three of the 41 firms identified by the RepuStars Variety algorithm at the start of 2014 as value opportunities.

As for those whose reputational value may have been overestimated, Rent-A-Center is in the stocks with returns of -23.86, Mobile TeleSystems (MBT) is down further at -12.17 and Con-way is trailing but up slightly at -8.79% for the year.

Turning to RepuSPX whose constituents are limited to the S&P500 members, the top three performers in a portfolio of 31 names are Ameren (AEE) at 13.02%, Walgreen Company (WAG) up from third at 10.74%, and last week’s leader, Pepco Holdings (POM), at 10.53%

Side Note: A description of the portfolio constituents and historical returns data from December 31, 2001 can be obtained on request from Technology Option Capital, its manager. Click Here.

Background

The RepuStars® Variety Corporate Reputation Index calculated by S&P/Dow Jones Indexes is the first-ever composite equity index based on a quantitative value strategy informed by the Steel City Re Reputational Value Metrics. The metrics comprise non-financial indicators of reputational value (RVM) and ranking (CRR). These are the same metrics that power the reputation controls provided by Consensiv, and the league table of reputational value, the Consensiv 50,  published periodically, and most recently January 1, 2014, by CFO.com.

The RepuStars Variety Corporate Reputation Index has two versions: a total returns index and a price index, whose ticker symbols are, respectively, REPUVART and REPUVAR.  Click on the ticker names for real time quotes.

The RepuStars Variety Corporate Reputation Index tracks up to 57 company stocks that appear to be underpriced relative to  Steel City Re’s proprietary Reputational Value Metrics™, which track 7400 companies weekly. The principles behind measuring reputational value are described in the book, Reputation, Stock Price, and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (2012, Apress).

The RepuStars indices are reconstituted annually in the first week of January and posted by S&P/Dow Jones Indexes in the third week. The Indices were last reconstituted 18 Jan 2014.

REPUSPX  is a pocket index with portfolio constituents being selected algorithmically by the same criteria as the constituents for REPUVAR and REPUVART, except that the field of eligible companies is limited to constituents of the S&P500 composite equity index.

The strategy used to pick the constituent members of REPUSPX, REPUVAR and REPUVART is discussed in the book, Reputation, Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (Apress, 2012). (Link below)

Reputation, Risk and Finance

Reputation management through superior control of a company's intangible assets may be one of the best paths to value creation today. If it is not on your agenda, perhaps it should be. Here are several things you can do right now to start creating value for your organization:

1. Become better informed. Participate in our regular Mission Intangible Monthly Briefings held on the second Friday of every month, read the book, Reputation, Stock Price and You: Why the market rewards some companies and punishes others (2012)  or its predecessor, Mission: Intangible. Managing risk and reputation to create enterprise value (2010), available at the IAFS Store, specialty finance sector retailers, or other leading online book retailers
2. Become a member of the Intangible Asset Finance Society and engage.
3. Join our community on Linked-In and stay in the information flow.

Notices

S&P Dow Jones Indices is a registered trademark of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a part of McGraw Hill Financial; RepuStars and Steel City Re” are registered trademarks of C. Huygens & Co. LLC. The method underpinning the RepuStars Variety indexes is subject to a pending patent assigned to C. Huygens & Co. LLC. S&P McGraw Hill Financial and its affiliate (S&P Dow Jones Indices) makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the ability of any index to accurately represent the asset class or market sector that it purports to represent and McGraw Hill Financial shall have no liability for any errors, omissions, or interruptions of any index or the data included therein. Past performance of an index is not an indication of future results. All information provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices is general in nature and not tailored to the needs of any person, entity or group of persons. S&P Dow Jones Indices receives compensation in connection with licensing its indices to third parties. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Exposure to an asset class represented by an index is available through investable instruments offered by third parties that are based on that index. S&P Dow Jones Indices does not sponsor, endorse, sell, promote or manage any investment fund or other investment vehicle that seeks to provide an investment return based on the performance of any Index. Investment products based on the RepuStars Variety Corporate Reputation Indexes are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC, or their respective affiliates and none of Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC and their respective affiliates make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in such products. Inclusion of a company in any of the indexes in this piece does not in any way reflect an opinion of Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC or any of their respective affiliates on the investment merits of such company. None of Technology Option Capital, LLC, C. Huygens & Co, LLC, Steel City Re, LLC or any of their respective affiliates is providing investment advice in connection with these indexes.

Google: More reputation business

C. HUYGENS - Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Google and reputation -- not as catchy as soup and sandwich or horse and carriage, but you get the drift. At  the start of the year, Google's reputation took a dive from controversial behavior. Read more here. Now the shoe is on the other hoof. Some German fellow's reputation allegedly took a dive from controversial behavior readily rehashed by Google's algorithms.

So which is it, Marshall McLuhan? Is the medium the message that shapes reputation, as the German courts have ruled, or is the behavior the message that the medium highlights? Read more on the medium, the message and reputation according to the German courts, here.

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