Harrison Mulls Paying For Online Reputation Rehab

Aug 24, 2013

The north Arkansas town of Harrison has long been associated with the Ku Klux Klan, creating an image that city leaders say is just not true.

News articles about Harrison’s inglorious past and proximity to the home of national Knights of the K-K-K Director Thom Robb trend toward the top of internet searches of information about the Boone County town.

Robb lives in nearby Zinc Arkansas but for years used a Harrison post office box.

Harrison also saw race riots in 1905 and 1909 that purged the town of almost every black resident and entrenched its identity as a "sundown town," where blacks were warned on posted signs not to stick around after dark.

A company called Reputation Hawk, which specializes in suppressing negative results in search-engine searches, made the first proposal to Harrison’s Advertising Tourist Promotion Commission.

But city leaders want to take positive steps as well, rather than just bury the bad news, so this week they entertained a proposal from Brooks Jeffrey Marketing of Mountain Home to set up a “diversity website” to go along with online reputation monitoring and response, logo creation and other services.

The cost would be $30,000 up front and $15,675 annually thereafter.

Harrison has taken other steps in recent years to fight back against the stereotype, including forming a Race Relations Task force and working with the Arkansas Martin Luther King Junior Commission to host a convention in 2011.