Blogs and blog comments are great for a small business owner because they allow you to socialize with others within your niche, which can indirectly promote your business.
This is true for both your own blog and comments on others, but one thing you have to be careful of is a commenter who is out to make you look bad.
Sometimes, it is your own fault, and sometimes, they are just being out of line, but either one can be damaging to your online reputation.
It is often tempting to defend yourself in either scenario, which can end up turning into a "flame war" which is always annoying to other readers. This will also reflect poorly on your reputation.
If you feel passionately about your stance and can keep responses in a professional light, you can also keep your reputation in this light, but when your resort to insults, that is when it gets ugly.
So how do you control your reputation in such a situation?
First off, if you know you are wrong, admit it from the start. People will appreciate your honesty and accept that you are human and make mistakes just like everybody else.
If you feel that you are not wrong, but others insist that you are, the best thing you can do is provide as many facts and details that support your view and leave it at that. Again, if you keep it professional, you will probably not hurt your online reputation too much. You may lose a battle of "flames", but you can rest easy knowing that you are the better man/woman and know that others that see your comments will understand what you’re about.
In the end, you’re really representing yourself how you want to, and no matter what anybody else says to you or about you, you have the power to defend yourself and represent your business professionally.