Forget Publicists, All The Cool Kids Have Online Reputation Managers

from the are-you-serious? dept

It's been well-documented that Google has become something of the mythical permanent record teachers warned you about as kids. There are plenty of stories about people losing jobs or discovering dubious information about dates using Google. A few years back, services popped up claiming that they could scrub your online record clean -- though, how successful such services could be was certainly called into question. However, it appears that those services have morphed into a new, somewhat scary, category called online reputation management. While it's to be expected that corporations might have people monitoring online reputations, it's quite another thing to have individuals hire firms to do the same thing. From the description in the article, it sounds like this involves a combination of search engine optimization, plus legal bullying of anyone who says something you don't like. If anything, that sounds like a recipe for more trouble, but you can see how it would appeal to those who are unhappy with how they're perceived online. Obviously, it's no fun to have something bad about you exposed online, but efforts to suppress that information have a decent likelihood of backfiring and serving to highlight that information. I wonder if these online reputation managers have malpractice insurance for when that happens?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    The Procrastinator, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:00am

    I'll leave a comment later...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Urza, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:02am

    I like my name

    My name is rather common. And my last name is Flowers, so you end up getting pages and pages of flower shops whose owners happen to share my first name. I do however periodically search with my name and hometown and name and screen name and remove whatever I find...but usually there's only one or two results.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:27am

    some 1 should tell the lawyer from http://techdirt.com/articles/20080128/02263889.shtml about that service

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Maybe 1984 wasn't like "1984" but

    In "1984" Winston Smith and his fellows actually had to go round up all the old newspapers and destroy them to change the past. The real Party of EngSoc will have a much easier time: they'll just send out a takedown notice for the offending web page.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    nipseyrussell, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:55am

    "I do however periodically search with my name and hometown and name and screen name and remove whatever I find"
    and by remove, you mean what???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 8:59am

    I have a relatively uncommon name, but searching for me finds another guy with the same name, same area of origin (I travel a lot but came from the Bay Area) and a similar profession. Except this guy is a lot more crass than I am.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    Sorry. I'll tone down my comments so you don't look as bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 11:00am

    It would be appreciated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 11:34am

    I have stuff written about me in various corners of the internet, though there has been way more about me in the past, what is left now is the remnants of what I simply cannot get the website owners to remove. It didn't take me too long to get a lot of stuff removed, all it takes 95% of the time is a simple email to the webmaster, if they refuse to comply then I threaten legal action, although I wouldn't take it that far, most webmasters simply don't want to take the risk and just comply with me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Dave, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 11:42am

    What to do to fix CDA 230?

    It seems the real problem here is CDA 230. A webhost (like AutoAdmit or Encyclopedia Drmatica) can know that it has completely libelous and false information on its site, but then claim immunity under the Communications Decency Act. The real response is to sue the person who posted the libel, but if they used TOR or a proxy then there's nothing that can be done to find them.

    Then the anonymous libel just gets left up on the site forever.

    It'd be a much better system that if the original poster can't be found then the webhost has to be willing to take down the material or to defend it in court. It'd still take a subpoena to get IP addreses, just change the rules when the OP can't be found. Otherwise sites like ED and AutoAdmit can knowingly profit from libel, and intentionally be jerks about removing stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Michael B. Del Camp, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 12:10pm

    This is what I need -- Online Reputation Managemen

    Because I have had such a terrible time getting a job, and think either my by now lousy credit or the government or some kind of corporate or Republican network is "badmouthing" me, I think this is exactly the kind of reputation protection service that someone like myself could benefit from. Have my medical records been leaked? Are former employers bad talking me? Is it the absence of former agencies for whom I claim a year or more of work here or there? What with John McCain running as "the Manchurian Candidate" having spent years unsupervised in thrall to his North Vietnamese prison guards, did you know that Americans will not even be considered for a federal job in the U.S. Government nowadays, if you have travelled overseas for more than two weeks within the ten years of your background that they check? Also, those government jobs with benefits pay much better than private sector jobs, on the average. No wonder my private enterprise efforts at employment are so frustrating. Pretty soon, America will have no advantages and every disadvantage internationally, in business and economics and leading new enterprises and worker satisfaction levels. Case in point? Why, myself, of course! http://www.myspace.com/italosuave (check out my blogs) and http://www.youtube.com/mdelcamp1 (check out my channel(s)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    LiberaceLivesOn, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Filling a void in the law

    If #10 is right, then there's a loophole in the law right now that lets really nasty things (like threats to rape and false accusations of having STDs) stay online with no recourse. You can't find the person who posted it, and the website claims to have no duty to take it down.

    Looks like ReputationDefender is filling a pretty big void left by the law. Can we fix the loophole in CDA 230 instead? There has to be protection for legitimate whistleblowers, but some way for innocent victims to get recourse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Jeffrey Henderson, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 3:51pm

    Reputable Reputation Management Firm

    Thanks Techdirt for bringing attention to this issue. I work for DONE! SEO, a leading provider for SERM services. You can find more info about us here:

    http://www.doneseo.com/serm/

    Here's some recent press about our firm.

    http://www.tbrnews.com/articles/2008/01/31/business/business.txt

    Jeff Henderson
    Business Development
    DONE! SEO
    www.doneseo.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    A victim, Feb 1st, 2008 @ 11:14pm

    Don't belittle this issue

    As someone who has suffered defamation online, I find the tone of this article offensive. Trying to have such material removed is not legal bullying; it's standing up to bullies.

    Some of these people are quite arrogant in dealing with people they regard as powerless individuals. It's quite satisfying to see them backdown when lawyers become involved.

    We need better laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Benjamin Wright, Feb 2nd, 2008 @ 10:01am

    Social Network Terms of Service

    To legally prevent an employer from using info from a social networking site, one might post terms of use that forbid such use. The idea is not legal advice, but it is something to think about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    citizenj, Feb 4th, 2008 @ 7:34am

    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

    Interesting to see the parallels between online reps and the idea of 'whuffie' put out in C. Doctorow's 'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom'. You can read it online for free. That said, if someone's putting bad stuff out there about you, counteract it by getting friends, family and even yourself to put good stuff out there about you, duh.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Reputation Management, May 24th, 2008 @ 3:42pm

    Great topic

    I know reputation management would explode a few years ago and I think eventually it will overtake SEO in revenue generated.

    Think about it, only companies need marketing, everyone needs reputation management.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Amit Mehta, Jun 16th, 2008 @ 11:42pm

    repuated seo firm

    hi it was really use ful for me information about he seo Services,search engine optimisation for seo regarding category. To know more about search engine optimization seo india,seo firm India delhi,search engine marketing,search engine optimisation,internet marketing, website promotion SEO Services visit: www.unisoft-technologies.com

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    SEO Services, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 11:12pm

    nice post

    hi, this post is supervb, i bookmarked your post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    website promotion, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 8:59pm

    website promotion

    Your article is much more informatics for all of the visitor. I am very happy to read it. This is really very nice. Thank you for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Online Marketing, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 9:02pm

    Online Marketing

    Great post. Blogs are a very natural way to attract links. I’d love to see a post on how to get your company to blog. Particularly if you are dealing with a large, conservative company.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    search marketing, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 6:00pm

    search marketing

    very useful articles…..I think seo off site more important and power full for geeting free traffic than seo on site, I already implemented for my web……so I am focus on off site optimisation…thanks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Peter Markant, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:05pm

    Markant

    So how does the future look to this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    eorganics, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 1:42am

    Good Post

    Offsite SEO is more important than onsite but without proper onsite SEO you cannot get high rankings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Spartan Internet, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 11:29pm

    Hi Its Great post. Blogs are a very nice way to attract links. I impress to see this post on how to get your company to blog. thanks for this fantastic post. Get more information to spartan ...Spartan Internet Consulting, Spartan Internet, Spartan Internet Marketing Consulting

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Brennan, May 21st, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Wow

    I run an online reputation management company and I do not think this is something needed by the everyday person. We focus our services on businesses and high profile individuals as there may be things pop up in search engines that can lose them money and damage their reputation which could have many negative consequences. I think it is ridiculous for just the regular school kid to be needing a service such as that because in all reality no one will be searching their name and there is not much ROI involved. There have been cases such as nude/derogatory photos, personal information in documents and PDF's, and so on have gotten out and they need those taken down which usually ends up being a joint effort between our company and a law firm. Would love to speak with anyone who may need these services for their company. The Sayre Group

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Jessy, Jan 4th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    Thank you for sharing this article. Feel free to comment on my Blog

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    gigsport, Feb 24th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Gig Sports

    Gig Sport is an online ticket seller specialised in getting hard to find tickets for sold out music, theatre, festivals and sporting events at premium and competitive prices with Satisfaction Guaranteed Our aim is to provide fans with an excellent choice of Music tickets at a competitive market value. We want our customers to feel confident and secure so every ticket purchased from us is 100% guaranteed. http://www.gigsport.com

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    karl@_Free Fast And Quick Backlinks, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 4:44am

    Thisz a especially nice Blog. Gratitude for the noble post! You've made some excellent points here. And confidently most community will agree with you. Thanks though, Im thankful some people share skilled stuff like this! It will greatly assist me in my

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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Li Ma, Mar 18th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    Interesting

    Online reputation and online image are becoming more important than they ever were, from another blog that I recently read, Internet Marketing has become the new "word-of-mouth" marketing strategy. It can be very effective and efficient.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    search engine optimisation sydney, Apr 6th, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    search engine optimisation sydney

    Google is TOP!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    limo in dc, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    appreciation

    there r a lot of a lot of excellent points on this page...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    amplifeid phones, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Thanks - great post as usual! There are some great things to be learnt looking at those sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    unknown, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:40am

    I have a relatively uncommon name, but searching for me finds another guy with the same name, same area of origin (I travel a lot but came from the Bay Area) and a similar profession. Except this guy is a lot more crass than I am.
    SEO Pricing

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    seo firm, Sep 1st, 2010 @ 8:47am

    can't believe everything you read

    It's a shame that there are people out there who think if it's found on Google it must be truth. You can't believe everything you read people. Online reputation management sounds fishy to me. If you hire an seo firm to do your online marketing for you they will put more good things out there about you to outweigh anything bad that may be lingering.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    samantha, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Seo Company

    Excellent post. Really you are provide more information about seo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Timothy Weissbrot, Mar 30th, 2011 @ 6:05am

    Online Reputation Management

    http://timothyweissbrot.wordpress.com/


    I fully agree with all the information has been presented here , everybody today has to take into consideration that their reputation is in danger over the net , each and every single day ! I suggest that at least once a week , everybody will google his name and the name of his company , just to check if there are any negative posts on the first two pages of google .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    James Morgan, Apr 3rd, 2011 @ 5:51pm

    It's not surprising that someone would come up with a means to manage your reputation with Google, especially since the infamous Google slap which occurred about 9 months ago. online marketing is serious business and being shut down is nothing anyone wants to face.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Market Rats, May 15th, 2012 @ 5:07am

    !

    Thanks - great post as usual! There are some great things to be learnt looking at those sites.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Giles McCallister, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 5:30am

    Positive comments should outweigh negative comments

    Rather than using bullying tactics to remove any negative online comments, I thought that the whole point of online reputation management was to produce a wide range of positive comments so that eventually the positives outweigh the negatives?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    David, Apr 17th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    It is frequently wrongly accepted that contributing on a whole SEO bundle is not imperative Surprise Electrician . Individuals frequently state that SEO just includes embeddings various watchwords in your site, and there is no compelling reason to contract a whole group of web creators

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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