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?

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Comments on “Forget Publicists, All The Cool Kids Have Online Reputation Managers”

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44 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Dave says:

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.

Michael B. Del Camp (user link) says:

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)

LiberaceLivesOn says:

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.

Jeffrey Henderson (profile) says:

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
http://www.doneseo.com

A victim says:

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.

citizenj (profile) says:

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.

Amit Mehta (user link) says:

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: http://www.unisoft-technologies.com

Brennan (user link) says:

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

gigsport (user link) says:

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

karl@_Free Fast And Quick Backlinks (user link) says:

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

Thisz a especially decent Blog. Gratitude for the first-rate post! You made some excellent points here. And for most community will agree with you. Thanks though, Im delighted some people share high-quality stuff like this! It will greatly help out me in my SEO activities.

seo firm (user link) says:

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.

Timothy Weissbrot (user link) says:

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 .

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