They say that necessity is the mother of invention.
Have you ever Googled yourself?
You would probably assume that everything that would come up in the result would be good.
But, what if something not so good popped up?
Over the past 15 years the world has gone through a revolution thanks to the internet as we have been exposed to a new frontier to research items, spread words and vent. And, like everything else, there is a flipside to this revolution. False and bad information.
Thanks to search engines and the possibility of near invisible internet users, it is hard to block or rid ourselves of bad internet words about us. Even if someone slanders a person on the internet, it can be hard to erase the information and/or trace it’s origination.
Thanks to the mother of invention, there are some ideas out there on how to handle the slander.
“It is ridiculous how you can post something on the Internet and not be accountable for it,” says Chris Martin, founder of the online-reputation-management firm Reputation Hawk.
Reputation Hawk is an online company that promises to revive your good online reputation. The primary goal of online-reputation-management firms like Reputation Hawk is to expunge the first page of a client’s Google search results of all negative links. For $1,500 a month, Reputation Hawk will actually create new Web pages that cast you in a positive light. Further more, Reputation Hawk will post links to positive Web mentions of you on social-bookmarking sites like Digg and Del.icio.us. They will even and start positive blogs about you on sites like Blogger .
How do you know if there is bad online stuff about you?
The easiest way to find out is to use a search engine such as Google to look for you. Simply type in your name and read the results. The truth of the results can hurt, even if they are lies.
“We call the top five search results the ‘danger zone,’ because you don’t even have to scroll down to see them,” says Martin.
Can you combat the bad stuff on your own?
Well, you can certainly take advice from the experts at Reputation Hawk and create positive online press about yourself. If there is a lot to fix, their $1500/mo. fee may be worth your investment.
If you don’t have a few thousand dollars to spare, you can attempt to confront your detractors directly.
“The answer to bad speech is more speech,” says Google’s Matt Cutts, who’s in charge of ranking search results. To start, he suggests setting up a free Google Alert, which e-mails you every time your name appears in a blog post or on a website; this at least lets you know if you have a problem and, often, with whom.
If you know where the bad info is coming from, pay a visit and leave a comment, always nice. You are attempting to show other readers that you are being picked on.
Also, post on your site or others, facts to negate the bad stuff. Include viable links to trustworthy sources. Many times the bad guys will back down because they are looking like a bully or as a generator of false information.
It’s probably not a bad idea to Google or Yahoo search yourself just to see where you stand in the online world. You may be surprised about what you find.