There was an article in the New York Times addressing reputation management. The fundamental question was neutralizing negative articles or blog posts or photographs that affect careers and personal lives.
Aggrieved people can contact online publications and ask for them to remove the offending items. They can also employ reputation management organizations to monitor and manage negative news.
But the bottom-line is that the Internet never forgets. It’s impossible to erase everything but it is possible to create lots of new material and use key words to push the offending material down as far as possible in search results.
I make no claim to be a reputation management expert as to “fixing” negative materials on the Internet. There are companies that do this on a full time basis.
But what I do know is that, regardless as to how hard you try, negative materials live forever on the Internet.
But instead of these materials coming up on the first or second page of a search for your name, it’s possible to create “new” materials to push the negative stuff as far down as possible.
The best (quickest) way to do this is through transcribed audio interviews (word-for word accounts of what was said).
The audio interviews and transcripts would be added to a website and indexed by Google. Google and other search engines index written words; the audio interviews create another layer.
Create enough of them with key words (like the name of the victim) and this is what search engines find first. Place them on a variety of websites and the effect is compounded.
Do enough and make them interesting and you knock the offending materials to the back of searches. It’s possible to totally eliminate them from the first ten pages of a search depending on the level of the problem and the ability of detractors to develop new material.
This strategy won’t work for the person generating extensive negative publicity. There’s just no way to keep pace with hundreds or thousands of articles and blog reports.
But for the woman who wants to keep photographs as hard to find as possible, it’s an excellent way to minimize (not eliminate) the problem.
Note that search engines are just beginning to index social sites. This adds an entirely new dimension with unknown outcomes and possibilities.
I look forward to your opinions.
New York Times article, see: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE1D91030F930A35757C0A9679D8B63&ref=nickbilton .
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