Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Web Secret #150: Becoming Web Dead - again

My 150th post.


I thought I would be posting something momentous.

And I might have, except I had major back surgery in March and - well, I am not feeling momentous. Being debilitated, even temporarily, makes you think in practical terms like, "How do I get into a Jeep Wrangler without doing a face plant?" or "How do I put on my socks when I can't bend?"

So practically speaking, what am I asked every time I do a presentation on social media, or help an organization use a social media channel, or teach an individual the mysteries of Facebook?

"What about my reputation? What about my company's reputation? Are we safe on the web?"

I actually had a clue early on in my blogging career that this was a biggie. As far back as 2008, I wrote a post about how to disappear completely from the Internet, Web Secret #26: How to become Web Dead.

It's a few years later, and I have mellowed a bit. There is something between being dead or alive on the Internet.

Case in point, on April Fool's Day 2011, the New York Times published Erasing the Digital Past. But this was no joke.

The fact is, "until their online rep is smeared, most people do not know that there are online reputation managers, who offer to expunge negative posts, bury unfavorable search results and monitor a client’s virtual image." Here are three resources to consider:

  • If all hell has broken loose, you may need to ramp up your intervention and use a service like I'll let them describe themselves: "our special brand of Online Reputation Repair, Inoculation, will help you suppress the negative listings that are hurting you... We inoculate the first pages of Search Engine Results against negative listings by introducing more authoritative positive listings, which will naturally outrank and push down the negative ones." How much does this cost? No hints are given on their website. But they will give you a free estimate.
  • Looking for even bigger guns? Try Metal Rabbit Media. They offer one stop shopping. As they put it: "Acknowledging the current convergence of online reputation management, social media, search engine optimization, public relations and digital promotion, Metal Rabbit Media brings an integrated, search-friendly approach to all endeavors — extending beyond traditional communications to deliver quantifiable branded messages across all media platforms."
  • I believe in prevention, and I am cheap - so I am loyal to Google Alerts. Just fill in your name, the name of your business, or anything else you are interested in keeping tabs on, and the information is delivered directly to your e-mail. Simple. Google Alerts allows you to monitor your reputation, takes less than five minutes to set up, and is FREE.

My advice? Be proactive, and use Google Alerts.

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