The internet makes many things possible. Unfortunately, some of those things are not always the best for us. One honest mistake might spread like wildfire through websites and social media apps, becoming the only thing people know us for. Worse still is when a person chooses to have a vendetta against someone. They can easily spread malicious lies and falsehoods and with little in the way of fact checking and no way to stop the deranged individual, before you know it, your reputation can be damaged, seemingly beyond repair. Thankfully, that is not the case, and the same methods this person or persons might use to harm a person can also be used to stem the tide and repair the damage.
Search engine optimization companies already have the tools to help manage a client's online presence through traditional marketing means as well as the emerging field of social media management. Now, many of the more progressive SEO companies are expanding their services to work directly with individuals who, through no fault of their own, are finding their name being smeared across the internet. By creating a carefully laid out strategy that includes news articles, press releases and website management, they can help a person reclaim their identity.
While this is important for everybody, it can be an absolute necessity for a person looking for a new job or beginning a career in the public eye. In the past, applicants for a job would provide a list of personal and professional references for the prospective employer to contact. Now, all a person has to do is engage a quick internet search for an applicant's name and see what kind of results come up. The warning that everyone gives their children - that whatever you put on the internet will be there forever - applies just as brutally for adults. Going beyond the ill-conceived photo at a bachelor party or a misquoted status update on a social media platform, someone with an axe to grind can very quickly do damage. And in this litigious age, employers are hesitant to bring on a new employee who might have even one black mark on their name.
The worst part is so much of this can be done anonymously, making legal proceedings difficult at best. Beyond discovering who the responsible party is, issues of jurisdiction come into play as well as determining just what laws may have been broken. A much better response is to eliminate the threat by meeting them on the playing field and beating them at their own game. Not by retaliating, but by using the same tool that is available to everybody: the internet. Reputation management is unfortunately a necessary component in today's cyber driven society. Make sure you have the right company working to protect you.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who is especially interested in online personalities, reputation management, and anonymous cyberbullying. http://www.teamwildflower.com