Protecting your online reputation
December 10, 2012 (WPVI) -- Once a comment is posted about you on the internet, it can stay in cyberspace indefinitely forever making or breaking your reputation.
And what's said about you online can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Local food consultant, Shola Olunloyo, has fallen victim to the nasty power of the cyber-pen.
Search his name online and on the first results page is an ugly blog post.
"Unfortunately, not everything you read is true. And for me, for what I do professionally, perception is a very important part of people reaching out to you," Olunloyo said.
So what are Shola's options to improve his online reputation?
He could use a service like West Chester-based ReputationChanger.com where business is booming. It just announced it's adding 50 jobs in our area.
"What we do is we help people manage, monitor, and maintain their online reputation," Reputation Changer CEO Cliff Stein said.
Reputation Changer scours the internet looking for negative comments about you or your business.
Then it suppresses bad listings off at least the first page of search results; in part by flooding cyberspace with positive comments.
But the service isn't cheap.
"Our lowest price campaign actually starts at $2,500," Stein said.
It'll take one to four months to see any improvement..
IntegrityDefender.com claims to remove unwanted information, but tech expert Rob D'Ovidio says beware of claims that may be overblown.
"Make no mistake about it, these services are not removing bad information from the internet," D'Ovidio said.
A spokesperson for IntegrityDefenders tells Action News it does ask webmasters to remove unwanted comments. However, he also admits, most of the time, the strategy does not work.
If you are going to use one of these companies do an internet search to see how they protect their own reputation.
For example, when we did a search on IntegrityDefender.com, on the very first results page is a link to a comment saying, "Big joke. Please stay away from them."
In response, the company says it "cannot remove certain links" and it's "too difficult and takes too many resources" to even suppress.
Meantime, there are free ways to try to improve your online reputation..
Monitor what's posted about you by setting up something like Google Alerts. You'll get an email when Google finds something new about you in cyberspace. Google also has a service to get rid of certain items.
"It allows you to put in requests to have that information removed from its search results," D'Ovidio said.
special reports, nydia han
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