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Several years ago, I was on vacation and relaxing on a beach on the island of Kauai with my family when I received an email from a manager of my company.
ai???I normally would not send this sort of thing to you, but this is so egregious that I thought you should be aware of it ai??i??ai??? the email began.
The link was to a write-up of several thousand words about me and my companies on an online complaint site.Ai?? The attack went into considerable detail about my companies and even went so far as to insult my mother.Ai?? The report made allegations that I was involved in various crimes (theft of data) and even stated that I was cooking the books at my companies to illegally avoid taxes.Ai?? The report also went into considerable detail to make it look like as though I were dishonest.
Within weeks of the ai???reportai??? coming out, a few amazing things happened:
Iai??i??ve always tried to maintain a fairly low profile in businessai??i??by choice.Ai?? Some people thrive by being in the spotlight; others do not.Ai?? Personally, I have never been interested in a lot of publicity.Ai?? When reporters call to speak with me, I almost always have someone else in the company speak to themai??i??or do not return their calls at all.
The write-up on the complaint site was extremely well written and put my companies and me in an extremely negative light.
At that time, I was in a disagreement with my father because he had worked in one of my companies and had butted heads a bit too much (he no longer worked for my company).Ai?? I immediately thought that the posting was by him and cut off all communication with him.Ai?? He denied being the person who posted the write-up.
I was so upset that I thought my father had done a posting like this that I sought the advice of a family therapist whom I knew to make sure that cutting off my father was the correct thing to do.
ai???Have him take a lie detector test,ai??? the therapist told me.Ai?? ai???If he did not do it, he will pass.ai???
I hired a former FBI polygraph expert to come into my office and administer him a lie detector test.Ai?? My father failed.Ai?? I told him that I no longer wanted anything to do with him and that he was no longer allowed contact with my wife or children.Ai?? My wifeai??i??s family also broke off all contact with him.
In an attempt to get the negative posting down, I sued the website.Ai?? The website sued me back stating that it had nothing to do with the postingai??i??it had the right to post the information there.Ai?? I ended up having to settle and pay the siteai??i??s legal feesai??i??it was tens of thousands of dollars when my own legal fees and other expenses became part of the equation.
Over the next few months, to my horror, anytime someone searched for my name on the Internet, or the name of one of my companies, the posting came up very high on the first page.Ai?? This began to cause me all sorts of problems.Ai?? In one case, when I tried to rent an office space, the landlord refused to rent it out to me because of what he read in this posting.
ai???Are you kidding?ai??? Ai??I asked the real estate agent.
ai???No one would take the time to write something like that if it were not true,ai??? the landlord stated.
I tried to rent a home in another part of the city, and the same thing happened.
ai???The owner Googled you and does not want you living in her house,ai??? I was told.
To understand how shocking this entire thing was to me, you need to understand a little bit about me.Ai?? I consider myself a pretty upstanding member of the society. Ai??I am an attorney, and my career has been dedicated to getting people jobs and providing a high-quality service in the marketplace.Ai?? I work six full days a week. Ai??A lot of my work involves writing articles to encourage people to optimize websites. Ai??I certainly do not think of myself as having the sort of evil qualities that I was portrayed to possess in the posting.
One of my jobs involves running a recruiting firm.Ai?? Day in and day out, I review hundreds of resumes and a substantial majority of themai??i??around 99% of themai??i??are from attorneys whom I cannot place.Ai?? I tell these attorneys (via email) that I cannot help them.Ai?? As the post rose in the search engines, many of the people whom I had rejected started adding their own two cents.Ai?? Moreover, employees who had been fired in the past from my companies also started adding their thoughts.
The more comments and activity that this post had, the higher this post rose in the search engines and the more people saw it.
Realizing the severity of cutting off my father, I decided to make sure that it was my father who had actually done the posting and started trying to get the name of the wellbutrin price mexico, buy diclofenac tablets online. individual who had done the posting from the site.Ai?? The site would not give me the information.Ai?? I spoke with the attorney who represented the site; he recommended that I hire an attorney he had worked with in the past, who could assist me in subpoenaing the information from the site.
I hired a law firm to assist me in drafting a complaint against the site and had an in-house attorney from my company work on it as well.Ai?? We filed a complaint in California and then filed the requisite paperwork to get the identity of the person who had done the posting.
Once the person found out that we were seeking his information from the website, he hired an attorney to attempt to prevent us from getting his identity.Ai?? After some more fighting with in courtai??i??and with the website, we finally got the court to release the identity of the person who had done the posting.
It was someone who had been fired from my company five years previously for attempting to bribe someone inside of a law firm to hire one of our candidates.
Once I found this out, I called my father within minutes to apologize. Ai??Notwithstanding, my relationship with him has never been the same since this happened.
For the next several months, the lawsuit chugged along in the California courts. Ai??As the lawsuit went forward, people continued commenting about the lawsuit on various websites.Ai?? In addition, another ai???hateai??? site went up about me by another person formerly associated with my company.
At the same time, I was attempting to sell one of the companies I run to a large investment bank.Ai?? I went on countless meetings where I met with private equity companies and so forth and just about everyone asked about this.Ai?? I spent the better part of a year having to explain the posting.
To my astonishment, I spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and even had to pay the legal fees of the person who did the postings about me.Ai?? The reasonai??i??Ai?? California has special laws on its books to encourage ai???debateai??? about people judged to be in the public limelight.
I am still fighting this person in court today in a separate breach of contract lawsuit in Texas (he had an employment contract).
This battle took so much time and effort that I could probably write a book about itai??i??and it is still going on.Ai?? Nevertheless, for me, it was a crystal-clear lesson in the importance of online reputation management.Ai?? Every business and every individual out there needs to do everything within their power to control what people read about them online.
I run a yoga studio. Ai??We got a bad review on Yelp because one of our receptionists seemed a bit rude. Ai??A negative review can always hurt your price of vigora. company.Ai?? Similarly, I had one of my sites written up once by the Better Business Bureau.Ai?? It is very difficult for businesses to please everyone, and when people are disgruntled, they can do a ton of damage.
When people want to know whether or not to do business with someone, they will often do a search about them to see what they can learn.Ai?? Reputation management is used to both drive down negative results and to make you seem more credible in the eyes of consumers and people looking to do business with you.
One of the largest problems with search engines (from a reputation management standpoint) is that they are interested in providing a good user experience.Ai?? When someone is looking for information about someone or something, they are more likely to be interested in reading negative reviews than they are in reading positive reviews.Ai?? Because people are more interested in reading negative information, search engines tend to try and show negative information before positive information.Ai?? Search engines are interested in giving users exactly what they want.
Despite having a great deal of experience in SEO work, my first reaction to the negative information about me online was to allow the attorney in me to reactai??i??with lawsuits and so forth.Ai?? In my opinion, the better reaction would have been to go immediately into reputation management mode.
What is Reputation Management?
According to Wikipedia:
Online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand, or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages
to decrease their visibility.
Reputation management is how you control the type of information that consumers see and read about you online.Ai?? Essentially, it involves creating [or using existing] positive content about you and boosting this content above the negative content.Ai?? In order to boost the positive content, you need to give it authority.Ai?? This means that you need to have the positive content on high page rank sites that appear to be more important to the search engines than the sites that have the negative content.
If people feel that they have been mistreated by a company or an individual, it only takes them a few seconds to post negative information about that person or company on the web.Ai?? A negative review, Tweet, or a Facebook post can create a massive avalanche of negative publicity for an individual or a business.Ai?? When someone writes negative information about businesses or individuals online, it can cost them a great deal of moneyai??i??as well as harm how they are seen by the public in a massive way.
Reputation management is a huge problemai??i??and it is getting worse all the time.Ai?? Both large and small businessesai??i??and individualsai??i??are at risk of having their reputations tarnished in the marketplace.
As I have told you before, links are a major and important component of SEO.Ai?? You need lots of high-quality links coming into your site to combat the negative content about you that appears online.
Despite how simple this sounds, very few people understand reputation managementai??i??or do it effectively for themselves.
Here are the search results for a very popular Internet marketing person, Frank Kern:
You can see that two of the top 10 results are negativeai??i??and this is from a guy who is an extremely popular teacher in the Internet space.
Here are some more results that popped up when I did a search for a reputation management company (Reputation.com):
As you can see, reputation management is a serious concern for supposed Internet marketing experts and for reputation management companies as well.
How is Reputation Management Done?
A good reputation management program typically does the following:
First, it ai???reformulatesai??? search engine results to show the ai???rightai??? message and ai???hideai??? the negative message.
The key to reputation management is boosting certain sites over the sites with the negative information.Ai?? Here are some sites that can generally be boosted without too much difficulty:
Many businesses and individuals do not have enough of a presence on the web when the negative information about them first appears online.Ai?? The first step in combating this negative information generally requires the creation of various social profiles and putting content on other sites (such as those above) whose authority can be boosted to overwhelm the negative results.
Second, it monitors what is being said about you so that these negative results can be addressed immediately.Ai?? The best way is to make sure that you are monitoring the negative results.
The Dangers of ai???Suggested Searchai???
When I search for ai???Reputation.comai??? in a search engine, one of the suggested searches that pops up is for ai???Reputation.com Complaintsai??? (as I showed you in the search results above).Ai?? Many businesses very quickly find out that terms like ai???scamai??? and ai???complaintsai??? appear as suggested searches in Google and other search engines.
Incredibly, Reputation.com charges an astonishing $35,000 a month for a service to address negative results such as this.
Google provides suggested searches based on what people are searching for.Ai?? If enough people search for a business name and use the term ai???scamai??? after it, Google wants to help other searchers by suggesting searches to them that are likely to give them the type of information that they may be searching for.
The only way to fix a suggested search that is negative is to have more people searching for something besides the negative search.Ai?? If you hired 1,000 people to search for the term ai???Joeai??i??s Car Wash is Great!ai??? then this would start showing up in the suggested search results.
There are several automated methods to fixing suggested searches; however, for most companies, the easiest way is to simply hire ai???micro-workersai??? to search on Google for several different terms (besides the negative one).Ai?? If you have an ongoing program of doing this, negative search results about you will eventually disappear.
You can use ShortTask for this and can post small tasks where you pay various people to do searches for the terms that you want them searching for.Ai?? I would have tasks running like this all the time to ensure that you are influencing suggested searches:
Reputation management is a field that is evolving fairly rapidly.Ai?? Because of the importance of your reputation and how this relates to business, it is important that this work be done constantly as well.Ai?? You need to have lots of social network profiles and a blog, publish regular press releases, and have lots of links coming into these sites as well.
Once a business has a decent amount of contact with the public, it will start generating negative reviews and people saying negative things about it.Ai?? I recently started thinking about taking a meditation course, and to my astonishment, I found information that the course was a front for devil worship.Ai?? This is not true, of course, but this is the sort of stuff that any business ends up contending with.
In order to combat this sort of thing, full-scale, aggressive reputation management is needed for most businesses, and it is something that they should not stop.Ai?? The more links and authority that positive content gets over time, the more difficult it becomes for negative content to surpass this positive content when it comes alongai??i??and xenical in spain for sale. it will.Google+