Have you Googled yourself lately? You might be shocked by what shows up in the search results. Potentially career-killing information, malicious attacks on your reputation or images of forgotten debauchery may be too-easily found by potential employers … and such negative posts may be maddingly hard to remove from the Internet.
Fortunately, a new book can teach you how to remove or bury negative posts and help you maintain and/or restore your online reputation.
The book, Wild West 2.0 – How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier by Michael Fertik and David Thompson, provides a clear pathway to reputation restoration. Fertik is the founder and CEO of ReputationDefender (Reputation.com) and Thompson is its general counsel and chief Privacy Officer.
The authors give clear counsel about how to fix your online reputation, but they make it clear that doing so will not be easy.
They also explain the many ways your reputation can be damaged, which due to sheer number of the types of attacks and the harm that can result, can be quite terrifying.
They write, “Imagine a place where anonymous vandals can spray repugnant graffiti about you or your business without any consequence. They may call you a criminal, accuse your business of fraud, or reveal your most personal secrets. And this graffiti is viewed not only by a handful of passersby—instead, it is spread worldwide and instantly broadcast to anyone who looks for information about you. You can’t remove the smear, and copies of it are permanently saved around the world. Sound frightening? You don’t have to imagine this scenario. It happens every day on the Internet.”
Fertik and Thompson explain why so much damaging information is so freely available on the Internet: “The Internet today resembles the Old West of American history. […] The frontier has expanded faster than the law and our culture, which have proven unable to keep up. […] Innocent reputations can be ruined by anonymous attackers, and the victims are often greeted with blank stares by law enforcement. […] People suspected of wrongdoing are run out of town on an electronic rail, often before there is time to figure out whether they are really guilty or innocent. And, all too often, the victims are innocent people, who have done nothing wrong other than venturing online without fully understanding the unique culture of the Internet.”
While Wild West 2.0 starts with extended gloomy details about all the ways your reputation can be ruined, the real power of the book is in its clear instructions for how to fix your online reputation and establish a strong, positive online identity. It encourages you to conduct an online reputation audit and develop a reputation road map to restore your good name. It also teaches you how to post enough positive and neutral content online to block future attacks. And it even details specifically what to say and do if sites are posting erroneous information about you.
While the book is decidedly “do-it-yourself”-focused, it explains when readers might want to call in the professionals to keep a bad situation from getting far worse. One resource the book suggests for advanced help (but does not over-promote) is Fertik’s own site, Reputation.com, which is a leading site for targeted reputation management.
For all of the reasons I mention above, I recommend reading Wild West 2.0 – How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier and I have received no compensation for saying so. The book gives hope to the harmed and makes it clear that you CAN restore your good name and establish a strong, positive online identity.
Take steps to create your positive online presence. Doing so can help you … Get a Job!