By Karen Masullo for Facet

I commented on a recent conversation on LinkedIn that I believe holds value for any job seeker; that of web reputation management firms.

The idea consumers get about these types of services is a bit flawed;

there is no legal technology tool that “scrubs” the web.

The only way to get rid of negative content is to create new content, however, if the site hosting the negative content is older and more established than the new content, new content may have no effect.

These reputation management companies may send letters to the sites hosting the negative content requesting removal – it occasionally works as most sites will remove questionable content to avoid possible litigation – I did this myself for an artist whose work had been lifted and watermarked by someone else – each site I contacted agreed to re-post the work with the correct artist credited or remove the original items.

The Reputation sites may then create new sites, using a “spinner” application (“spins” duplicate content so it does not appear to be duplicated) to post content with slight variations to avoid a Google duplicate content penalty – in the case of an individual this may include resume sites, bio sites, etc. For companies, similar info including Free Press release content, again slightly spun.

They then use a variety of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to push down the new content and sites, with the hope that this new content will inded push the old content down in search results. Some of the techniques some companies use are absolutely Black Hat SEO (bad SEO), and can actually create more problems than originally existed.

The most important tool an individual or company can have in its brand protection tool box is a monitoring tool – while Google Alerts is great, there are many others that complement alerts such as Radian6, Alterian, Tracx, Trackur, SocialMention and others.

For individual users and job seekers, there are many free reputation monitoring tools. If you are active in using social media, http://sproutsocial.com/ is a good one.

The bottom line is it’s all about sound, organic, White Hat SEO and active monitoring. Invest the money in a good SEO effort and create new, real, valuable content if there is negative, job-killing content about you on the web.

Also, establishing a professional Google+ profile is very helpful, as Google will generally display this in the top 3 results.

Why am I telling you this? I believe this news article is telling:

EXCLUSIVE: Online reputation management, in which companies monitor search results and try to bury unfavorable pages about their clients, is a booming business, but are some breaking the law to purge critical posts? Breaking the Law to Fix Your Rep:

EXCLUSIVE: Online reputation manager hacked websites to ‘inject’ illegal code

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/01/20/google-cide-online-reputation-managers-can-wipe-from-web/#ixzz1k1dXBdtx

Be aware, and if it sounds to good to be true, keep your money in your pocket.

Karen Masullo is EVP, Social Media for Firestorm. In addition to serving as Firestorm Solution’s own in-house social media advisor, she also serves on the Firestorm Solutions Expert Council and delivers social media strategy and policy services for Firestorm clients. Prior to her work with Firestorm, Karen worked in the Career Transition industry for more than twenty years.

You can read more of Karen’s articles here: Karen Masullo Articles


About facet
FACET is a human resources consulting firm specializing in the four phases of the Talent Management Cycle: Attract, Retain, Develop, and Transition. The Group's practice specifically addresses facilitation of smooth career/life transitions for individuals leaving organizations as well as career management, leadership training and coaching for employees whose assignments within organizations are impacted by change or other organizational needs. By application of several directions of pursuit, the corporation accomplishes a single goal: maximum utilization of human resource potential and productivity through efficient hiring, training and career development. The Facet Group was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana. As an ARBORA GLOBAL PARTNER, The Facet Group shares a parallel philosophy of the highest quality and standards with other owner invested firms. Through this network, we provide services worldwide. To address organizational needs outlined by its clients, The Facet Group offers a comprehensive package of workplace consulting services, focusing on providing high quality, creative programs which favorably impact the bottom line.

2 Responses to WEB REPUTATION MANAGEMENT – Don’t be fooled

  1. I heard something about this during the weekend on some network channel. i need to read what you have carefully. It is only important for the reputations of sites but for their writers. Think about what you write. Simple things like a movie review of The Artist. They are may things that can be devulged. Should they. Are should writers look for their own insights.

  2. word missing. it is NOT only important for the sites but for the writers

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