Protect Your Online Reputation and Clean Up Your Search Results
The Internet has made it easier than ever before for a person to market themselves or their business. It has helped to even the playing field between large companies and small companies, and between those who are already famous and those who aspire to fame. Because of the Internet, you are able to search for information and learn things faster than was possible before it existed.
However, the ease of searching on the Internet is somewhat of a double-edged sword. Just as it is easy to build a positive reputation for you or your business on the Web, it’s also easier than you might think for someone to destroy your reputation. Know how to protect your online reputation and clean up your search results.
Find out what the Web knows about you?
Many people are surprised and even shocked at what turns up when they do a search for their name or their company’s name on the Internet. Sure, you’re almost certain to turn up your own Web site, your social networking profiles, and other information that you have painstakingly created in order to create your own positive publicity. But what else shows up?
You might find blog entries that you wrote in a fit of passion that you now regret, or a video you made in college during a wild night out with the girls. There might be stories about you or your company on other sites that contain grievous errors and inaccuracies. A disgruntled former employer, employee or spouse may have posted something negative about you on their website, blog or even on their social networking page.
There have even been cases where people take on false identities and write things on the Web under somebody else’s name – possibly yours. You may also find contact information posted on the Internet that you wish hadn’t been made public. When you’ve done a bit of searching, you may be dismayed to discover that you have numerous skeletons hiding in your online closet.
Discover the truth about the real you.
If you’ve never searched for yourself online, now may be the time to do so. There are a number of places you’ll want to look, such as the “people search” engines. These sites scour the web to find information about individuals, gathering data from other sites, such as social networks, to create individual profiles. However, these sites often make mistakes, such as blending information about multiple people into one profile, if they happen to have the same name. Online address books are another source you should investigate for accuracy.
A search for your personal or company name on the big search engines such as Google can also be an eye-opening experience. Even highly reputable sites such as Wikipedia may hold false or slanderous entries with your personal or company mentioned. Plus, even though it’s necessary to remain vigilant in terms of erroneous or slanderous information entered about you by other people, never underestimate the amount of damage that you might have caused on your own.
That story about getting drunk during spring break might have been a funny entry on your social networking page when you were younger, but do you really want a potential employer finding it? You might be surprised to find how many embarrassing photos, mortifying rants, and things you wish you had never said have been immortalized on the Internet. If they exist, it’s only a matter of time before somebody finds them – usually at the worst possible moment.
How is your online information used?
It’s easy to see how damaging this kind of online information can be if you are a large corporation, politician or other famous individual. But, did you know that it’s becoming increasingly common to use the Internet to find information about even average people? Know how to protect your online reputation and clean up your search results.
You might be surprised to learn that it’s becoming customary for potential employers, schools, and potential love interests to perform their own impromptu “background checks,” simply by searching for names online. The sad truth is, in some cases negative information on the Internet can prevent a person from getting the job or promotion they want, or from being accepted into their chosen school.
In fact, a 2009 CareerBuilder survey revealed that as many as forty-five percent of employers now use social networking sites to research potential candidates for positions within their companies. But perhaps even more startling is the fact that of those employers digging through social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and others, when researching a job applicant, thirty-five percent found enough disheartening information and digital dirt on the applicant to decide not to hire them.
A fraudulent entry about you or your company on a web site could be detrimental to your business, and could seriously damage your reputation. Plus, if you think that information made public on the Internet is “here today, gone tomorrow,” think again. If you do a few searches, you’ll discover that plenty of the material you find dates back a number of years. The negative information that is on the Web today could haunt you well into the future.
Make it a priority to monitor and protect your online reputation.
The Internet is quite pervasive in our everyday life, and it is likely to become even more so in the future. So, it’s more important than ever before to know how to protect your online reputation and clean up your search results.
But what can you do if your searching does uncover negative information about you published on the Internet? There are things you can do on your own, such as asking site owners to remove erroneous or outdated information about you or your company. You can also reply to negative accusations in forums, telling your side of the story. You can even create more positive information about you or your company on the Internet to counteract the negative information. However, this can be an arduous and daunting task for the average individual.
Fortunately, there are services available that can help individuals and companies monitor, manage and improve their online reputation. Using a service such as MyReputation from ReputationDefender can be quite beneficial if want to clean out your online closet and protect your good name and reputation. This service, combined with good personal judgment in regards to what you post on the Web in the future, can do wonders for your online reputation.