How to Deal With Online Defamation
Online defamation is a growing problem for both individuals and business owners. The anonymity of the Web makes it easy for anyone to post defamatory content. When this negative content ends up on Google, it can cause substantial reputation damage, leading to difficulty finding work, attracting customers and even getting a loan.
This article will focus on how to deal with online defamation, and what steps you can take to overcome slanderous attacks on your online reputation.
The drawbacks of hiring an attorney
When dealing with online defamation, many people immediately think to hire a lawyer. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to prove defamation in a court of law, and, if the attacker is anonymous, it’s even more complicated. Add in the cost of hiring an attorney, and the proposition of exposing your attacker in court becomes extremely costly (especially when your odds of success are so low).
Even if you do win a lawsuit to expose your attacker, you would then have to sue them for damages, which would require even more court time. Some people have successfully sued their online bullies (like ex-model Liskula Cohen, who sued after being called a “skank” online), but more often than not it doesn’t work in a victim’s favor.
Know alternative options for how to deal with online defamation before you consult an attorney.
The benefits of positive and proactive online reputation management
Given the limitations of filing a lawsuit, a better course of action for minimizing the effects of online defamation is to engage in proactive online reputation management.
The truth is that most people who research you online won’t scroll past the first or second page of search results. If you can replace the negative content from the first two pages of Google, for example, with positive content that you’ve personally approved, you can essentially undo the damage done by an online attacker.
One way to get started with your proactive online reputation management campaign is to join high-ranking social networking websites, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. By building a strong presence in social networking communities, you can not only mitigate damage to your good name, but also find new professional contacts and help enhance your reputation.
Online defamation hurts more than just your feelings. A reputation management crisis can be extremely stressful and leave a tarnished legacy for potential employers, friends and family to find for years to come. Know how to deal with online defamation before it occurs. Building an online presence that is equipped to handle online attacks takes time and effort, but you’ll find that the rewards are well worth the investment.