Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Privacy

Online Reputation Management To Keep Your Nose Clean? 125

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the if-you-don't-want-it-printed-don't-do-it dept.
Techdirt is reporting that as a response to all the hoopla about people being able to Google for information on potential employees (or lovers) a new market has opened up in "online reputation management". This seems to be the ultimate realization of those dubious firms who promised to scrub your records clean from a few years back. "From the description in the article, it sounds like this involves a combination of search engine optimization, plus legal bullying of anyone who says something you don't like. If anything, that sounds like a recipe for more trouble, but you can see how it would appeal to those who are unhappy with how they're perceived online. Obviously, it's no fun to have something bad about you exposed online, but efforts to suppress that information have a decent likelihood of backfiring and serving to highlight that information. I wonder if these online reputation managers have malpractice insurance for when that happens?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Online Reputation Management To Keep Your Nose Clean?

Comments Filter:
  • by BigJClark (1226554) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:09PM (#22264066)
    I half expect this article to be posted by an 'Anonymous Coward'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brian Gordon (987471)
      This definitely isn't going to work- see Streisand effect [wikipedia.org].
      • by B'Trey (111263)
        Easy solution which will work - change your name to John Smith.

        My real name is almost that common. Good luck trying to find any signal amongst the massive amount of noise a search generates.

        • by eln (21727) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:50PM (#22264740) Homepage
          I never thought my name was all that common, but apparently Google things I'm a Mathematician, Associate Professor at two Universities on two different continents, and a former Canadian member of Parliament, so I've either led a much richer life than I thought or my name is more common than I realized.

          Of course, I guess I could find it mildly troubling that even after almost 20 years online, it's still difficult to find me by name on a Google search. Sex offender registries maybe, but then...I've said too much.
    • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:28PM (#22264388) Homepage Journal
      For most all of my 'internet life'...starting back about '93-'94 or so, I pretty much always used pseudonyms, and rarely if ever gave out personal information.

      I think most people back then did pretty much the same. It just seems common sense doesn't it? When did people start really acting stupid AND not only documenting it and publishing it for eternity? Do people not have the common sense to know that actions can follow you over time?

      I mean, sure, I know there are pictures and all back when I partied my ass off....and passed out here or there, etc. But, I doubt they're ever gonna surface unless I run for Senator or something. But, even so, I knew better than to broadcast that stuff back then. It all makes for great drinking stories, and all, but, c'mon, don't people have some idea that they will try to have a future out there?

      Hell, I've had to learn that I have to actually tone down my stories of old escapades depending on company. When at work at times in the past, when hanging with the guys, shooting the shit...each telling stories and trying to kinda of top the other....I noticed that my idea of normal partying was WAY more than most of them. I learned then not to really tell new people about the old exploits...at least not at work.

      I basically have fun rehashing them with old friends I did them with....but, shy of that, in this world, well, it is more and more important to not be seen!! [wikipedia.org]

      • by jedidiah (1196)
        I dunno. Back when I started, there were "more professional types" that always
        went by what they represented was their real name. Infact, these types tended
        to look down on the rest of us that weren't buying into that idea.

        Sounds like we psuedononymous types had the last laugh.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by orclevegam (940336)
          That's kind of the problem. Because the internet has evolved into not only a personal but also commercial tool there's more pressure to at the very least pick reasonable pseudonyms. Like it or not, if your resume lists your e-mail as HotPartyChick69@aol.com it's going to color the reviewers interpretation of your resume as well as lead them to make assumptions about you. At the company I work for all our e-mail addresses are of the form firstname.lastname@companyname.com which can also make it easier to tra
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Dada Vinci (1222822)
            But what about people who get dragged into the spotlight through no fault of their own? The Washington Post article [washingtonpost.com] about some of the same events describes some pretty bad stuff:

            The chats sometimes include photos taken from women's Facebook pages, and in the Yale student's case, one person threatened to sexually violate her. Another participant claimed to be the student, making it appear that she was taking part in the discussion.

            What's important is that the victims were not participating in the forum be

            • Two things. First, if some random person on the internet had access to them, they obviously weren't private photos. Second, if someone is posting lies about a person in a public forum that can damage their reputation, particularly if their claiming to be that person, and it's obviously not a case of satire, then they can be sued for Libel and possibly other things. At the very least the person who's reputation was being trashed should have contacted the hosting site and asked for the conversation to be take
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                At the very least the person who's reputation was being trashed should have contacted the hosting site and asked for the conversation to be taken down.

                They did. The hosting site claimed that they were immune under CDA 230 [wikipedia.org] and refused.

                sued for Libel and possibly other things

                There is a lawsuit pending, but the plaintiffs can't find any of the people who made the libels. The hosting site deleted or didn't keep IP logs, claiming that they didn't have to. And the hosting site claims that it's immune under CDA
                • Sounds like it's an issue with a loophole in CDA 230. After reading it over I notice CDA 230 has exemptions for federal crimes, and copyright infringement. Sounds like the problem could be solved by adding another exemption for Libel such that the ISP must take down libelous statements when ordered to do so by the court otherwise their held responsible for them, much the same as the other exceptions.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by digitig (1056110)

                    Sounds like it's an issue with a loophole in CDA 230. After reading it over I notice CDA 230 has exemptions for federal crimes, and copyright infringement. Sounds like the problem could be solved by adding another exemption for Libel such that the ISP must take down libelous statements when ordered to do so by the court otherwise their held responsible for them, much the same as the other exceptions.

                    The trouble with that is that at the moment genuine whistleblowers have some potential protection from identification. Take it away and bullies will find it all the easier to silence criticism -- all they have to do is call the accusations libel then they can go after the whistleblower with their own threats of violence. I've been in that position -- my wife was blowing the whistle on malpractice in a geriatric care home, and we got threats of violence against our (then) infant children (on police advice s

            • Somebody thought it'd be a good idea to have a "beauty contest" with unwilling contestants, and some of the organizers of the "contest" went over the top. Right now the law doesn't really provide a remedy for that sort of thing.

              Yes it does - Model releases [danheller.com] are an accepted mechanism for allowing people to use your face for certain purposes. Sometimes you need one, sometimes not. I'd like to see how this sort of situation would come out, though.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 (626475)
            "That's kind of the problem. Because the internet has evolved into not only a personal but also commercial tool there's more pressure to at the very least pick reasonable pseudonyms. Like it or not, if your resume lists your e-mail as HotPartyChick69@aol.com it's going to color the reviewers interpretation of your resume as well as lead them to make assumptions about you. At the company I work for all our e-mail addresses are of the form firstname.lastname@companyname.com which can also make it easier to tr
            • The problem isn't your myspace account -- you are smart enough to keep it clean. It's if your FRIENDS have a myspace account and post a picture of you, then tag it with your name. Or even if just your acquaintences.

              Or if some Anonymous Coward just lies completely and claims that a photo is of you (when it really isn't) just to be a jerk. If they post it through TOR then they can never be found. And a site like Encyclopedia Dramatica would never take it down. ED will claim that they're immune from liabi
              • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:00PM (#22265738) Homepage Journal
                "The problem isn't your myspace account -- you are smart enough to keep it clean. It's if your FRIENDS have a myspace account and post a picture of you, then tag it with your name. Or even if just your acquaintences."

                I guess sadly, these days, more than in mine, it is best to try to choose your "friends" more wisely, and also, you have to be more careful who you're around when you cut loose and get a little wild. No, in my day, you didn't have to worry about cameras everywhere...the cellphone type makes it dangerous to do anything these days....but, people still brought film cameras to parties. I still have tons of those pics in albums. But, in light of todays easy click-shoot-publish, I guess you have to be more careful about when and where you let your hair down so to speak.

                It is sad in that respect, and I know from being a kid, things like that aren't the primary thing you keep in mind most of the time (if at all).

                I guess these days, it is best if you learn a lesson that we used to get later in life...you have to be suspicious and wary of most people...at least till you get to know them for awhile. Be careful who you do things around.

              • by 1u3hr (530656)
                And a site like Encyclopedia Dramatica would never take it down. ED will claim that they're immune from liability forever under CDA 230, and the anonymous poster will never be found. It's a wierd situation where a bad act can go completely unpunished, even if the webhost knows that there's a problem.

                Well, it's annoying, but who would take anything on ED seriously? There is so much crap there about any person you can think of that it has zero credibility. It's like graffiti in a public toilet, you'd rathe

            • Yeah, that's pretty much my opinion on it.
          • Like it or not, if your resume lists your e-mail as HotPartyChick69@aol.com it's going to color the reviewers interpretation of your resume as well as lead them to make assumptions about you.

            As well it should...who wants to hire an AOL user?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by baboonlogic (989195)

        For most all of my 'internet life'...starting back about '93-'94 or so, I pretty much always used pseudonyms, and rarely if ever gave out personal information.

        Same here but since blogs became popular and I got mentioned once or twice here and there I decided that if it's gonna be the first result with my name on google it might as well be something better. So, now I do post a lot of stuff with my own name in it.

        Disclaimer: My company has asked me to research the ORM market. I might be biased.

        In fact, I am beginning to think that this stuff is a much better response than litigation a lot of time and given the nature of the web, litigation is a lot of tim

        • Say someone halfway down the globe is running a smear campaign against you

          Seems like there's a bigger problem that we're letting people halfway around the globe get away with that. In the US there are laws against libel and slander (and I think there are stronger laws in the EU and particularly the UK). But they're near-impossible to enforce online because people can hide behind (in the US) a law (communciations decency act) that makes websites not responsible for what they publish. Even if the website

      • by sm62704 (957197)
        publishing it for eternity?

        That's an internet myth. There was a British fellow named Niel Harriot (although his real name may have been Janet) who ran a site called Yello There, a parody of Blue's News. I ran a site called the Springfield Fragfest, and we were fans of each others' sites (I found out after posting something silly about his site).

        He suffered from a terminal disease and I lost track of him, I don't think (s?)he breathes any more. The only reference I can find of Niel or his site is one page of
      • by eln (21727)
        Sure, but using pseudonyms for so long can have it's drawbacks, such as not ever being recognized for work you may have done in the past online under a different name than the one you use today. Luckily for me, virtually everything I've ever done online has been nothing but a colossal waste of time, so this doesn't impact me, but others may not be so lucky.
      • Do people not have the common sense to know that actions can follow you over time?

        There's two cases where people just don't care. One is more common among the high school - college age and that's when you're living for the moment. It's one of the more common follies of youth, though it's not uncommon to see it among those experiencing a midlife crisis.

        The other case is more common by older types and is an attitude that arises out of unchecked ambition, where the goals are perceived by the individual to
      • For most all of my 'internet life'...starting back about '93-'94 or so, I pretty much always used pseudonyms, and rarely if ever gave out personal information.

        I think most people back then did pretty much the same. It just seems common sense doesn't it? When did people start really acting stupid AND not only documenting it and publishing it for eternity? Do people not have the common sense to know that actions can follow you over time?

        Back when I joined the Internet ('87), access was controlled by schoo

      • by NonSequor (230139)
        I guess I was ahead of the curve on that trend. I included my name with all of the posts I made to Usenet as a teenager. So now I have to live with the unsettling knowledge that all of my ill-conceived schemes and dumbass philosophical musings will echo across eternity through the Google Usenet archive.

        I could ask Google to delete them, but then the replies would still be in the archive, forever mocking me with their accurate assessments of the inadequacy of my ideas.
  • if you don't pay these guys on time.
  • by Saib0t (204692) <saibot&hesperia-mud,org> on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:12PM (#22264130)
    I can imagine this:
    Customer: Hi, I'd like a clean online reputation, can you do that?
    Company: Sure, just a couple of clicks, 100 bucks and you're clean... What's your name?
    Customer: Kevin Mitnick.
    Company: ...
    Company: ...
    Company: -_-'
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KublaiKhan (522918)
      What might work better is to offer counselling on how to craft a truly anonymous persona for yourself (for the naughty bits) and how to keep it separated from your real persona--and, of course, counselling on how to take care of your real online persona, and perhaps a service to check up on it from time to time.

      (If anyone out there wanted to hire me for that service, I'd be more'n willing for a very reasonable rate... ;-P )
      • Great ideas (especially the part about hiring you). It sounds like some of these problems come up when the online and offline identities are connected through malice of a third-party. I agree that nobody cares if I attack "KublaiKhan" -- it's a little silly. But if I figured out your real-life identity and posted "John Smith is KublaiKhan, he lives at 123 Main Street, he works at AcmeCo, drives a blue Honda, and here's his home phone number. Follow him around and harass him for his views on {abortion/ir
        • Thus why I use KublaiKhan here--it's comparatively difficult to trace the name KublaiKhan, being as it's reasonably popular as a pseudonym and it happens to be the name of a historical figure.

          I've another handle elsewhere, however, that is unique to me and can be traced back to my real identity--but I'm aware of that, and am generally mindful of what I post under that name.

          Of course, if you know my real name, you can generally figure out a handful of my less-obfuscated pseudonyms--not all of them, though, a
    • Probably not for the Mitniks nor the Scientologists of the world either.

      But what about the people who are falsely accused [wired.com] of being Scientologists? That guy has had his name, address, phone and SSN splashed all over the web, through no fault of his own. Seems like he could use some reputation management to clean up all of that info. Or, if it can't be cleaned-up, then to bury it in positive Google-karma.
  • by pthor1231 (885423) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:14PM (#22264150)
    the "article" It's a fucking paragraph, and 5 of the 6 links it has are back to itself. What a crock
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Where are mod points when I need them? The parent was informative. Now THIS comment is offtopic.

      Modding myself down by leaving the "no karma bonus" box checked
  • Non-crappy-blog link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:17PM (#22264204)
    I find bizzare and almost Kafkaesque that Scuttlemonkey has quoted, and linked to, and article which begins 'From the description in the article...'.

    Anyway, the real article is at

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/080130/technology/lifestyle_us_internet_technology_rights [yahoo.com]

    and says

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - A new breed of image-manager is emerging in the United States to take on the masked and hooded cybermobs who, bolstered by anonymity and weak laws, launch damaging attacks on other web users.

    "We are seeing online mobs emerge and launch attacks... with significant consequences, both to the people online and to their reputation offline," University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron told AFP.

    The anonymity afforded by the Internet "gives people a kind of strength to be much harsher than they would be in person," Georgetown University sociology professor, and co-founder of International Reputation Management (IRM) Christine Schiwietz said.

    Reputation managers step in where the law has failed, to provide "digital botox" to names in need of repair, as Schiwietz put it.

    A group of women law students at prestigious Yale University who were attacked online, in what has come to be known as the Auto-Admit scandal, have taken on the services of reputation management group, Reputation Defender.

    "Auto-Admit was ostensibly a site for getting advice about going to law school, but it degenerated into attacks on named women who were accused of having herpes, having abortions. They got rape threats, death threats," said Citron.

    In a posting made last year, and which remains on the web and AFP was able to see, one of the students was called a whore and had lewd references made to her anatomy by numerous assailants who hid behind bogus pseudonyms such as Marty Lipton King Jr.

    Anonymity and strength in numbers are fueling the online attacks.

    "Five years ago, you had to create a website to get information on the Internet. That site could be traced to an IP address and there was some accountability," Nino Kader of IRM said.

    "But Google owns blogs created on blogger.com. So there is a lack of accountability and that is one reason why people are getting pretty malicious out there," he said.

    Citron likened vicious cyber-mobs to the mob mentality of the Ku Klux Klan.

    "If you're in a crowd where people hold the same negative view as you, and you feel anonymous, you're going to do things you would never dream of doing if you had no mask and hood on," Citron said.

    Reputation Defender is paying for a lawsuit filed by the women in the Auto-Admit case against their attackers, but up to now, victims of cyber-thuggery have had little redress in the courts.

    "The law doesn't allow victims to sue the site operators because they aren't writing this stuff," said Citron.

    "The difficulty in moving against the poster is that they often write under a pseudonym, are often not required to register with a site before posting, or use anonymizing technology. They are totally masked," she added.

    Step in the reputation managers: they not only react to online maligning, as Reputation Defenders did in the Auto-Admit case, but also tout proactivity as the best tool to protect clients from online character assassination.

    "It's more and more important to know what's out there about you," IRM's Kader said.

    IRM concentrates on how clients appear in a Google search because "unless you are a hermit, you will be googled," Schiwietz said.

    "There are around 10,000 Google searches made each second, and googling is expected to double or triple because you will be able to do a search anywhere with a handheld device," Kader said.

    "I've been at meetings where people have googled the person opposite them," he added.

    One method used by IRM to buff someone's Internet legacy is to get the good news about them as high up in Go
  • by rueger (210566) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:18PM (#22264222) Homepage
    Am I really unusual in understanding that there are some things that one does not broadcast to the World? Am I alone is understanding that you don't post pictures of yourself drunk with transvestites [community-media.com] on Facebook? Am I alone in understanding that you don't film youself in illegal acts and then stick it on YouTube?

    Honestly, I don't care what someone does in their private life, but if they don't understand the line between private and public I probably don't want them working for me. Really people, is it that hard to use a pseudonym and a hotmail address?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You realize of course that it's not just individuals who post potentially embarrassing information about themseleves to the web, but other people like friends, relatives, or even complete strangers that do it without the individual's consent. How do you control that, other than taking up residence in your parents basement and never going out into the daylight? Not everyone wants to be a slashdot reader, you know.
      • by rueger (210566)
        Moderate your drinking. Moderate your drug use. Be selective in the company you keep. If you can't keep your pants on after two beers then maybe you should stay home.

        Potential employers want to know that you can exercize good judgement.
        • Potential employers want to know that you can exercize good judgement.

          But what about things that aren't good or bad judgment, but just controversial. If I worked for a very conservative company, they might be concerned if they saw my pictures at the next Pride Parade in Greenwich Village. It's perfectly "good judgment" to support gay rights (I think it's even a duty), but I want to keep my private life separate from my work life. I'm careful to not post photos of myself attached to my real name, but I ca
    • What if it wasn't you that posted the pictures of Facebook (or wherever). What if you didn't even know that anyone had a camera at that party with the drunk transvestites and then pictures of you show up on someone else's page somewhere.
      • by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:45PM (#22264670) Homepage Journal
        Simple...
        Don't embarrass yourself in public.
        I was at a talk that a Pro Football player was giving to some kids about making good choices. BTW this guy wasn't doing court ordered community service and never has.
        He told the kids that the teams have a bunch of experts that try and help the player not do stupid things. This expert was a gun expert. He listed all the times where it would be a bad time to carry your gun. One of the players asked, "Whe is a good time to carry your gun?" The expert said, "If you are going into any situation where having a gun is a good idea not going into that situation to start with is a better idea."

        So if you don't want pictures of you at a party with drunk transvestites then don't go to a party with drunk transvestites.
        Even a "private" party is a public place.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          The expert said, "If you are going into any situation where having a gun is a good idea not going into that situation to start with is a better idea."

          I wonder if I can use that excuse to avoid deploying with my Guard unit to the sandbox next rotation?

        • by morari (1080535)
          Awe, everyone wants to be at one of those parties though! Certainly not with that transvestite however...

          *shudders*

        • LGBT lifestyles are an example of a situation where some people think that a particular activity is perfectly moral while others don't. Not everyone who is in such a minority group wants to be an activist. Some just want to lead the lifestyle in private and not let it affect their professional life. Shouldn't people have that choice?

          I think you do have some expectation of privacy at private party, especially if it's at someone's home (rather than a hotel, convention center or similar location). Privacy
      • by Romancer (19668)
        Very good point.

        The other side of the coin is even here on slashdot.

        At the bottom of the page it says:
        "All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2008 SourceForge, Inc."

        The part about "Comments are owned by the Poster." is interesting since if the poster later wants the comment removed it puts forums in a difficult place. Either they remove it, at the request of the owner since they own it or if they refuse then the
    • by AndyG314 (760442)
      The people who post bad pictures of themselves really don't need someone to clean up their internet reputation, all they have to do is remove the material. The problem comes in when:
      1) Someone else posts the material of you on their website where people can find it (your buddy posts a video on youtube, entitled [your_name] drunk with transvestites )
      2) Someone else with your name posts material about themselves, but people confuse him with you.
      There can be legitimate problems with this sort of thing.
    • by mOdQuArK! (87332)
      What do you do if someone anonymous posts made-up stories and/or photoshopped images about you? Or one of your "buddies" gets you good and sloshed & videotapes everything? Or another stupid celebrity gets a "private" sex tape stolen out of their home?

      (I think these firms are a train wreck waiting to happen, but I think your response simplifies the problem too much.)
    • "Young People" don't always have the common sense to keep things off-line that "Older Folks" might think twice about. And, young people are more likely to express opinions that while admirable, might not work well in corporate America.

      For example, a young idealistic student might post a comment at a site like NoJailForPot.com [nojailforpot.com], and later think twice about it when applying for work after college at, say, a government agency or perhaps an investment house...

  • I was an idiot 15 years ago:
    http://groups.google.ca/group/comp.protocols.nfs/browse_thread/thread/76662c9239a05257 [google.ca]
    Who can I talk to in order to erase the fact that I wanted to connect MSDOS and UNIX somehow.
    Imagine! Wanting to connect two different operating systems together over Ethernet... how silly.
  • by MiniMike (234881) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:23PM (#22264294)
    At least, I couldn't find anything negative about them posted anywhere...
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:24PM (#22264308) Homepage Journal
    I was using the stalker site veromi.net the other day and came to a realization: now with search engines being ubiqutous, people with really common names seem to enjoy a better shield against employers googling information than those who have uncommon names. For example, there are probably a lot more "Tim Smiths" out there than there are "Mustafa Wenzel"s. Tim Smith is probably harder to find online, and if he did anything stupid as a teen(got caught shoplifting or whatever), the employer would have a much harder time finding it.

    Then again, if you google my name, esp. my full name, without quotes, most of the results are porn..... I just happen to have the same last name as the stage name of a famous porn actress who frequently appears with a man whose stage first and last name is the same as my first and middle name respectively.
    • Thus, the advice would seem to be to either change your name to a common one, or use a nondescript pseudonym for all your online identifications.

      Or, of course, to have common sense about what's connected with your name....but most people don't seem to understand how easily things can be 'connected'.
    • You can go to HR, and say "sure, Google me, but be warned, you will be violating company Internet usage rules if you look at the results." :-)
    • Agreed. I have 3 first names and a google search on me gets you squat. Searching on your email address or user name (if you use the same on multiple places) is something to worry about. I do alot of back tracking on our service users for use violations and the email address is golden.
      • Which is why it's handy to have a common username--it may be frustrating to try to find the same one on every forum, but on the flip side, it's hard to track you.

        One of my usernames happens to be (as far as I can tell) unique since about the turn of the century, when I came up with it--only things posted by me or quoting me will show up.

        This username, though, is surprisingly common, and there's only a handful of places where it's actually me--many of 'em fairly far down in the google search results. As a b
        • Yes, I use this ID for most things and places that won't take the underscore always piss me off. I decided not to sign up for StumbleOn because of it.
      • by SoTuA (683507)
        Same here - googling for my normal name will get you a ton of results, most of them a continent away from me. I appear around page six or so.

        Googling with my full name in quotes will yield me - sadly most of the results will be flamewars from usenet-archiving websites, compounded with helpful and polite participation in tomcat support mailing lists. People googling me will think I'm a jekyll/hyde schizo :)
    • John Holmes Seka? Man, I think I went to high school with you. Haha - just kidding, but that is a rather amusing coincidence.
    • Ron Jeremy Jameson, is that you?
    • This could lead to discrimination cases since whitebread names are more common than ethnic names for the most part. So all the better :) IMO, businesses shouldn't google potential employees because it is such a red herring to see what someone does outside of work. So he doesn't speak in complete sentences, wear a suit and act superpolite when he's not being interviewed. So what? Everyone is going to try and make a good impression and everyone is going to not be in interview mode their whole life. By not hir
      • businesses shouldn't google potential employees because it is such a red herring to see what someone does outside of work. So he doesn't speak in complete sentences, wear a suit and act superpolite when he's not being interviewed. So what? Everyone is going to try and make a good impression and everyone is going to not be in interview mode their whole life.

        I would disagree. We hired a girl for our department (I can hear here spouting stupid right now) and she interviewed very well. I wish I had searched for her on Google so I could have seen how batshit insane she is. She kept it quiet until the probation period was over.

    • by krondell (1147917)
      In a word, no. I worked on an anti-fraud reputation system for a large poker site. The system I worked on didn't rely on your name or any other personal information. It works on the permise that while it is easy to make new accounts, it's difficult to change your hardware. And it's your hardware's reputation/history with the associated accounts that is aggragated into a huge db. When suspicious activies occur - charge backs on stolen credit cards mostly - that "evidence" is entered into the db. Analys
      • Thanks for the info! I will use it to promote my "hardware virtualization for poker cheats" software.
    • Step 1: legally change name to John Smith
      Step 2: ...
      Step 3: profit!
  • Stay the hell away from tequila.

    • Right! And don't ever be friends with people who have tequila and blog!

      Full Disclosure: My company is considering the ORM market and I have been asked to look into it.
  • Because I've said it many times before here at slashdot, if you Google somebody and Google says they're a terrorist child molesting copyright infringer, you're setting yourself up for a slander/lible suit.

    Anyone who's ever managed a database of any size at all knows that a name is an incredibly bad identifier. Especially a name like scuttlemonkey or FuzzyDaddy. There were six people on the internet in 1997 with my name, one of whom is a semi-famous comedian who's been on Comedy central.

    I'm not him. Im not
  • Can Jack Thompson really afford their services? I wonder how much it costs to fix a reputation that is currently sitting somewhere near negative infinity?
  • We now have questionable social "networking" sites where your past dating partners can rate you. We have an eternal archive of everything anyone ever posted about you on the Internet.

    "Oh I never use my real name on the Internet" goes only so far - these aren't things you are posting about yourself, these are things other people are saying about you. Can they be connected to you? Depends on how detailed the person commenting on you wants to be.

    Are we ready for having our children 15 years from now ask why
  • I've been trolling on slashdot and usenet for quite a few years, and, um, what do I do if potential employees discover, by searching, that yeah, I really am something of a pompous jerk? Is there somebody I can pay to make them think I'm nice... like, if I put a bunch of flowers and stuff on my home page, and say that I love you all and cry a lot, would that help? Or do I just have to suck it?

    Moral of the story is, at some point, what you do on the internet is really yourself, or at least a piece of it, an
    • by The Queen (56621)
      what you do on the internet is really yourself

      This is the divide we are seeing in the generations of users now - back in my day, I had pseudonyms and multiple e-mail addresses, you bet. I did a lot of racy stuff that I never wanted a potential boss to find out about. Now though, as a symptom (or result) of the last ten years of reality TV, no one seems to have anything to hide - until they get in trouble for it.

      You used to be able to troll anonymously and spew hate on message boards and get away with it. Th
  • 1. Be thoughtful before posting information/pictures/videos on the Internet.
    2. Try not to be a Dick even when you disagree with someone.
    3. Get your own presence on the web.
    4. Use Google Alerts.
    If you don't want someone to see it, don't post it, is it that hard?

    I blame alcohol. Go ahead Google me. Have at it.

    • What about people who are jealous of you, or just hate you for no reason, and post your real name, real photos, and slanderous lies about you without your permission? There are laws saying the webhost isn't responsible, and it's impossible to track down anonymous cowards.
  • I made fun of some paranoid lady who thinks everyone is out to get her and now she lists me as a possible child molestor.
    I love google.
  • Easy: I rarely do stuff with my real name on the Internet.
    (Hint: my name isn't corsec67)

    If I don't want someone to find out the name I go by for most of my online stuff, I just don't give them my username.

    Doing a google search for my real name comes up with my thesis and a patent, both of which are me, and not a whole lot else.
  • You can pick your friends...
  • I just read another article discussing the finer points of Internet life. How we've broken down our psyche into different 'avatars' and how FaceBook and other are bringing this home to roost. (I'm paraphrasing here, and I wish I could remember where the article came from...MSN maybe?)... Anyway, I digress... The problem I see with these types of sites is that they can accumulate all of this data, in the name of getting it offline for you, but where does it go? One of the steps (and here comes the attac
  • Looks like one of the subjects of the article has addressed the question on its blog: Reputation Defender Blog [reputation...erblog.com].

    I'd be curious to see if AutoAdmit posts an official response.
  • Try Asking, Nicely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hittman (81760) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:25PM (#22266114) Homepage
    Here's something that might work: Ask, nicely.

    Back in '99 I wrote an article [davehitt.com] about someone who threatened lawsuits against people who had posted his poem. Last summer I got an e-mail from him ,asking, not demanding, that I take the article down because it was the first thing that came up when someone searched on his name. It was ancient history and not something he was proud of.

    I thought about it a bit, and, rather than remove the article, removed his name from it. It took about a month for Google to forget, but now when you search on his name the article is nowhere to be found.

    If he had demanded that it be taken down, I would have laughed and ignored him. If he had threatened legal action, I would have blogged about it and brought it even more attention. But he asked. That made all the difference.
  • I have an almost unique fist and last name. Almost, there's one other guy with the same name. It turns out he's a children's television director. A few years ago I started getting calls from pre-teens who wanted to wanted to be actors. This got my attention (and kind of creeped me out) so I went to investigate.

    It turned out that my portfolio web site got top Google page rank, his IMDB page #2. So kids, being kids, weren't smart enough to figure out that my web site wasn't the portfolio of a TV direct
    • by unitron (5733)

      I have an almost unique fist...

      So you've been online since that meant using Morse Code?

  • I wonder if this type of things could be used by Microsoft for Vista's reputation?
  • What's really scary about this isn't reputation, but the notion of having a set of legal tools for telling people they can't publish things you don't like. Reputation has been an issue for a long time, and people have informally learned to manage it. Enough of us have grown up with this that we can even teach our kids how not to make an idiot of themselves online before they're ready.

    But what's escalating of late is this:

    legal bullying of anyone who says something you don't like

    Most any truth

  • From about 1996 onward I decided putting my picture, name, or address on the Internet was a reckless idea and stopped.
    Now I manage a handful of pseudonyms and assume the net as a whole is one place when I share personal data. I try not to offer enough pieces to positively identify me within about 500km. ...but then there are those who post all their personal photos to facebook and so on, so I guess they'll learn the hard way and make an example for the rest of us - like the guy whose boss found a pic of him
  • The top four hits at Google for Michael Crawford mental illness [google.com] are pages of mine. Yet I still have a job - and a very good one. I've been a software engineer for twenty years.

    In doing the search just now, I was very interested to find that another Michael Crawford has written extensively on mental illness. I'll have to drop him a line. He's the guy with the book at Amazon; all of my writing is online.

  • I can see this being a valid service. Some websites just won't remove your information, no matter how nicely you ask.

    But I've found that time alone is a good solution. Like probably a lot of people here, I've been online for a long time and have said some embarrassing things on newsgroups and web forums when I was younger (and even now, when I'm just fooling around). I annoyed me that someone at work could google my first name + last name and come up with that stuff.

    But for the last several years, I've been
    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      I've gone from being the first page of hits on google to being several pages down after an Alaskan country music artist. :)

  • Maybe Bernard Shifman [whizardries.com] can finally get a job...
  • Some people believe that they should be totally invisible, always using pseudonyms, but this can be against them: as eponymous blogs and webpages become more common, employers and potential business partners will start being extremely distrustful towards people who maintain no online presence under their real name.

Please go away.

Working...