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Defending your reputation

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Monday October 23, 2006 )

What are people saying about you online? If you’ve been around the web for any length of time, chances are you’ve ruffled someone’s feathers along the way and they’ve fired back in a public manner.

That’s par for the course in the online world – we do need to develop somewhat of a thick skin, but what about wildly inaccurate, very inappropriate, vicious, or slanderous information?

A new service launched recently claims it will take your corner and go into battle for you.

Reputation Defender states it will search social networks, reviews sites, blogs, news sources, media sharing sites and general web sites for information relating to you, then present the results in an easy to understand report. From there, if you should choose to do so, you can engage the extended services of Reputation Defender to have any erroneous and defamatory information altered or removed from these sites.

How do they have the information erased or changed? The site isn’t clear on this, but given the presence of experienced law-talkin’ dudes on their senior management team, I expect it it’s in in the form of strongly worded legal notices.

Current in Beta, as any Web 2.0’ish looking services worth their salt are these days, the Reputation Defender service costs $15.95 a month for a 6 month subscription (cheaper for longer subscriptions) and if you should want them to pursue removing content from a site it’s $29.95 per incident.

Is the service worth the cash? – if it delivers, most certainly. A single nasty comment on a high profile site can threaten your chances at juicy jobs and lucrative contracts.

Multiple nasty comments spread around the web can be a death sentence for your career and business prospects as recruiters and companies are increasingly searching the web for information on potential employees or business partners. When these companies search, they aren’t interested so much in the truthfulness of these poison postings, just the fact they are there can be enough to have them shy away from further negotiations.

If you’ve ever tried having a slanderous comment removed from a site, you’d know it can be a time-sucking task, without guarantees of success, so Reputation Defender’s pricing definitely seems reasonable.

Seeing services such as this launch makes my post of a couple of months back on poison comment karma even more relevant. It may still be the wild west out here to a certain degree, but the cyber versions of Walker, Texas Ranger are emerging on the horizon :). If Reputation Defender is successful in their mission, expect other similar services appearing very soon.

By the way, kudos to Mashable; from whom I learned about Reputation Defender’s launch a couple of hours ago. Mashable is a great resource for social networking related news.


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