UNDERSTANDING THE GAME
Before anyone can adequately consider the need for reputation defense, they must first understand the new game of online identity.
First you need a clear understanding of the possible effects that bad information in an online attack can have, and then decide that you are committed to maintaining a good reputation online. It used to be that we monitored information such as credit scores. We knew that adverse information could negatively impact both our personal and professional lives. While this is still true, there is another enemy that can prove to be far more powerful.
Ten years ago a small, unknown company named Google started offering the ability to research information posted on the Internet by doing a simple search. Fast forward to 2009. There are now an estimated 40 billion pages of content available by simply pointing and clicking. There are an estimated 110,000,000 blogs and that number is growing by about 200,000 a day!
Until you grasp the magnitude of these numbers you cannot accept the potential for damage. The simple truth is that you have an online reputation whether you are aware of it or not. Without your input, contribution or validation, information exists about you, your family and your business. You can choose to ignore it, you can just live with it or you can proactively commit to maintaining your good reputation. It’s your call.
The first time that a search result turns up bad information about you–even if it is false or unfair–you will decide to either defend your reputation or to ignore what is being posted. Doctors, financial service professionals, students and professionals interviewing for employment are all impacted by bad online publicity. The time to think through how you will respond is before an attack occurs, and not afterwards.