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Posts from the ‘internet privacy’ Category



When a villain openly attacks, it’s highly unlikely that rescue will arrive at that moment of desperate need–and that includes a rescue by our Super Prez Barack Obama.

As I write, a computer virus is building a head of steam that promises to hit many businesses–and they may never see it coming. Almost all companies run anti-virus software to prevent their networks from being “hacked”. Today, the eyes of the IT world are glued on global computer networks, waiting to see what effect the Conficker virus will have on up to 15 million computers that may have been infected since last autumn. Conficker finds vulnerable computers and automatically disables security services and blocks access to anti-virus websites. This is one bad worm. I define this as cyber-terrorism, would you agree?

Now, what about cyber-terrorism that defines itself as identifying vulnerable websites and disabling their ability to effectively market through ecommerce? How could this happen? Simply.

Online corporate reputation may be the most vulnerable point of impact that companies face today. While almost all businesses connected to the Internet are vigilant about anti-virus software updates, analytics and impressions, few consider what can be done to damage a corporate reputation by ensuring that routine online search results return negative, slanderous and in some cases even libelous results.

It is estimated by industry insiders that by the end of 2010, criminals will routinely use the Internet to actually extort payments from companies. Nonpayment could result in a type of cyber-terrorism that few have considered. Alright, alright, you say. This is a far-fetched idea, a kind of doomsday scenario. The question for consideration is this: If you knew it was coming, what–if anything–would you do about it?

There is one simple answer. Get a firm grip on your company’s online reputation. Persistent monitoring and intervention is the only current solution that I am aware of. The best way to counteract negative postings is to do it with positive information that has greater credibility. Consistently scanning and evaluating for online reputation attacks is the proactive approach of defense.

Absent Homeland Security, we common people cannot look to SuperPrez for our solution. We must protect and defend ourselves in the real world. There is no bailout or rescue for this type of crisis.

–Steven Wyer, Reputation Advocate




Q. What do you get when you combine today’s search technology with the data of 50 million users?

A. An idea called — a repackaged version of profiles linked to personal data from IMHO this is not a good idea! RUN!

Heads up. profile information is the property of the largest online privacy data reseller on the planet. That’s right, the company holding your “mylife” profile is the exact same company that sells personal information about the value of your home, your credit history and more. Wink, wink.

Why in the world would anyone pay $60 per year to have their privacy invaded, their information sold and their intelligence insulted? Next time you have a minute, give Jeff Tinsley, the CEO, a call at 310-571-3144 and tell him what you think.

The icing on the cake: a “No Refund” policy! It’s the perfect storm. No real service, privacy invasion and no refund. These guys should make a fortune, but not from me (or from you!).

–Steven Wyer,




Learn from a big business experience. Do you remember a phenomenon referred to in the media as “Dell Hell”?

Dell Hell resulted because a single person–who happened to be a blogger–had a very bad experience. Jeff Jarvis was upset with Dell Computers. In true blogger style he documented his experience on a blog and word quickly spread to the point where it was covered in print by Business Week magazine.

Dell, however, failed to respond to his rant and so his bad customer experiences continued as did the negative comments on the blogosphere. And what happened next was hell for Dell. Their reputation worldwide suffered enormous damage. A coveted reputation for great customer service turned quickly into fodder for late night television humor.

The cost not just to their reputation, but also to shareholder value, was astounding. A study reported on showed that Dell sustained long-term damage to its brand and that the culprits for the poor reputation of Dell’s customer services were bloggers!

So, what can you do? If an online mention is negative, but true, then find a conduit to present your side of the story and try as hard as you can to keep it offline. A phone call, a meeting, or if need be a letter, are all viable. If you are civil, the author may consider removing the post or at least adding information that will help you.

Beyond this, step back and get a plan so that you aren’t caught off guard again. Utilize blogs, forums and social online networks to present information about you, your company or your family that reflect true character. Unless the bad publicity and false information is countered, the assumptions that will be made are likely to cause you long-term injury.

And you may never know exactly just how. Most people simply “google” someone, look at the information on the first page and then draw their own conclusions without verifying the source. By proactively addressing bad information, you can protect your online reputation now and in the future.

–by Steven C. Wyer




Cur-ren-cy [kuruhn-see] The fact of being widely accepted and circulated from person to person. (Source:

If I am reading this definition correctly, then one of the meanings of currency has to do with a fact being widely accepted from person to person. That’s what it says, right?

One general conclusion can be drawn here–people have currency. That’s right. Your reputation, the facts widely accepted about you, is currency. You can feel pretty good about that. Even if the economy is in the dumps, at least your reputation has high value. At least you have that going for you!

So now, a question. What if the information about you, the information widely held from person to person, is not fact? What if it is false, misleading information taken out of context? You get the picture. Where would such a thing happen and who could be so low? The answer is anyone and the location for these offenses is global in scope.

Each one of us has a reputation. Actually we each have two reputations. The first one is made up of the widely accepted facts about us that are known by those close to us.  Friends, family and business colleagues all create our “currency”. Using this currency, we have built careers, developed friends, earned degrees and professional licenses, and built businesses that largely define the lives we live today.

There is also a second reputation, but it’s one that you don’t control. Your online reputation is not typically something that you think about, until… Until you apply for a job only to be turned down without explanation. Until you lose a friend, a client or an important contract and later find out that someone “googled” you. Until…

Here are the facts.

  1. Most people go online and do a search to see what can be learned before pursuing any type of relationship.
  2. Most people believe that the information found on the first page of that search is the most relevant, even if it isn’t accurate.
  3. Whatever conclusion is drawn, there will almost certainly be no attempt to verify that information with you.

By now you are probably typing your name into Google for a quick search. When you do, don’t forget your middle name, initials and nicknames. There is information out there about you. Count on it. If you have ever been mentioned in, or any of the more than 100 complaints sites available for expressing opinions, you already know what this bad information can do. It can rob you of your currency.

Don’t ignore what is out there on the Internet about you. You either have to deal with it, or you will live with it. And here’s another very important fact. Once information is posted on the web it is almost impossible to get it removed. So don’t squander your currency.

Find out what has been said about you and then research solutions to hit this problem head on. Creative solutions do exist. Click here and take a look at a few.

–Steven Wyer




If you discover bad information about yourself posted on an online blog, forum or social site, the hard thing not to do is overreact.

Life is not fair. Unlike credit scores and property appraisals, there is no conventional way to dispute false online information. And negative information negatively impacts your reputation.

So what should you do? First, determine what has been said and where it has been posted. If the mention is factually incorrect and you identify the source as someone you know, try a friendly tone and send evidence that they are wrong. You can then ask for the removal or retraction of the entry.

As you might suspect, those posting such bad information may not be highly motivated to oblige. However, you may be able to add a comment onto a negative posting to counteract the bad publicity and damage to your online reputation.

You can also utilize blogs, forums and social sites such as MySpace and Facebook to redefine who you really are. Professional social sites such as Plaxo and LinkedIn can also be of great assistance in presenting you in a positive and professional way.

Don’t fight fire with fire in an unconventional attack on your reputation; the high road is definitely the one to take. Responding with a direct attack will probably agitate the author and may create even more negative postings to be dealt with.

Evaluating the potential damage that a negative posting can have on your professional and personal life is critical. But damage can be minimized by hiring a professional reputation management firm like ReputationAdvocate. Evaluation, strategy and effective short- and long-cycle execution will insure that your online reputation is preserved.

Don’t underestimate the power of the written word when fueled by the worldwide web!

–Steven Wyer