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Posts tagged ‘online reputation’


Steven Wyer | Google Authorship Officially Gone

Google’s Gary Illyes has made it official: Google Authorship is no more, says Steven Wyer. After a relatively brief deployment, Google’s idea to match original content with a writer’s online presence has fallen out of favor with the search engine. Was it ever in public’s good graces? Steven Wyer believes not.

Theoretical origins

From the beginning, Steven Wyer says Google Authorship suffered from a lack of user interest. Authorship’s roots date back to 2007 and the implementation of Google’s AgentRank. Steven Wyer describes AgentRank as Google’s author ranking program, working in a similar fashion as Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).  AgentRank essentially gave authors a viable connection between pieces of content, strengthening their position as an authoritative voice.

AgentRank persisted as a theoretical idea until Google adopted markup standards in 2011, explains Steven Wyer. The same year, Google unveiled Google+ and announced that the newly implemented Authorship markups would be universally connected to an “agent” via their Google+ account. However, Steven Wyer notes that even in-depth video tutorials by Google failed to give webmasters and everyday bloggers the technical ability to tag their content correctly. According to Steven Wyer, just under 1/3 of the users who would have benefited from Authorship used it, and many of those did so without success.

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Companies Dealing With Capital Markets Challenged By Online Reputation

Reputation Advocate stocks imageWith more than 10,500 financial service companies out there, professionals are more exposed than ever to the backlash of negative online reputation damage. When words such as “scam”, “fraud”, “thief” or “criminal” are even casually mentioned in the context of a financial services entity, the company almost always takes a hit to the bottom line.

These comments are not to be confused with information on sites managed by state agencies or federal government and regulator sites such as the SEC and FINRA. Nearly every state provides a site to file either a formal or informal complaint against those involved in financial services. Many of these sites provide online forms and even extend office hours for convenience. If services provided fall within the broad definition of insurance then each state has an insurance commissioner to oversee such regulated businesses.

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How Your Private Tweets May Not Stay Private

online-reputation-management-twitterYou’ve done everything experts recommend to keep your Twitter feed private. You’ve protected your Tweets and you’re careful to only accept follow requests from people you’ve verified. You’re free to post anything you want, safe in the knowledge that no one outside of your small group of followers will ever see it.

Or will they?

Reputation Advocate recognizes that Twitter can provide a level of comfort for users who forget strangers, friends, and even employers might be watching. In fact, tweets might show up in search results years after they’re posted, staying out there to haunt posters for many years to come. Until recently, people have assumed these tweets would eventually have an expiration date, but the U.S. Library of Congress’ project to catalog tweets on a server for posterity has many realizing the lasting power of comments posted on the Internet. Read more »


Places, Pluses – and a Lot of Confusion

With Google’s most recent changes to its local listings functions, users are once again left to figure out exactly what it all means. For the small business owners dependent on local reviews, stars, smiley faces and other rating indications this may be one of the most frustrating aspects of using the Internet as a core-marketing tool.

An attempt to understand basic concepts of search engine optimization (SEO) is daunting to most daily business users. Expanding on that platform in an endeavor to discuss local search and SEO quickly sends local businesses heading for the exits. Dozens of consultants, vendors, college students and friends-of-friends all offer to clarify exactly how to benefit from these various services and search algorithms – for a fee. In the middle stands small business. Owners who are focused on the challenges of day-to-day business understand that the Internet is changing the way business is done but have little time to learn a whole new set of skills.  Read more »


Sunshine Laws Expose the Guilty and the Innocent Forever

By definition, “sunshine” laws have been put into place to create transparency in both the state and federal governments. The unintended byproduct of this transparency, however, is creating long-term issues for millions of Americans. Freedom Of Information statutes are exposing people arrested for misdemeanors such as DUI even when the charges are dropped. At issue are the booking records and specifically the pictures or “mug shots” taken at the time of initial booking. While charges may be dropped, the images remain online in perpetuity.

For many people, these incidents are an isolated example of temporary poor judgment. While the incident may have been pushed to the back of a distant memory, the information remains available online. While the law clearly indicates that this information is to be published, for many moving forward is proving to be very challenging.

There are two issues that need to be addressed. The first is that this information is delivered through state and federal regulation; and there is really nothing that can be done about that. The second issue is that this type of information usually ranks very high within a person’s search results – often on page one. If such information requires an explanation, then it is an issue – always.

While all states have a certain element of transparency within public records, some states are more pro-active than others. Take Florida as an example. offers booking records and pictures from a number of different searchable databases run by local police and sheriff databases. This information is all a matter of public record; however making it so readily available is very punitive. This unfortunately demonstrates the unintended consequence of state transparency laws.

Clearly this information can also be used to exploit people and shame them. More troubling is the possibility that it can be easily accessed as current and perspective employers, peers, competitors and social acquaintances are gathering background information. Serving as Managing Director for Reputation Advocate, an online reputation management firm, I can personally attest to the fact that people attempting to address this issue contact our firm every week. While there are several companies that represent the ability to remove the mug shot for a fee, few are providing answers to the underlying issue. From my perspective, people must take control of their identity online in order to protect themselves from future embarrassment.

At Reputation Advocate, we work through an affiliation with a local law firm, Waterford Law Group, to negotiate with the site and remove the mug shot if the situation complies with site terms and conditions. Every day, our company consults with businesses and individuals who have come to a point where online defense is a priority. Removing public records such as these is a first step, however it can provide a false sense of security. Our goal is to position professionals in such a way that they are viewed honestly and transparently while at the same time putting their best foot forward.

We will readily acknowledge that fees are paid in the removal process, but for most people contacting Reputation Advocate this is not an issue – they understand there is cost involved. The questions most people focus on when calling our offices relate to how they might prevent this type of embarrassment again. That is where I believe the true value of our company’s services is found.