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As far back as May of 2005, Oprah, the darling of day time television, has been ruthlessly attacked morning, noon and night. She is not even safe as she sleeps behind guarded gates and personal security. Despite her estimated billion dollar net worth, she is helpless to defend herself.

First there is There are multiple posts, comments and even a mailing list for this series of attacks. Debbie Schlussel, a conservative political commentator, radio talk show host, columnist, and attorney owns this website and wastes no time in letting her opinion be known.

Then there are the multiple YouTube attacks on Oprah. There are forums, blogs, posts on many different content sites and a dedicated website just so people can voice their distain for her.

Adding insult to injury, this week the stalwart publication Newsweek has come out against the global media diva. She has been attacked through virtually every form of media, but none has given voice to the masses more than the internet. What is the source of my information you may ask? Google. Simple, straight forward search results. Had these types of results been found for a small business owner or business professional, their career would most likely have been ruined. Fortunately, the big “O” has enough money to simply ignore these complaints.

Ordinary, small businesses cannot afford to ignore online attacks. Doctors, lawyers and officers of public companies are severely impacted by online complaints. Even state and national government officials cannot combat this new form of slander. Conventional approaches to reputation management issues simply do not work and ignoring such online information simply supports perceptions that such claims are true.

Fortunately, there are now reputation management service providers that represent clients against negative search engine results. These reputation advocates operate under yet another acronym; SERM. Search Engine Reputation Management professionals bring a unique set of skills and address these complaint sites and negative postings with unconventional discretion. This service business is sure to experience significant growth over the next few years as these online search attacks grow in number and veracity

While the super stars and the super rich simply brush aside attacks on their character, most cannot. As real income and real opportunity are impacted, all professionals must monitor their online presence and manage the content found. Very few of us can simply say “O” well

-Steven Wyer