Most people have googled themselves at one point or another, but few give much thought to the fact that others are googling them as well. As a matter of fact, it’s become the norm for employers to conduct a basic internet search on potential hires, separate from any official background checks that might be required. The problem, of course, is that anyone can put anything on the Internet, and once information is out there, it becomes a herculean task to somehow have it removed.
Forbes recently did an interview with online reputation management guru Michael Fertik, who talked about how everyone needs to manage or at least keep track of their online reputation in some way. Fertik, the owner of Reputation.com, sees a wide range of customers. In some cases, customers simply don’t want personal information to be available, such as a history of illness, for example. In other cases, clients are concerned about the impact of negative reviews on their business. Also, it isn’t uncommon for an ex-spouse or former employee to post unflattering information online.
According to Fertik, victims of this kind of behavior have little recourse in terms of getting the information removed, but what they can do is get the undesirable pages off of Google’s Page One. This goes a long way toward improving your online image. Fertik adds that many people only go to a reputation professional after the damage is done, and this is a big mistake. In fact, being proactive about your reputation is far less expensive in the long run.