Has someone placed derogatory and damaging information about you online? Has this information the potential to, or has it already caused you to lose opportunities, and relationships not to mention sleep? Are you concerned that it will continue to do damage to you? Are you worried about what other online attacks will come next? Or do you have a high profile and feel like you are ripe for this type of attack? If any of these define you or your current situation, you are a perfect client for an online reputation management firm.

Reputation management firms are the first and last line of defense against online reputation attacks and they excel at keeping your name and reputation safe on the Internet.

Here is a basic overview of how they operate and the strategies they employ to protect you.

They determine if and what damage has been done

The first step is to assess if there is any negative information circulating about you online. If this is the case, there is a determination about the reach and impact of the negative information. Often a simple search engine enquiry will reveal that there is negative information about you out there. The first few pages will reveal the most popular search responses to your name, so if something reveals itself there then you have issues that need attention. Following through to where the information resides will reveal responses people have to that information. Are there conversations about you started around the information? Are they also negative? This can create further problems for you.

They will monitor your name for any new information put on the web about you

They will also place alerts so that as information about you comes on the Internet, they and you will be alerted to it and be in a position to track the information and get to the source of it as well. Monitoring will happen across the Internet and on photo and video websites, blogs and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This monitoring part is time consuming but critical because it alerts you to what is really going on and the speed with which it is happening. Often attacks will come in bursts and then stop for a period or permanently. Being able to monitor activity around your name will give you and understanding of how you are being attacked.

They will implement a plan to deal with the current damaging information

The plan will always involve two aspects:

Having the damaging information removed. The most obvious thing to do is to get any damaging information, particularly if it is inaccurate, removed from the Internet. This can be achieved by showing that either the information is false, slander, contains proprietary or copyrighted information or is information that may compromise a current investigation. The reputation management firm will approach websites disseminating the information with a demand for them to take the information down based on one of these criteria. Generally speaking, if there is data to back up why the information should come down, it will be taken down. However, because of freedom of speech laws, too often damaging information is allowed to remain on the web. So you should assume that much of the information will be remain, no matter how scandalous or libelous it may be.

Having the damaging information buried on search engines: Reputation management firms generate tons of web content, including social media bios, blog posts, and articles offering positive information about you. They places this information on many websites, including ones they create, so that when someone searches for your name, it is this positive content that will appear on the first pages of a search. The negative content gets essentially buried in searches. To be most effective at this reputation management companies have specific expertise about how the Internet and search engines work, and the best companies know how to get your good articles at the top of any searches for your name.

Remember, information doesn’t need to be outrageous to hurt you. If it causes people to look at you in a different light, or negatively in any way, it can be damaging. So do not wait for any random information to destroy your name or reputation, consider engaging a reputation management firm to keep you safe online.