DENVER, Colo., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- It's easy to dismiss the Internet as a tool used only by the young and hip. Since people who are young and hip tend to have little excess money to spend and little power to wield, it's also easy to ignore damaging information on the Internet. Since these people are the only ones looking at this information, the impact of such information should be relatively small. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Negative information is much more damaging than it might seem at first glance, and companies and individuals who ignore that information do so at their peril.
The Impact of Information
Damaging Internet information can take many forms. For example, some companies struggle with negative information that pertains to the products or services they are trying to sell. This information is often created by former consumers, and the data can be incredibly influential. For example, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte Products Group, 62 percent of consumers read consumer-written reviews of products, and of those who did read this information, 82 percent said the data was directly responsible for the purchasing choices they made. Similarly, EXL Media reports that 55 percent of consumers believe strongly or somewhat strongly that consumer reviews and ratings are more influential than online advertising. Given these results, it's clear that companies can't simply ignore negative information posted by consumers.
Damaging information can also come in the form of blog posts or personal attacks posted on websites. These comments are sometimes posted on public sites such as the Rip-Off Report, but they can also be placed on personal blogs or shared via Twitter, Facebook or other social media outlets. People who are accused of a crime or linked to someone who has been accused might also see their names and photographs splashed across criminal websites, news websites or private blogs, and these rankings tend to move to the top of search engine results.
Negative Information and the Law
Companies and individuals who hope to remove information from the Internet with the help of a lawyer might be dismayed to learn that the law is often firmly on the side of the writer, not on the side of the person defamed. For example, in a court case known as Vogel v. Felice, the plaintiffs argued that their inclusion in the defendant's list of "Top 10 Dumb Asses" could be construed as defamation. Unfortunately, the courts determined that the phrase "dumb ass" couldn't be proven or disproven with facts, and therefore couldn't be considered defamation. The defendants were allowed to keep the information online, and faced no charges for doing so.
Similarly, online companies have no legal obligation to remove information they post on their sites as Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code states that the provider of the service isn't considered the publisher of the service, and therefore isn't responsible for the content. In other words, the information on the sites is considered information provided by individuals, and since so many postings are anonymous, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to track down whom to sue to get the content removed, if it would be removed at all.
Since information can be so damning, and companies can be resistant to the idea of removing that information, reputation management is the only reasonable way to reduce the amount of damage a company faces. Instead of attempting to sue a firm to get content removed, or instead of simply ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away, companies and individuals can contract with professionals who can use specific techniques to reduce the impact of the negative information that seems omnipresent and impossible to remove.
Reputation management involves creating a barrage of positive content that reflects a company's or an individual's core attributes. This positive information is keyword dense, virtually ensuring that this content will pop to the top of search results, suppressing and pushing down the negative content that already exists. Viewers are unlikely to see this content, since it will appear in page 6, 7 or even 15 in search results. Visit InternetReputation.com to see examples of these techniques in action.
For more information on removing information from the Internet visit InternetReputation.com HERE.
Media Contact: Gary B InternetReputation.com, 800-758-9012, firstname.lastname@example.org
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