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Only You Can Control Your Online Reputation

March 9, 2010

I have been helping a website owner with the management of his online article directory.

I received an email from him yesterday, asking to remove a particular set of articles from his database…

It seems someone had contacted him, threatening to destroy his website’s reputation, because he had an author in his database who had been convicted of child pornography…


Sure… If you type the author’s name into Google, the #2 listing was the guy who had been convicted of a sex crime… But a closer look at the rest of the results indicated that the author of the articles on this website was the guy listed in Google’s search results in every spot, except #2. Unless the guy convicted of sex crimes got started in the telecom industry as an 11-year-old, the child porn guy and the author of the articles in the website in question were not the same person!!!

I shared this information with the guy who owned the article directory. He agreed that the two people were not the same person, but he figured that if one person was unwilling to do due diligence before making threats against his business, then others would also be unwilling to do their due diligence…

He asked me to remove the articles of the innocent author, because he could not bear the bad publicity that could come his way, as a result of people who are quick to jump to the wrong conclusions…

As an online business owner, YOU are the only person who can protect your reputation online…

I can jump to the highest plateau and confess that I am not the Bill Platt, who is the head of the Republican party in Ohio… You may remember that he did something that the press made a lot of fuss about… I did not read the details, but I understand he insulted Obama in some way, and the press hung him out to dry…

I am not that Bill Platt…

I am also not the Bill Platt, who is a producer, director and writer, who has done work for the SyFy Channel…

I am also not the Bill Platt, who owns a design firm, nor the Bill Platt, who is a college professor in Lousianna…

I am also not the Bill Platt, who takes people deep-sea fishing off of Galveston, Texas

I am also not the Bill Platt, who is Senior Vice President of Engineering and Support at NComputing, Inc.

I am not the Bill Platt, who is a dentist in Reno, Nevada

I am also not the Bill Platt, who hangs in the Firebird discussion forum and flames everyone who exhibits even the slightest dissatisfaction with his point of view…

Fortunately, there are no Bill Platt’s who have a criminal record posted online… So I won’t have the problem that the guy who this article was written about will have to deal with…

If you are confused, I am the Bill Platt, who owns The Phantom Writers Article Marketing Service. I have also written hundreds of articles that can be found on thousands of websites online.

The poor chap, who inspired this article, first needs to realize that there is a problem, then he needs to take pro-active steps to prevent the perv from hurting his business…

In most cases, if you type your own name into the search engines, you are going to find a large number of listings that are not super-optimized for the search engines…

To move a particular search result – out of sight and out of mind for 70% of search engine users – one only needs to push an ugly search result off of page one… In other words, the individual only needs to get ten pages on ten domains to rank higher than the search listing that could make someone look bad…

To move a particular search result out of the sight of 90% of search users, one only needs 20 pages to rank higher than the bad listing….

Your LinkedIn.com page and Twitter.com pages are two examples of easily acquired pages that can help push the bad listing down the page…

The average person will only need to set up free profiles where ever they can get them, and then to build a few inbound links to each profile page, to push the ugly search listing off of page one of the search results – out of sight and out of mind…

It is super-easy to have your profile pages to outrank the sexual predator page made available by the government… After all, government websites are not playing the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game with their web pages…

Although it is fairly easy to push the criminal lookup pages out of page one and off of page two in the search engines, it does require some effort to make it happen…

Another easy way to accomplish the same outcome is to add a middle initial to your public name online, so the chances of confusion are eliminated, especially when the middle initial of the perp is known…

As this story proves, you will not be protected by your innocence… Those do-gooder’s who spend their time chasing sexual predators online DO NOT take the time to make sure that the object of their witch hunts are the actual guilty people, instead of innocent bystanders…

Run your name through Google to see if there are any search results that could make YOU look bad… Forget that those ugly people who share your name are not you… Your guilt is proven by whatever search results follow your name…

Check the search results at the major search engines to make sure you are safe, and if you find a search result that could tarnish your reputation, take whatever steps are necessary to push those bad results out of the page one search results… and if you are worried about those people who dig deep, then also take action to push the bad search listing out of page two also…

In the end, only you can control your online reputation… If you don’t control your online reputation, some misguided do-gooder will try to tell people that you are the criminal, who shares your name…

Bill Platt, owner of http://ThePhantomWriters.com

p.s. Here is a related article, where some poor lady is being called JihadJane, just because she shares a name with a terrorist…

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