A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog about how some prospective employers use search engines to check on job candidates. (According to what survey you listen to, 1/3 or 1/4 of all managers do this.)
The problem I addressed in that blog was when your name was confused, in a google search, with someone else's who is generally unsavory. Sometimes, however, a search could bring up something unflattering about you. What do you do if someone who has a personal grudge against you publishes false information?
Companies, like Reputation Defender, are emerging now that can help redeem your online reputation. Reputation Defender monitors your name online for a monthly fee between $10 to $16. If they find something you don't like, they try to convince website administrators to remove it. That costs about $30 per "destroy."
Of course, the "convincing" isn't always effective. Some websites or blogs refuse to comply, claiming that companies like Reputation Defender are using censorship. According to the Wall Street Journal, one case concerned a Gawker Media blog that featured the tale of a man who was briefly jailed for harassing Priceline.com for a refund. The blog refused to back down at the request for removal and fired back with a vitriolic entry about censorship. As a result, Reputation Defender's CEO, Michael Fertik issued a statement saying that his company would no longer be sending notices to "irreverent blogs" which may be more likely to mock the company's efforts.
I'm not sure what that means or how effective a service like this can be if it is adverse to addressing the online cranks out there. But I guess it's a good place to start-and cheaper than hiring a lawyer.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.