Avoid Reputation Management Services for Search Results Removal
Why You Should Avoid Using Reputation Management Services for Removing Harmful Google Search Results
Reputation management services have gained popularity as a means to remove damaging Google search results. However, not all of these services are created equal, and some may employ unethical methods that can ultimately harm your online reputation even further. In this post, we will explore the reasons why you should avoid using reputation management services to remove harmful search results from Google.
Many reputation management services promise to clean up your online presence by removing or suppressing negative search results. However, some of these services resort to using deceptive methods, such as falsely claiming copyright infringement or creating fake websites to bury the negative content. These tactics can be both unethical and illegal, potentially causing further harm to your reputation and putting you at risk of legal repercussions.
Read this article, from the Washington Post published Feb. 17, 2023 by Shawn Boburg Leaked Files Reveal Reputation-management Firm’s Deceptive Tactics
Between 2015 and 2021, Eliminalia sent thousands of bogus copyright-infringement complaints to search engines and web hosting companies, falsely claiming that negative articles about its clients had previously been published elsewhere and stolen, and so should be removed or hidden, the company records show. The firm sent the legal notices under made-up company names, the examination found.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) caught the company, leading to a settlement that banned the company from engaging in such practices in the future.
Reputation management services that use questionable techniques often only provide temporary relief. Negative search results may reappear over time, especially if the original source of the content remains online. Moreover, Google continually updates its algorithms to identify and penalize websites using unethical SEO tactics, meaning your search results could worsen over time as the search engine catches on to the techniques employed by the reputation management service.
Read this 2023 article, by Shawn Boburg in the Washington Post: Leaked Files Reveal Reputation-management Firm’s Deceptive Tactics
In 2012, J.C. Penney hired an SEO firm that used black-hat tactics to boost its search rankings. Google caught onto the scheme, resulting in a significant drop in J.C. Penney's rankings.
Lack of Transparency
Many reputation management services fail to provide clear information about the methods they use to remove or suppress negative search results. As a result, it can be challenging to understand the long-term consequences of their work on your online reputation. In contrast, ethical services like imfy.us offer transparent practices and explicitly state that they will not remove search results to hide criminal or unethical behavior.
Reputation management services can be expensive, with costs varying depending on the complexity and extent of the negative search results. However, when you invest in a service that uses unethical methods, you may end up paying for short-term results that could ultimately harm your online presence in the long run. It's crucial to consider whether the potential damage to your reputation is worth the expense.
Using reputation management services that employ unethical methods to remove harmful search results sends the wrong message about your values and principles. By resorting to such tactics, you may be indirectly supporting deceptive practices that undermine the integrity of the internet. It is essential to consider the ethical implications of your actions when seeking to clean up your online reputation. And if a company is employing unethical methods to remove harmful search results, what else might they be willing to do?
In a December 22, 2015 article, Search Engine Optimizer Admits Extorting Money from a Local Merger and Acquisitions Firm, you can read how a Dallas-based firm, GE, learned the hard way about unethical SEO services and reputation management firms.
William Stanley, 53, a/k/a “William Laurence,” “Bill Stanley,” “William Davis,” “William Harris,” and “William L. Stanley,” pleaded guilty today to one count of Hobbs Act—Extortion. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for January 4, 2016, before U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey.
Stanley extorted individuals and companies by threatening to engage in the illegitimate SEO work, that being posting fraudulent comments and creating negative reviews online, if the victim did not pay him a certain sum of money.
In November 2009, a Dallas-based firm, GE, entered into a contract with Stanley for SEO services and reputation management. Stanley was hired because of his ability to improve a firm’s online reputation through search results. After approximately one year, however, GE sought to terminate its relationship with Stanley after it determined he had acted outside of his contracted duties. Posing as “William Davis” and “William Laurence,” Stanley transmitted threatening communications, via e-mail and telephone, from foreign countries to GE in the Northern District of Texas. Those communications threatened to post comments on the Internet wrongfully disparaging GE’s reputation, if GE did not send money to Stanley.
Because of Stanley’s threats to harm GE’s reputation through negative Internet posts that would adversely affect GE’s ability to conduct business if it failed to send money, GE responded to the wrongful inducement by sending four payments totaling $29,556 by MoneyGram to Stanley in Brasov, Romania.
The Dallas FBI is investigating while the Dallas Assistant U.S. Attorney C.S. Heath is in charge of the prosecution.
Instead of relying on reputation management services with questionable practices, consider working with ethical companies like imfy.us, which explicitly state that they will not remove search results to hide criminal or unethical behavior. They prioritize transparency and responsible removal methods.
Enhance Your Online Presence
An effective way to counteract negative search results is by creating and sharing high-quality, positive content that showcases your expertise and accomplishments. Regularly update your website, blog, and social media profiles with valuable content to organically push down negative search results.
Address Negative Content Directly
In some cases, it might be possible to contact the website hosting the negative content and request its removal. Be polite, professional, and explain why the content is harmful. If the content is factually incorrect, provide evidence to support your claim.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Regularly search for your name or business on Google to stay informed about your online presence. Set up Google Alerts to notify you when new content is published about you. Proactively managing your online reputation allows you to address issues as they arise.
In extreme cases where false or defamatory content is causing significant harm, consider seeking legal counsel. A lawyer can guide you through the process of sending cease-and-desist letters or, if necessary, pursuing a defamation lawsuit.
While reputation management services may seem like a quick fix for harmful Google search results, they can lead to unintended consequences, such as engaging in unethical practices and experiencing temporary results. Instead, consider ethical alternatives like imfy.us or employ proactive strategies like creating positive content, addressing negative content directly, monitoring your online reputation, and seeking legal recourse if necessary. By taking a responsible approach, you can build a sustainable and positive online reputation.