Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

You’ve Been Googled

We’ve all done it. Search for my name in Google and you’ll discover I’m an award-winning photographer from Belfast and the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks basketball team. Sometimes I amaze myself that I have the time to hold down my PR job too!

And I bet you’ve also Googled that girl or guy you’ve got your eye on. Go on. Admit it!

Well they’ve probably Googled you too. Or maybe even Facebooked you. Are you cringing at all the embarrassing photographs of your alcohol-fuelled antics over New Year yet? Do you think they’ve blown your chance of a date?

Or perhaps you’re taking a new year, new job approach? Well here’s a word of warning from Nicole Martin at telegraph.co.uk:

“As more people put personal information about themselves on blogs and social networking websites such as Facebook, personnel departments are increasingly using search engines to uncover the colourful backgrounds of their potential recruits. “

But don’t panic. Help is at hand from “online identity management services”. These companies specialist in cleaning up your online reputation and ensure that your best links reach the top of the search engine.

“If they find anything inaccurate, inappropriate, hurtful or slanderous, they say they can use a series of techniques to have the unwanted material removed.”

It’s an interesting approach for SEO, now appealing to image-conscious web users rather than corporations. However, I question the approach of ‘cleaning up’ reputations online. Working in PR, it’s our role to manage clients’ reputations every day, putting the best side forward. But what if we could just remove the undesirable?

We’re always warning our clients that what goes online, stays online…for good…somewhere…out there. Google’s cached sites are a great source of information once forgotten. But perhaps all PRs need are a ‘series of techniques’ to get rid of that bad product review or corporate scandal?

While it’s important to keep your reputation online as respectable as the one in the real world, I wonder who will actually use these Online Identity Management Services? How far do they go? And do they like a challenge