We typically use the mediation strategy in situations when there is a user generated review or “complaint” type website that meets the following conditions: A.) The original poster has the ability to edit or remove their original review/complaint and B.) The individual/company has the ability to communicate with the original poster in some way through the website itself (i.e Yelp). We utilize a mediation specialist to help our clients come to a resolution with posters of negative and damaging content online.
More often than not, once the original poster’s complaints are addressed, they will retract negative statements or remove their posting entirely.If your brand is having problems with negative search results you aren't going to like this statistic: 65% of people trust search engines for research. Search engines are trusted more than any other source of information. What people see online about a brand, whether that's a personal brand, company or products and services, is important. Whether it's true or not is less important - people tend to believe it anyway, or at least be soured on the brand enough to move on.
In my opinion, any type of negotiation to get damaging content removed from the Internet should only be attempted by an experienced attorney that specializes in Internet Law. There are typically numerous other removal strategies to consider before seriously exploring negotiation as an option. We have worked directly with attorneys who have successfully helped our clients get damaging content removed through negotiation.
We have found that these “arbitration programs” will range from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars – most people will say that is ludicrous, and grossly unfair. Website owners will take the stance that there is no realistic way they can determine what content is true vs. false, therefore independent arbitration is the best method to remove or redact false statements from their website.
Bad search results can kill a brand. When your brand is generating negative search results, you'll of course quickly attempt to remove the posts. Unfortunately, it can't all be removed, but some of it can. For content in search results that can be removed, this guide will let you know every way there is to make it go away. The fastest way to change search results is to remove the content upon which the result is based completely from the website in which it exists. That usually means the author must delete it. Google cannot delete information from a website, but once it's been removed, Google will remove the listing from its search results within a few days (usually).
Here are a few of the ways online content can be removed - either from the site itself, or from search results (both are avenues to the same outcome) to provide lower, or no visibility of the negative content online.
First, the bad news. In our 10+ years of experience we've found that a Webmaster will most often not remove online content because - after all - they put it there in the first place. But sometimes they will remove it.
It often comes down to finding what they want. What motivates them?
We've made some pretty interesting offers on behalf of our clients. We've given to charities in their name, provided direct payment, shown them the error of their ways, or sometimes after cooling down they just felt bad and needed a little nudge to remove it. People are motivated by many things. You might be surprised what works.
In certain circumstances, arbitration is realistically the most effective and affordable solution for clients to remove damaging content from a particular website. In these cases, we can represent clients in arbitration proceedings or help them navigate the complexities of the arbitration process in order to give them the best chance at resolving their online reputation issue.There are some situations where a client’s personal information is posted online in conjunction with false and defamatory information.
Situations like these open up the opportunity to potentially get the damaging information de-indexed by notifying search engines directly.Over the last year search engines like Google and Bing have thankfully taken measures to address the issue of the non-consensual posting of nude photos online. Google’s stance on the issue below:“We recognize that the non-consensual posting of nude and sexually explicit images and videos is distressing for victims. We may remove such content from Google search results upon request. Note that this policy does not apply to images or videos where you have consented to distribution.
The following tactics work best for people rather than corporations. Every author is different. If you feel contacting the author to get online content deleted is the right approach, here's a list of ways to get people to take down a blog post, article, video, or other online content:
Appeal to their altruistic side: "You had every right to post that review. I hope I've made it right. At this point the post is really damaging my business - would you mind removing or updating it?"
Try the charity angle: "I see you support the local little league. I know removing the post you wrote might take some of your valuable time. I'd be happy to donate to the _____________ little league in your name or anonymously as a thank you for taking it down."
Take the capitalist route: "I'd like to sponsor the page you wrote about our business. We'll request a few modifications, and you'll be well compensated for your time." Note: Modifications may mean removing the business' name, adding a special meta tag to make Google ignore the page (noindex), or removing the page altogether.
To submit a copyright or other legal removal request, click here.Please use this form to report a nude or sexually explicit image of you appearing in search results. To fill out this form on behalf of someone else, you must have the authority to act on their behalf.It is important to remember that even if we delete a specific URL from Google search, the webpage hosting the content may still exist. You must request removal from the webmaster in order to remove the content from the hosting site. ”
A cease and desist letter (CDL) is one of the most effective techniques in getting false and defamatory information removed if used in the right situations. “A cease and desist letter, also known as an “infringement letter” or “demand letter,” is a document sent to an individual or business to halt purportedly unlawful activity (“cease”) and not take it up again later (“desist”)” – Wikipedia.These letters essentially warn their recipients that if they do not end their harmful conduct or perform the requested action within the specified period, the sender will proceed with litigation. The online defamation attorneys we work with have drafted and sent cease and desist letters to help clients accomplish the following:
Demand removal of defamatory statements online
Get an individual to stop posting defamatory statements online
Make the person aware that the attorney’s client is prepared to proceed with the lawsuit if the defamatory online attacks do not cease.
Although I would love to tell you we have developed a magic Internet wand that can erase anything negative online, the reality is we don’t. What we do have is:
If we analyze your online reputation issue and don’t believe we can fully resolve it, we will lead you to the best alternate solution we are aware of for your specific situation.
If we take you on as a client, you will not be charged for our services unless we are successful in completely removing the negative information in question from the Internet.
If your online reputation issue extends beyond our areas of expertise, we will work in tandem with our strategic partners to ensure you are working with true experts that have helped hundreds, if not thousands of people with your specific online reputation issue. Every law firm and company we work with has a proven track record of success in their specialization (I.e Defamation law, Intellectual Property Right law, Mediation, Personal Branding/Search Engine Suppression, etc.).
If you or your company are suffering from damaging information online that is harming you personally or professionally, know that you do have options. Even in the event that removal is not a viable option, there are still a myriad of strategies in place that can help diminish the visibility of negative content online.
f the author won't remove the content, or you think it is a bad idea to even ask, ask the webmaster or publisher of the site upon which the information lives to remove the page completely. This doesn't work on personal blogs because the webmaster, publisher, editor and author are often all the same person. But it may work on medium-sized sites like local or small town news sites.
To find the owner of a site use a Whois tool like Whois.net or DomainTools. A little research can point you to someone in charge. But sometimes that information is protected by domain privacy. If a website does not have domain privacy enabled, the name, address and phone number of the owner of a website will often be visible.
Furthermore, it is important to note that removal of damaging content is typically just one aspect of a more comprehensive service offering. We work with many individuals and companies (from SMB’s to Fortune 500’s) to put a holistic long-term online reputation management strategy in place that not only restores their online reputation, but also helps build, monitor, and protect it.