Once the damage is done and you don’t have any ammo to fire back, here’s what you need to immediately do: Hire an ORM consultant
Contact the owner of the bad reputation site and humbly ask if he/she can put it down
If it is against the law, contact any possibly concerned government body and ask them for help to bring it down
Ask Google to de-index it if there are any elements in the page against Google’s guidelines
If all of those are not an option for you, start with getting all those powerful social media accounts and create a network of links to them using your website.
For a 225 year old law, the First Amendment is still pretty influential. It’s helpful to look at it as a backstop that governs how far courts and governments can go in limiting speech, whether online or in other media. Over the years, countless court decisions have added nuances, limitations and exceptions to the universality of First Amendment. Some of these are discussed below. Here’s the takeaway, though: If you don’t see how—or can’t make a convincing case that—one of these nuances, limitations or exceptions applies to something posted about you online, whoever posted it (or allowed it to be posted) is probably on firm legal ground.
What is reputation management? Left unchecked, your brand is portrayed on the internet by a machine. It may not have your best interests at heart. Reputation management enables a degree of message control specifically tailored to the online environment.
For all the effort and attention that we give to character, it’s a reputation that really matters. This is especially true in the business world. But today reputation is focused and distorted through the lens of artificial intelligence systems. That's why online reputation management services exist - to provide balance and a degree of control.
The CDA was originally drafted to restrict the distribution of Internet pornography, much of the CDA is now invalid—struck down, ironically, by a 1997 court case that upheld the First Amendment rights of Internet users to produce and disseminate sexually explicit content.
“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
In other words, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can’t be held liable for—or forced to remove—any of the virtual content on their servers. Courts often extend these protections to individual Internet users and webmasters, including those who make a living posting reviews, images and other content pertaining to individuals and businesses. Google, Yelp, RipOffReport, social media sites—you name it—are all immune from legal claims, at least in theory.
What is reputation management? Reputation management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a brand or person when viewed online. Put another way, a character is who you are. Reputation is whom other people think you are, and today it's based mainly on what artificial intelligence systems portray about you rather than the first-person experience
Reputation management goes by a variety of names — online reputation management (ORM), internet reputation management, rep management, brand perception. Whatever you call it, the goal is to shape public perception about a person or business, though you may be surprised to learn just how little control brands and individuals actually have over their reputations. This blog post will answer some of the most common questions regarding reputation management.
How to manage a reputation - how much control do you really have?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
When it was passed in 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) basically extended globally accepted copyright protection protocols into the digital world. But 1998 was a really long time ago (In internet years it seems like 100 years ago.) Like copyright laws in the pen-and-paper world, the DMCA protects content creators from having their material stolen and and republished without attribution.
Like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (above), the DMCA does limit the liability of ISPs (internet service providers) and publishers that aggregate (combine) third-party content and material, so DMCA lawsuits against such entities aren’t always a slam dunk. But if you find that your original work has been reprinted without your permission or any reference to your status as its creator, you can expedite its removal with a DMCA takedown notice, circumventing the courts entirely. And if your work has been used in a defamatory fashion, you may be able to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to fight those who actively seek to harm your online reputation. In this case you may be able to have Google remove the content from their system.
If your company’s reputation is at risk, then grasping the basics of reputation management is critical for your business’s ongoing survival. If you want to shape your own personal reputation, then knowing what’s at stake, who’s in control and how to influence people’s perceptions starts with the same foundational question: What is reputation management?
What is reputation management? Here is our definition of reputation management:
Reputation management is the effort to influence what and how people think of a brand or person.
Speaking of defamation: Few online reputation law concepts are more important to your digital image. Defamation is a false statement made by a third party, often for the purpose of undercutting the subject’s reputation. “Slander” and “libel” describe verbal and written defamation, respectively; both exist on the Internet. For non-public figures, defamation exists if a statement can be proven harmful to the individual’s reputation, regardless of malicious intent. For public figures, such as actors and politicians, actual malice must be proven—a higher bar to clear.
“False light” is a related concept describing a verbal or written statement that, while not technically meeting defamation’s falseness criteria, is intentionally misleading and negative. It’s only valid in some jurisdictions, and you typically can’t sue for both false light and defamation. Where these claims are accepted, the parameters are broadly similar to defamation’s, with the key difference that false light statements must be proven to be embarrassing or emotionally painful, rather than outright damaging to the claimant’s reputation.
The takeaway: If someone posts something untrue or misleading in a damaging way about you online, you may be able to sue them.