Your social networking site of choice, be it MySpace, Facebook, whatever, may seem like the perfect place to post that picture from the night you drank so much tequila that you passed out in the middle of a friend’s living room and everyone drew on you with markers.
It may be harmless until potential employers go searching for background on applicants and find that picture.
The same applies to LiveJournal posts about a crazy party and friends posting on your “Wall.”
Even if you are scrupulous about what you post about yourself, people can still bash you online and lose you a job or internship. This has become enough of an issue that Web sites like ReputationDefender have sprung up.
First, we SEARCH. We scour the Internet to dig up every possible piece of information about you and present it in an interactive monthly report, including: Social networks (MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Bebo, etc.), professional review Web sites, Blogs, online news sources, photograph, video, and audio sharing sites (Flickr, YouTube, etc.), millions of additional sites on the “open Internet.”
Then, for about $186 a year, the site promises to “destroy” or alter the online information about you that you don’t approve of.
Their promise to alter information extends to online news sources. I’m not sure what they consider to be an online news source, but I don’t see how they could alter an online article from the NYT, for example.
In the meantime, there are also a bunch of “identity aggregators” (like ClaimID) which can help you collect what you wrote about yourself, what others may have written about you, and where you exist online.
Edit: Well, at least I know that Reputation Defender monitors their own rep very well. This was on their press page:
Find your Reputation Online
Megan Taylor writes about ReputationDefender. The piece is good, except that it mistakenly reads our FAQ to say that we do Destroy or amend news articles. In fact, we expressly say we don’t and won’t. But it’s a good piece nonetheless.
Oops, sorry about that.