is loading...
0%

4 Steps for Taking Back Your Privacy Online

Many clients come to us because they don’t like what is written about them online. We help them by adding fresh, up-to-date content to the search results to offer a more balanced (and positive) image.

And then there are the clients who come to us because they don’t like that they are mentioned online. Period.

These are individuals who feel their privacy has been violated and companies who prefer to keep a low profile. Both the individuals and the companies are not ashamed of who they are or what they do but rather feel that publicity will hinder, rather than promote, their objectives.

But do we have a right to privacy online? And, more importantly, how can ORM help you protect your privacy?

So to answer the first question: theoretically (and legally) you do have a right to privacy. You have a right to keep your personal information private. Realistically and practically, though, you don’t.

Getting information removed from search engines is nearly impossible. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Probably forever.

What you need to do to keep your privacy in the digital age is to control your online image.

You do this best by uploading content by you but not about you. That way when someone searches for you, they will only see what you want them to see.

How is this done?

1. Write about subjects that interest you on various platforms.  As the author, these posts will appear when someone searches for your name.  This could be a private blog on WordPress or articles on sites such as Squidoo or Hubpages. In the About the Author section, you can decide what and how much to divulge about yourself.

Be sure, though, that the platform lets you approve the comments.

2. Use social media to your advantage. Social media platforms generally rank highly in the search engines and can be used to push down unwanted results. Again, as with the tip above, tweet, post and share neutral, interesting information not about yourself but rather about your interests.  For example, if you are into fine art then tweet about a gallery opening or a new museum exhibition.

3. If you decide to use social media profiles to keep in touch with friends and family, make sure the privacy settings are at their strictest.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Marketing, ORM and tagged on March 25th, 2014 by Gonie Aram.

What I’ve Learned on Social Networks

In the course of my work, I’ve made a number of small mistakes on social media (haven’t we all?). Looking back, I probably could have prevented most of them with a bit more foresight. In any case, at least I’ve been able to learn something about the inner workings of the social media world. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way so maybe you won’t have to repeat my faux pas.

1. Attract the right people

 This is the key to creating a high-quality network. Your success on a social network primarily depends on the relationships which you build: on the people with whom you choose to be friends and on the things which you do there. People tend to forgetthat just like in our daily lives, also in the virtual world, the people you are friends with and how you interact with them is what truly matters.

You probably are acquainted with any number of social media junkies who follow and respond to everyone on Facebook. Being a social media junkie is a mistake. There is no value in following, responding and adding “likes” without making a distinction between them. It is better to be in touch only with people who have meaning for you. By doing so, you will enhance your relationship with your followers. There is no point in increasing the number of followers you have, just for the sake of having more friends. It’s meaningless.

In addition, only respond to posts which interest you. Talking aboutthings which do not really interest you, for the sake of populism, or in order to increase the number of followers you have, will lead you astray. Let your true me shine, and in this way, the “right” people, the ones truly interested in what you have to say, will follow you.

2. Aspire to hold meaningful conversations

Attimes, because we are so busy trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work on social networks, we forgetthe true purpose of it all. Social networks are intended to create relationships between people, and to allow people to interact with one another, despite geographical distances.

Thanks to Facebook, scientists from NASA, engineers, actors and artists – everybody can talk to one another. Just imagine yourselves at a global conference, attended by the most interesting people in the world and where you have the opportunity to sit down with everybody, face to face.

Social networks allow us to do precisely this. We can talk with people who genuinely interest us and inspire us. If you like the online advertising industry, then you can find other people in the industry and follow them and talk to them. You can ask them a question about a recent blog post or you can challenge them to a professional debate. And when you’re talking with experts in a particular field, and they answer you, then you are, in a certain sense, positioning yourself in their league.

Obviously, ittakes time to feel comfortable doing this but it is definitely a question of how you want to position yourself professionally.

3. Create true value for your friends or they will ignore you

In my opinion, this rule is basic. Everybody has something they truly love or are genuinely good at – their passion. Attimes, this might be more than one area. These are the things you can talk about for hours and hours on end, without stopping and without getting bored. Find your passion, and share it with your friends.

Why? Because there is no way more wonderful than this to become an expert in something, anything – photography, drawing, cinema … It might perhaps even be the silliestthing of all. Experts can all tell a whole load of stories, some of them silly and trivial, others less so: advice and tips, mistakes they’ve made; and so on and so forth (like this post). By sharing stories, you’re giving your friends something in return for their friendship. Once they perceive the value in being friends with you, this will make all the difference.

4. Maintain transparency and originality – create true relationships

We all have something special in us, something that we can use to help others: our expertise. However, you have to be careful –everyone today is spreading information, all the time. As a result, audiences have learned to separate out the experts from the wannabes. If it looks like you are trying too hard to impress others or that you don’t really understand the field in which you are presenting yourself as an expert, the fraud will eventually be exposed and your online image will be ruined.

And so, my personal philosophy goes as follows: be original and be genuine. Respond politely to people who hold discussions with you or who argue with your theories – these are the people who will stay in touch with you for the long term, as opposed to those who are merely adding a “like” to your posts without expressing any genuine interest in them. In addition, don’t forgetthat being transparent and being honest is not easy – it means that you need to admit your mistakes.

However, over time, being transparent and honest will create genuine and true relationships between you and the people following you. The most importantthing in the world of social networks is not concepts like going viral, exposure or “likes”. At the end of the day, only one thing really matters – relationships.

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Marketing, ORM and tagged on February 24th, 2014 by Guy Katsovich.

Veribo presentation at SMX Israel

Veribo’s very own COO Paul Vesely presented at the prestigious annual Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Israel. SMX is held at the Inbal Hotel Jerusalem every year during January and draws a crowd of international experts in the fields of online marketing, inbound marketing, SEO, PPC and Social Media.

Paul presented on the panel that discussed online reputation management.

To see his presentation see below.

Online Reputation Management – SMX Israel 2014 – Paul Vesely, Veribo from Paul Vesely
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in ORM and tagged on January 30th, 2014 by Paul Vesely.

Do You Need to Prepare a Dark Site?

Crisis communications has become a field in itself.

Pre-Internet, only national governments had to plan ahead of time for disasters. Now every major corporation has a crisis communications expert and a crisis management team ready for the worst case scenario.

The Internet has shortened our attention span and also raised our expectations about how quickly and easily we have access to information – especially during a media crisis. Or, in other words, we want to know what is going – now.

On a more positive note, the Internet also offers companies instant access to the public through platforms for publically conveying messages. You just need to know how to effectively leverage them.

So how can a company respond with lightning speed when a media crisis occurs?

There are many steps that companies take ahead of time to prepare for a crisis. Companies prepare a dark site (one for the company website and one for social media sites). These sites can go immediately live and provide information to the public.
But what else?

Online reputation management, of course.

If you have an online reputation strategy, implementing crisis communications is all the easier. Having many types of online platforms set up provides multiple channels through which to reach your customers/audience and the general public.
Even more important: in the long run, if you control the search results for your company’s or brands’ names, you can promote certain sources of information over others.

Crisis management is all about taking control over the situation. Online reputation offers an extra level of control by being able to effectively use the online environment to your advantage.

We all wish there was no reason to prepare a dark site but it’s an imperfect world and better to plan ahead.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in ORM and tagged on January 7th, 2014 by Gonie Aram.

“Strip-mining Human Society”: Privacy in Social Media

“Facebook is strip-mining human society. The idea of social sharing, in a context in which the service provider reads everything and watches everybody watch, is inherently unethical. Facebook should lean in and tell its users what it does.” Eben Moglen

Joseph Heller aptly wrote in Catch-22, “Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” He could have been writing about the Internet. The public is both paranoid and being watched.

Want proof?

Jeffery Kantor, a former US government contractor, is suing the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA Director, the Defense Secretary, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, et al for civil rights violations and disclosure of private information.  He is asking $13.8 million in compensatory damages and another $45 million in punitive damages.

Kantor supposedly was searching for information about how to build a radio controlled airplane when Google’s autocomplete feature changed the search to “how to build a radio controlled bomb.” And like flies to honey, the US government began spying on his every move. Kantor claims that a GPS antenna was placed on his car (to track his location), his library books monitored (to learn what he reads), his conversations followed (to know what he says), etc. He received the government surveillance red carpet treatment.

Most people aren’t deserving of such special government attention. But we are, nevertheless, constantly watched. Social media sites and search engines follow your every digital move: what you write, who you interact with (and who you don’t), what you like (and what you don’t), what you read, etc. When you tweet about something online, that shorter URL lets Twitter track who reads the article. Facebook, and other platforms, have the technology to save whatever you type, even posts you self-censored. Facebook has on file every IP address you ever accessed your account from.

Social media platforms and search engines know where we are, what we read, who we contact and even what we choose not to say (and without fancy spy equipment). This information is collected, studied and saved.

And we opt in to this. We trade our privacy for being able to share pictures of our pets with old high school friends.

Even more troubling, though, is that we also compromise the privacy of anyone we contact through social media or email.

As Eben Mogan points out, “Those who wish to earn off you want to define privacy as a thing you transact about with them, just the two of you.” But social networks are just that – networks. So ”…if you decide to live your social in a place where the creep who runs it monitors every social interaction, …[t]he result will not only be, of course, that you yourself will be subjected to the constant creepy inspection, but also that everybody you choose to socialize with there will be too.” According to Mogan, social media’s relentless data collection is strip-mining human society.

The question, then remains: Why is Kantor suing the US government for tens of millions of dollars when he probably voluntarily lets Facebook monitor the exact same information (where he is, what he reads and who he communicates with)?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Marketing, ORM and tagged , on December 30th, 2013 by Gonie Aram.

Are SEOs Bribing Bloggers? Umm, Well, Of Course

The SEO world is up in arms about Matt Cutts’ tweet about SEOs bribing bloggers. For those not in the industry, Matt Cutts is Google’s spam fighting spokesperson.

His tweet links to a blog post on the Gawker titled, “Shady Marketing Firms Are Still Quietly Bribing Bloggers (Updated).” The article was written by Hamilton Nolan who claims that an SEO firm offered him money in return for adding links to articles he has written. Nolan says, “It’s stealth marketing, and it’s designed to deceive both the employer and the reader. It’s an unethical scam.”

Hamilton Nolan and Matt Cutts, welcome to the world of public relations (PR).

It’s standard practice at PR firms to have journalists and bloggers publish online positive articles about their clients that include a link to a website.

What separates successful PR firms from “shady marketing” ones?  $50 to $80 per link.

In the relationship between journalists and PR firms, the currency is information in return for media coverage. PR firms give journalists interesting scoops (and other non-monetary compensations). They also give journalists fully written stories that mention their clients. These articles are published as if written by the journalist (with some tweaking). This saves the journalists and the newspapers/websites the time and energy needed to write a story. PR firms get press for their clients.

It’s a “you pat my back, I’ll pat your back” relationship. No money changes hand hence it’s kosher.

Articles written by PR firms and published by news organizations/bloggers also deceive the reader and Google. Why aren’t Google and Hamilton Nolan all over PR firms then? Is it because this is for SEO purposes?

I am in no way advocating SEOs bribing bloggers. I just don’t see Nolan as a whistleblower.

The line between ethical and unethical behavior, especially online, can be fuzzy. In certain areas, like SEO, Google draws the line. However, Google is a company. It draws lines that promote its interests and agenda as a multi-million dollar conglomerate.

At the end of the day, it is the people inside the companies that decide what is right or wrong. Nolan publicized his decision on one such ethical question. What would you do?

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Marketing and tagged on December 24th, 2013 by Gonie Aram.

How to Avoid Being a Total Jerk? Learn from Greg Gopman on Facebook

“Just got back to SF…. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little.” Greg Gopman Facebook (December 10th)

“Last night, I made inappropriate comments about San Francisco’s less fortunate citizens between 8th and 4th on Market St. I’m really sorry for my comments…..” Greg Gopman  Facebook (December 11th)

These quotes were taken from the Facebook page of Angelhack’s CEO Greg Gopman.  A blogger named Sam Biddle wrote about Gopman’s remarks and placed his post under the category of “Assholes” on his blog (apparently, according to Biddle, Silicon Valley is home to many such individuals). And from there all hell broke loose. Biddle’s post alone received 630 comments at the time of writing this post and was tweeted extensively. Seems like Gopman hit a nerve.

In response, Dan Gillmor from The Guardian tweeted:  “The tech PR industry could make a lot of money explaining to young tech execs how they can avoid being total jerks.” Gopman doesn’t need a tech PR company – he needs online reputation management.

Social media has the advantage of letting people spread their ideas while blurring the lines between public and private. From the comments written in response to Biddle’s article, San Francisco’s downtown has serious, known problems that need to be dealt with.  Many people agree with Gopman’s sentiments and were he to say the same words in private to his friends, there would be no social media blunder. But Gopman is CEO of a successful start-up and, as such, he needs to carefully watch what he says publicly.

And everything on social media is public.

How many more times will intelligent, successful business people be whipped in the digital town square for voicing their opinions on social media platforms before we all wake up? Your Facebook page is not your living room and your Facebook “friends” are not your real friends. And if you’re interesting enough (like Gopman), lurking among your “friends” are bloggers and journalists eagerly waiting for you to make a major (or minor) faux pas online.

(Gopman does get credit, though, for how he handled his blunder. He must have read our previous post on how to react to a Twitterstorm.)

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Marketing and tagged on December 16th, 2013 by Gonie Aram.

Changing Google Autocomplete or Google Autocomplete Changing You?

Israel has joined the ranks of several other countries including Japan, Italy, Germany and France in passing a verdict against Google for its Autocomplete results (here is a link to the news item in Hebrew).

To sum up the article, an “online entrepreneur” named Tzahi Rozental sued Google for showing Autocomplete results that included the equivalent of “fraud,” “con man” and “scam” in Hebrew after his name. Google and Rozental reached a compromise where Google will pay Rozental reparations of 30,000NIS (about $8,000) and will not return libelous Autocomplete results for his name. To be fair to Google, Tzahi Rozental has a business making money off of the Internet. It isn’t too farfetched that people might be conducting those actual searches.

So this is another win for the average citizen against a huge corporation. Well, kind of.

There is a symbiosis between the search engines and their users. It is obvious that search engines learn from our behavior. Companies like Google constantly tweak the algorithms based on how we search for information to provide us with better, more accurate search results.

But it also works the other way round.

Search engines are teaching us how to conduct searches. How else to explain the number of people whose Autocomplete suggestions have the word “fraud,” “bankrupt,” “divorce” or “arrest” next to them?

Google claims that its Autocomplete suggestions are based on real searches conducted by real people. Quite often, however, when you click on the provocative suggestion, there are no results. Why, then, offer a suggestion knowing the search will lead nowhere?

It could be that Google has collected the most popular searches included with names and then just regurgitates them back when you type in a specific name.

More likely, however, it is that we have learned that to find the really interesting stuff on a person we need to enter these specific words. We try.

Hmmm, let’s see if my CPA is a fraud. Nope, nothing came up.

OK, let’s see if my family practitioner has ever been arrested. Nope, well that’s good to know.

These little background checks have the potential to ruin a person’s career.

Changing Google Autocomplete

The answer to changing Google Autocomplete lies in how the libelous suggestions got there in the first place: you need to have people searching for something else. (This article suggests first checking that you haven’t inadvertently created the results yourself.)

How many people?

It depends on how popular your name is. If you have an uncommon name, then a couple of different people searching for the same simple search daily over the course of a couple of months will probably do the trick. For example, your name + the city you are from or your name + Facebook. It will probably be necessary to maintain the positive search suggestions by continuing to search for the desired Autocomplete suggestions on a regular basis.

If you are someone even mildly famous, like Rozental who advertises online and has many search results for his name, asking your buddies to search for you twice a week isn’t going to make a dent in the Autocomplete results.

In such a case, changing Google Autocomplete results will probably require professional assistance. You could sue Google like Rozental but your chances of winning aren’t great and might cause something similar to the Streisand effect. Online reputation management has several strategies for changing Google Autocomplete results to make them more truthful (and less slanderous).

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Google Autocomplete and tagged on December 1st, 2013 by Gonie Aram.

Online Stalking or Just Better Customer Service?

Your online image is seen by more than just potential clients, hiring managers and long lost college friends – companies are also looking you up online. British Airlines was in the news last year for “image stalking.” Here’s is another customer service story that proves the way to hell is paved with good intentions.

British Airways wanted to improve the customer service it provides frequent fliers by having airline attendants greet valued customers by name when boarding. Part of the plan was for flight attendants to google passengers’ names on iPads in order to find pictures of them. This way they would be able to recognize the lucky first class passengers.

The frequent fliers themselves found this just plain creepy.

It turns out that people don’t want companies collecting information about them online, even if it is to empathize with the fact that their luggage was lost last time they flew.

But why?

The vast majority of us opt into providing the Internet with personal details through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, participation in forums, etc.  And even if you don’t personally have an account, people you know are uploading information about you. They tag you in pictures from an office party, recommend you in a forum or quote you in a blog post.

As time goes on, it will be almost impossible to not have an online presence. In fact, not having an online presence will probably be more difficult than going off the Grid. Even if you hide in a forest, not connected to power lines, some blogger will eventually mention your environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

So why not at least benefit from the infractions on your privacy that having an online presence brings? Why not enjoy a sincere apology from a flight attendant for your having had to sit on the tarmac for four hours?

And, along with that, it is crucial to realize the importance of managing your online presence. While you cannot decide what others write about you, you can influence how you look online. Click here for an article about Do-It-Yourself ORM so that next time you are being stalked by an airline, at least the photo they find will be flattering.

 

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in Marketing, ORM and tagged on November 24th, 2013 by Gonie Aram.

Get Rid of Pictures on Google? Not That Way, Max Mosley!

Here are two pieces of advice that anyone who cares about their online reputation should strictly adhere to:

1. If you decide to have a Nazi-themed orgy, don’t photograph it.

2. Don’t sue Google to have the pictures removed.

In 2008, Max Mosley, former Chief Executive of Formula 1, was photographed participating in a sex party. As Reuters reported, “Mosley has acknowledged that he engaged in sado masochistic activity with the five women and paid them £2,500 … but denied the orgy was Nazi-themed.” A British tabloid got a hold of the pictures and published them. Claiming the images were defamatory, Mosley sued to get rid of the pictures on Google.

What a bad idea.

There is no easy way to get rid of pictures on Google. Like all web content, once it is indexed, it is pretty much there forever. The only way for people not to see the content is to make it hard to find in the search engines. And this is done most effectively by burying the unwanted results beneath newer, more relevant content. This is a technique used by online reputation management companies called ‘flooding’.

If you are someone famous (or if your story is even slightly interesting), when you sue to get rid of pictures on Google, the media hype surrounding the story only causes more and more people to google your name, to view the images, to link to those images and to copy those images onto other sites. This is called the Streisand effect.

So even though Mosley won his case in court, he will never reach his ultimate goal of getting rid of the images. The photographs are simply too widespread now thanks to all the press the court cases have received. Google will be hard-pressed to remove every single image.

Online reputation management (ORM) uses more effective and elegant strategies to get rid of pictures on Google. Granted, ORM doesn’t give you that same high of justice served that you get from winning a big court case – but at least you’ll feel the satisfaction of having a clean online reputation.

 

 

Max Mosley won damages for the newspaper's inv...

Max Mosley won damages for the newspaper’s invasion of privacy and incorrect assertion about the Nazi theme in ”Mosley v News Group Newspapers Limited (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • RSS
This entry was posted in ORM and tagged , , , , , , , on November 18th, 2013 by Gonie Aram.
Apply to be a Veribo client
LONDON OFFICE
5-7 Tanner St, London SE1 3LE
+44 (0)203 514 7497
TEL AVIV OFFICE
2 Ibn Gabirol, Tel-Aviv
+972 (0)3 504 6186

Please use this form to contact us