Question of the Month

Question of the Month

Dennis Snider

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Question: How can I clean up my online profile?

Answer:
This is a question that many people seek an answer to. It’s a rare person who hasn’t at some point or other posted something silly or embarrassing on the Internet (to be clear, we are not talking about anything illegal, just embarrassing).
The first thing to do is to find out what’s out there. Use free search engines to search for your name and check through the first half dozen or so result pages to find anything negative. Make a note of these items, and add yourself to systems like Google Alerts, which will email you whenever any information about you is added to the Internet. If you haven’t got time to do this yourself, a site like Reputation.com will, for a fee, keep you updated every month on changes to your profile.
It might not always be possible to remove everything you’ve posted online that you find embarrassing. In this case, it might be a good idea to swamp the bad with the good; i.e. make sure that your writing, charity work, etc. is fully featured on the Internet so that potential employers are likely to miss what you don’t want them to see because there is so much good stuff out there.
In a limited number of cases, you may be able to have information removed, but many websites won’t do this (search engines certainly won’t), and some people, e.g., bloggers, might respond to removal requests positively.

Professional services are now available that can assist you to manage your online profile. Notable providers include Reputation.com, Defendmyname, and Naymz. They will attempt to delete as much undesirable material as possible and promote a positive image of you on the Internet. However, these services can cost a few thousands per year.

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