Before You Hire That Online Reputation Manager, Consider Your Legal Alternatives

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Think again. No one wants their reputation, the name of their business, or their products dragged through the mud on the Internet. There are now web specialists called “online reputation managers,” who claim to manipulate Internet search results so the negative links will appear further down the list of results, and hopefully be missed. The lead story in the New York Times, Sunday Styles Section (April 3, 2011), “Erasing The Digital Past,” describes a few companies in this business, and their fee structures which can average from $5,000 to $10,000 a month for high level executives or celebrities, to $120 to $600 a year for run of the mill cases.

For a business with a high profile, public relations nightmare; a single embarrassing incident that received lots of media attention; or a vocal critic that keeps posting on the Internet, an online reputation manager may be the preferred business approach. However, for businesses, who are the victim of an unscrupulous competitor, its rogue employees or its overzealous but uninformed public relations company, there is a legal alternative worth considering.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP | Attorney Advertising

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