Cambi: A lot of people Google themselves and you might find something that you don’t love. We’re starting with The Dirty. This is a website you don’t want to be on, people. What’s up with this?
Ryan: So let’s say you go out on a date with somebody and they’re just not the right fit or they’re a little handsy or something and you turn them down and you never call them back. And they decide to take revenge by going online and writing something about you. And all of a sudden every time you search your name in the first or second result is some bad words about you or something.
So this poor lady here had somebody just write some really terrible things about her. And now, if you Google her name, you’re gonna find just this because that domain’s pretty popular. So I just did a Google search for Cambi Brown and you can see look at this. It’s all your stuff. You’re controlling sort of your own online reputation, right? But if you don’t know what to do and you see something on there and somebody’s saying bad words about you there’s not much you can do. You can go to the site and try to get them to take it down but like, The Dirty, they kinda dare you to sue them because they’re like we’re never gonna take that down. We’re allowed to say what we want.
Ryan: You can go to Google and ask them to remove it. Now, one of the things you’re gonna want to do is do a little bit of research about online bullying laws in your area because if you can site some online bullying laws they’ll take it right down. But you’ve got to show them that it’s defamation or something like that in order for them to do it.
In Europe, luckily, they have the right to be forgotten and they’ll remove it from Google if you just ask them to. So, we’re hoping for legislation this year for something like that. That’d be super cool. First thing you wanna do is go and get your own domain, so cambibrown.com, cambibrown.net, cambibrown…And also the ones that are…
Cambi: I only own cambribrown.com. That’s it.
Ryan: You should own them all. Take a look. Look at all these right here: .net, .shop, .com. But you also wanna get some that are a little more risqué say like cambibrownstinks or cambibrownismean or all of the ones that maybe somebody might say about you.
Tina: I own that one.
Cambi: Why would someone do that?
Tina: I own that one.
Ryan: That would be terrible.
Cambi: That’s horrible. Wait, have you seen the thing where the guy is in a coffee shop and he’s like these people were horrible to me and I just bought their domain name? Have you seen that?
Ryan: No, but what I like to do is when somebody on television like a sitcom they’ll say, oh, you know, I just built this website, I go and try to buy that domain immediately because that’s just fun, right?
Ryan: But yeah…
Cambi: Are you ever able to buy it or has it already been purchased?
Ryan: No, it’s always taken. So like the How I Met Your Mother used to always have these cool domains but they always had Barney on them. I don’t get it. Okay, so you can see that Cambi’s already got her own website.
Cambi: Boom, Cambi On The Loose.
Ryan: Even if you just buy it and put your resume up there it’s at least something that’s got your name on it and people can’t take it from you.
Cambi: What is this? My button collection? I haven’t even looked at this.
Ryan: Look at this. This is so just amazing. I just love everything that’s going on here. Look at this. We’re talking about Cuddle Day.
Cambi: This is so funny.
Ryan: Okay. So, if you wanna build a website, you want to do something a little more exciting rather than just using the builder that GoDaddy provides, you can go to something like Squarespace for $12 you can build your own website. And this is really just kind of drag and drop. They have a bunch of designs that you can already just use. And so it’s super easy. If you can build a Word document, you can build a website using something like Squarespace.
Last but not least you wanna make sure you get something like a Wikipedia page for yourself. Cambi doesn’t currently have one, so somebody go create a really cool page for her.
Cambi: And say terrible things about me.
Ryan: No, say nice things like biography, work history, things like that, just something to capture your name so that way if somebody searches it they can’t make a…
Cambi: Tina, let’s by cambiandtina.com. Do you want to?
Tina: Oh, I already got the one that cambisalwaysintrouble.com.
Tina: I already own that one.
Ryan: I do have one thing if it gets really severe, though. So, if somebody’s really terrible and they’re really trying, you can go to this website called Brand Yourself. They’ve got a service on there that will help you remove Google results, they’ll help you create different content for your name, so that way you can kind of push down that bad result onto a second or third page so nobody will see it. And they charge a fee for that but you want to contact them if it’s really bad.
Cambi: Remember that lady who posted on Twitter? She was on the plane and she said, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS.”
Cambi: And they did that hashtag, #hasjustinelandedyet. There’s a whole book about her social reputation and how for like three years she couldn’t get a job cuz if you Googled her name all of that came up.
Ryan: Or what if you’re that dentist who went to Africa and…
Cambi: And shot the lion, yeah.
Ryan: That dude’s dead on the internet right now.
Tina: Okay. Thanks, guys. A few…
Have you ever Googled yourself?
If the results are cringe-worthy, it’s time to take control of the situation.
You need to manage your online reputation.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that when you – or your future employer, future significant other, or your mom! – looks up your name online, the results tell a story you want to be told.
It Couldn’t Happen to You… Right?
Let’s be honest…
It’s incredibly easy to be on the receiving end of a biased and spiteful review.
Let’s say you went on a date, the guy got handsy, and you never returned his call. Dodged a bullet right?
Next thing you know, you find a nasty fake review about you online.
Sites like “The Dirty” exist purely to serve as a medium to gossip. Anyone can post anything about someone whether it’s true or not. You might find yourself at the receiving end of a rant like this poor fellow.
The site owners refuse to take down anything.
Instead, they dare you to sue them.
And because the site has a high domain authority, the nastiness posted about you will show on the first page of search results.
This can affect your ability to get a job, a date, and so much more.
So, how do you change your online story?
1. Try for Removal
You can always submit a complaint to Google.
You’ll need to do a bit of research first to find applicable bullying or defamation policies that are being violated to build a strong case.
2. Buy Your Name as a Domain
Buy a domain name under your full name (example – johnsmith.com).
It’ll cost you about $12 on GoDaddy.
Remember to buy the .net and .org extension in addition to .com.
If you really want to protect yourself, consider investing in iterations of your name like yournamesucks.com or anything else someone might try and exploit.
The idea is to use these domains not only for self-promotion but also to prevent others from using them against you.
3. Set Up a Website
To promote yourself using yourname.com, you’ll need to set up a website.
I know what you’re thinking. “Now I have to hire a programmer?!?” No.
Anyone can set up their own website without coding knowledge. SquareSpace makes this incredibly easy with plans as low as $12/month.
Check out the plug and play templates (optimized for mobile).
Select the one you like and use it to add content (text, images, video) to your site.
Use your name as the main keyword.
But don’t limit yourself to just one site.
Set up a second site around your professional life using the other (positive) domain extensions you bought over at GoDaddy.
If you bought negative domains, consider setting up a “tongue in cheek” site that you use to expound on your “negative” (but not really) attributes. These could include things like:
- You can’t say no to your dog and now you have to sleep in a small corner of your fur-coated Queen size bed
- You have trouble differentiating pigeons from seagulls
- You’ve never taken the time to learn to scuba dive
- You’re too scared to try bungee jumping
- Your cuticles could use some grooming
You’re clearly a terrible person.
4. Create a Wikipedia page
Despite anyone’s ability to edit a Wiki page, it’s still trusted source of information.
It’s a great way to get your name online.
On your page, mention things like your biography and work history to portray a wholesome image of who you really are.
5. Get SUPER active on social
If it’s not a personal site (or reviews on third-party platforms), search engines will show social profiles of the people you look up.
Don’t neglect the opportunity to brand yourself here.
Here are just a number of ways you can take advantage of social:
- Setup a public Facebook page
- Post more frequently on Twitter
- Open an Instagram account and post engaging content
- Open a Youtube account
- Open a Vimeo account
- Add a slideshow to SlideShare
- Post to Linkedin
- Post to Google Plus
I recommend getting a HootSuite or Buffer account to help you manage a content schedule so that you don’t have to post things individually to each platform.
6. Use a reputation management service
- If you’re still struggling, try out a reputation management service.There are plenty out there, but I’d start with BrandYourself.
They will help you remove Google results and create content around your name.
Lots of Good CAN Push Down Bad
The Internet can be a mean and scary place. Words can stick around for a long time online.
It’s time to take control of your story and online reputation so the world learns about the real you.
About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.