About six months ago I was intrigued to read an article in the Boston Globe about marketing companies that "buried" bad news posted online about individuals and companies. Some of these marketing companies are able to charge their clients up to half a million dollars to offset the damage caused by negative blogs or press.
The strategy, I have since found out, is to pile good press and new websites into search engines like Google, Yahoo, AOL and others. This serves two purposes. First, a positive message is bolstered, and second, the negative information is suppressed. The goal is to push the negative content off the first page of a search engine and hopefully bury it at least five pages deep. This tool, called "search engine optimization," is based on studies of how people search. On average, 90% of Internet users will click on a link within the first three pages of the search results.
Most of the negative information is generated either by angry consumers, business competitors, or personal enemies. Consequently, the places to find negative postings are social networking websites. So, what is the best way to find negative online content?
A website called TopTenz.net has a link to the "Top 10 Free Tools to Monitor Your Online Reputation."