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Is This Really You?
Monitoring your online reputation

How important is it to monitor your internet presence?  Today, you hear the concern for internet security and identity theft, yet many people overlook or are not aware of how many places might be broadcasting information about them - with and without their permission. 

A friend of mine experienced a disgruntled client criticizing her credentials and expertise on every internet complaint site she could locate. These type of abusively negative posts can be difficult, if not impossible to get removed. The longer they go unnoticed, the more they circulate through the search engines.

Did you know that anyone can set up a profile on numerous sites with your name, and pretend to be you?

The first time I discovered an unauthorized profile of me was on MySpace. Someone had set up a profile under my name (not my email address) including a photo, and I had nothing to do with it. After months of contacting MySpace, the profile finally disappeared. Recently I found another profile of me online that I hadn’t set up. I discovered my name and meditations on a wellness site. I still teach Meditation, however, I don’t promote it. In this case, I uncovered that it was one of my previous students who thought they were doing something good for me. It was a very nice gesture and didn’t cause me any harm, however, it still reminds me to stay alert of my exposure on the internet.

With the proliferation of free email accounts, a person with harmful intent can sometimes get away with it. Because of this, some social networks such as Twitter have a verification process for the true identity of a user. Other social network sites are rejecting any new applications using a free email service, such as hotmail, yahoo and even G-mail.

What can you do?

Start with a search

Conducting regular Google searches, or using Google alerts is important, however remember there are several other large search engines that may be storing information about you. Consider dogpile, intellius, webmii and public records to see what they report on you.

Your search may uncover many of the places you intentionally posted your profile information, comments, articles and your blogs. Additional search might show results of any negative response to your comment posts or complaints someone may have noted on complaint sites, consumer reports or the Better Business Bureau online. Make sure to check directory sites in your niche and professional market.

Be diligent in having erroneous information removed.

Complaint sites may be protected by certain rights of speech laws, however, independent directory sites, blogs, groups and social networks usually have a better response to your reasons for information to be removed, if not edited.

We have seen that once information is on the internet it is difficult to remove, even Facebook admits it cannot remove members information once the member has deleted it from their profile.

Because of this problem on the internet, there are companies who offer services to police your information on the internet and challenge negative listings. Seldom can they get information removed on your behalf, however, with specific efforts (some legitimate) they can sometimes get it buried off the first few search pages.

The longer something is on the internet, the more difficult it is to remove – stay diligent and be proactive.

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About the Author, Sumner M. Davenport
Sumner is an Results Coach, Niche & Multi-Channel Internet Marketing Consultant, Best Selling Author and Speaker.
Her deepest passion is to see people empowering others while living the life of their dreams. As a Coach she employs a unique method of clarifying goals which assists her clients to break out of their habitual box of thinking and planning. She can be reached through her website: http://SumnerDavenport.com

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