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Protecting Your Reputation and Identity on the Internet

The content of an online search result for an individual generates a profile of the individual. Such content paints a picture for potential employers and colleagues, and the information may not be ideal. Therefore, in order to protect your online reputation and your overall image, it is important to take certain steps to monitor your online content.

First, signing up for social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn allows you to control the content that a web search will produce. Personalized Facebook and LinkedIn pages show up as the first results of a Google online search. This controls the content that attaches to your online reputation.

Andy Beal, who co-authored Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online, suggests that people should monitor their online reputation the same way they monitor their credit. This helps catch defamatory online postings in time to prevent a damaging reputation from solidifying. Beal suggests setting up a news feed that notifies individuals when their name is mentioned in an online posting. Google provides this option through Google Alerts, which will accomplish this for full name searches.

Beal also suggests that it is important to register names as a domain name and register for all possible social networks. This prevents against unauthorized impersonations and maintains a presence on the Internet. A Google search will produce all of these social networking pages first, which also allows you to control the content that is available online. Furthermore, if there is unfavorable content on the Internet, it is possible to “crowd out” the content with your own, approved content.

Additionally, it is also important to remember to take online postings seriously. Beal explained that 35% of recruiters have turned down candidates based on their online reputation. Certainly any derogatory remarks about jobs and current employers will have negative implications.

Google has also introduced the option to generate individual Google+ Profiles that will appear as the first item of an online search. The profile links to individual names, photos, contact information, and employment history so that individuals can control the content of an online search and their individual online reputations. As Eric Kopelman, an Internet advertising professional, explains, a person’s “name is their brand” and it is important to protect your brand.

Protecting online identity is also important to prevent against identity theft. When filling out online registration forms, it helps to limit the information you provide to only the required fields. Also, enabling a browser’s “lock” feature, ensures secure website connections. In instances of online transactions and purchases, this prevents against hacking and helps ensure that personal information such as names and account numbers remain safe.

At the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, we guide our clients in matters related to Internet and Cyber law transactions and litigation by using legal knowledge and skills to create solutions for our clients. Please contact us today to set up a confidential consultation.