Should I hire a company to "manage my online reputation"?
September 23, 2021 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I am working on developing a new career, and there's a lot of weird stuff at the top of Google search results when you search my (unique) name. I know the basic tricks like set up your LinkedIn account, etc. but some of this might be more advanced than what I can do on my own. Is there a company that can do this for me, a random individual? Any recommendations? Or is there a Mefite with experience in this area that I could hire?

First and foremost, there are a couple of awful pictures of me that I just want to go away. See this former question of mine for context: For the record, I did get rid of the original photo in that question, but it's replicated itself to other sites and the idea of hunting down multiple newspapers to get rid of it is exhausting.

I think I'd like some handholding on this and a couple of other issues. I don't have anything damning about me, just things like this picture, that don't convey the professional image I'd like to.

Is this something any Mefites have any experience with, either in hiring a company or doing it on your own (or for others?)

Also for the record, I am flooding the internet with images I'd LIKE to reflect me, but they are coming nowhere near to pushing that awful pic of me off the top of the search results.

posted by ThreeSocksToTheWind to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sometimes these reuutation repair companies. are the ones who trashed you initially. They use algorithms, a broad brush.

5. Causing problems - then offering to solve them

A common way online reputation management companies fool non-technical clients is by creating negative content themselves and ranking it higher on Google. Once the client gets to know about it, fake online reputation companies remove the negative content and pretend as if they had to work really hard for it. Non-technical clients tend to fall for this trick. (This is from an article about your problems.)
posted by Oyéah at 1:14 PM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Are you asking this question? No. Legitimate companies that are hired for personal brand identity (extreme example think Britney Spears) are expensive and legitimate. The rest I cannot speak of.
posted by geoff. at 3:25 PM on September 23, 2021

It isn't necessarily even handholding: it's a nebulous and instantly growing field, and no one should expect you to know everything. It's why experts are paid.

A strong IT should be able to help you with this. It might suck, but you might be able to buy into better google search results for yourself, and pay to better advertise your own personal sites, etc, to push the other material away.

Another technique is creating a hash of similar tags to the distasteful material and flooding the site.
posted by firstdaffodils at 3:48 PM on September 23, 2021

This might not be what you’re looking for, but do you own the domain(s) related to your name? Like Or .net, or .pizza? If you’re trying to solve the problem of people googling your name, that’s a good way to get out ahead of other content.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:42 PM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Second the previous suggestions. You could grab a couple more domains or create work on more popular platforms, and potentially push the distasteful photo out of the way, or at the very least, offer another top visual.
posted by firstdaffodils at 5:23 PM on September 23, 2021

One legit site that might help is DeleteMe. They probably won't really impact things like those photos you're mentioning, but they remove you from as many of those shitty, low-rent online databases that are all over the place. I've used it myself through work. Review here.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:30 PM on September 23, 2021

I'd say you should put up a "bio" website and offer up your own pictures and text you want the search engines to index. You should also create quite a few profiles on various social media sites that link to each other. LinkedIn, Instagram, your personal domain, Facebook, Blogger, Youtube,, so on and so forth. As they cross-link each other, and they are all your profile, it should displace any odd results you want off the first page.

It won't happen immediately though. SEO usually takes weeks if not months.
posted by kschang at 6:45 PM on September 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you took the picture yourself or otherwise own its copyright, file a DMCA notice.

Edit: read the old post. Have you tried contacting the paper to see if you can just send them an updated image? Sometimes the simplest way is best.

If you did try that and it failed, not much you can do but astroturf a newer image and hope it crowds it out, as suggested.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:54 PM on September 24, 2021

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