Thursday, September 2, 2010


Do you have any secret, private stuff in your background that you don't want revealed? A police report? Were you ever arrested?

What about your credit report? Were you ever fired from a job? Have you ever fudged your birth date? Was it on your Facebook profile? Was there a different date on another social networking Website?

Well, it's "Digital Dirt." There are ways you can fix it!

Can really bad stuff be fixed -- like a resume that mentions stuff you never did, jobs you didn't really have, courses you didn't take?

Don't worry. You can hire someone to erase, kill -- lies, ugly pictures, fake college credits, even personal measurements -- you posted.

"Reputation Management" is a booming business. Check it out online. You'll find different types of fixers.

"Personal branding strategists" are the most expensive -- a strategist might charge $2,000 to $10,000 for services. They are specially trained as well as certified. They guarantee you, "Your digital footprints can be fixed."

Another fixer is ReputationDefender. com. It was founded four years ago by Michael Fertik, thirty-one, a Harvard Law School graduate, who didn’t like the way young people’s online behavior could be permanently recorded on the Internet, and haunt them later.

The cost for Reputation Defender is much more reasonable -- between $10 a month and $1,000 a year.

Fertik's company (staff of 110), stuffs positive "factual’’ or “neutral news" into various search engines. They stuff in multiple profile pages, so that when your name is searched, the searcher will find a lot more information and different details.

When different details are repeated a few times, the person checking on you will go with the more frequently mentioned information. The stuffing strategy gets your newest, current "good" information onto the first page of the search engine, like Google, and according Fertik, most people "don't look beyond the first or second page."

Ferik said, “Good stuff pushes the negative stuff to the bottom."

Reputation Defender, with clients in 100 countries, says most of its clients are everyday professionals -- from teachers and lawyers to business executives and journalists. Fertik sets his own standards and won’t accept clients who have been convicted of a sexual crime against a child or a violent felony.

Fertig suggested if you're job hunting, raising money for a project, or applying for a grant -- Google yourself. If you find anything negative -- it could be something you posted years ago, or was put into cyberspace by someone who doesn't like you, even a perfect stranger -- pay attention.

"Fix it, do it right away!" is what Fertik advised.

It's what Reputation Defender or a personal branding specialist can handle for you, quickly and thoroughly, so that it won't come back and haunt you later.

If, on the other hand, you are hiring -- well, you can "do unto others what you'd don't want done unto you" -- check them out. Follow up on the references they've given you, and learn from what the head of Reputation Defenders said: Look at page one and two, and then thoroughly study the third, and forth pages, even a fifth page if you find it.

Do what the Pilgrim lady
is doing in this picture.
Pick up the shovel,
and dig for the dirt.
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