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The Dirty Work of Cleaning Online Reputations

The Walrus – “For a fee, companies will tackle damaging search results. But is the new economy of digital makeovers making things worse?…Cleaning up your image, however, is not cheap. A serious campaign can cost between $10,000 and $20,000 or more and will usually run for at least four to eight months. Matt Earle’s twenty-four staff members deploy a suite of tactics to dilute or outright remove unwanted content. They have methods for contacting satisfied customers and encouraging them to leave positive reviews to bump up star-rated averages. They are also able to tweak Wikipedia entries in ways that pass muster with the website’s volunteer editors, who can be relentless about deleting puffery. Appeals can be filed to major internet players like Facebook, Google, and Twitter in order to hide a damaging link or critical comments. If it’s an unflattering story in the mainstream press, staff might provide the publication with research that prompts a correction or clarification. If that’s not enough, there’s the nuclear option: disappearing the content entirely…”

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