- Step 1: Suck it up Consider the seriousness of the post. Is the information false? Does it libel you in a harmful way? If the item isn't damaging anything but your ego, try to ignore it. The internet is vast, and scandals die fast.
- Step 2: Contact the source If you know who posted the negative comment, contact them and politely ask them to remove or modify it. This approach has a better chance of working if you keep things civil.
- TIP: If the information was posted anonymously on a forum board or social site, ask the board moderator to intervene.
- Step 3: Post a response If the site of the original post accepts comments, write a rebuttal. Just try not to one-up the poster with a nasty comment of your own.
- Step 4: Set up a blog Set up a blog so you can counteract anything negative that is being said about you. New information posts higher on Google, so updating the blog regularly with information about yourself or your company will push the negative stuff further down.
- TIP: Set up a Google Alert at "www.google.com/alerts":http://www.google.com/alerts so you'll be notified whenever a new item about you appears on the Web.
- Step 5: Contact the webmaster If the offensive material remains, contact the webmaster of the page and politely request that they remove or modify it. Just click on the "contact the webmaster" link at the bottom of most home pages. If there's no such link, look for "contact us" and click that.
- Step 6: Ask Google to intervene Still no luck? Ask Google to intervene. Type "Web Page Removal Tool" into their search engine and follow the instructions. They will investigate and get back to you. But, keep in mind Google will not intervene simply because a site says something you don't like; there has to be an egregious violation, like publishing your social security number.
- Step 7: Consider suing If what was said about you is factually untrue, consider suing the source for defamation. But think hard before you file: to win a defamation, or libel, suit, you must prove not only that the statement was false – not merely opinion – but in some states even more than that.
- FACT: A London-based news agency had to pay damages to actor Will Smith after falsely reporting he called Adolf Hitler a good person.
You Will Need
- Thick skin
- Your own blog
- Google's Web Page Removal Request tool
- Google Alerts