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Camera Man

The damage of undercover cameras and leaked footage reaching the Internet has been a dilemma music labels and movie studios have been battling for years. Leaked music videos (i.e. 50 Cent ft. Robin Thicke – Follow My Lead), movie trailers (i.e. Wolverine, which isn’t even set to be released until 2009) and other media often reach the masses and many times do more harm than hype. But now it’s not just large companies battling these leaks, rather individuals who are at the forefront of incriminating information, photos and videos posted about them online.

Recently, the Baltimore Sun broke the story about Officer Salvatore Rivieri and a questionable video of him man handling a skateboarding teenager.

Since then he has become an Internet phenomenon.

The original story was dugg by 8652 people, a second incident dugg by 5981 people, and the infamous YouTube Video titled Baltimore Cop Vs. A 14 year old Skateboarder has garnered over 1 million views. At this rate, if another video pops up, maybe he’ll become more popular than the Star Wars Kid.

So where does Officer Rivieri’s online reputation stand at the moment? Not so positive as you would probably imagine:
We’ve given this over a week’s time to see how the rankings from various news sources, blogs, and video searches populate. We tested a few different combinations of searches on Google for his name:

Google Search for Officer Rivieri
Google Search for Salvatore Rivieri
Google Search for Officer Salvatore Rivieri

From all of those searches, an overwhelming number of the top 100 results for each search query was overwhelmingly negative, if not all. In essence, one YouTube video manages his online reputation.

So, what options does one like Officer Salvatore Rivieri have to repair his online reputation?

1. Go for the source.

Online video repositories such as YouTube, Myspace, Google Video, and ReVVer have ways for copyright owners to request their media to be removed. Labels and studios have been doing this for years, but everyday users can do the same. But be noted, you must be the copyright owner to do this. Each company has its own procedures and requirements for takedowns.

YouTube Content Takedown
Myspace Copyright Violations
Google Video Copyright Information
ReVVer Copyright Information

2. Google Webpage Removal Request Tool

A less well-known feature of Google is that you can request that web pages be removed from its index. While it is true that you can use nofollow, noindex, and Webmaster Tools to remove pages on your own domains, this tool is designed particularly for removing pages hosted on other servers. If a particular page has personal information such a signatures, social security numbers, or credit card numbers, it may be grounds for a Google Removal Request.

3. Official Press Releases

Because Officer Rivieri is employed in a public department, there may be more red tape for him to make a public announcement or issue a press release. But for those who do not have such restrictions, issuing an official release may be a great option. Contact the news agencies and bloggers who wrote or reported the original story, offer your press release, your side of the story, and to answer any questions. Bloggers tend to eat up press releases from people who have made a mistake and admit to. By visiting the top 20 negative search results that appear in a search for your name and personally contacting each one, some damage control can be done and prove successful in closing this chapter of your life.

4. Hire An SEO or Online Reputation Management Company

Hiring an SEO company can have its benefits. With experience in search engine optimization, the company can help you create search engine optimized press releases, build up your social media accounts, optimize your personal web pages, and work you on the road to a positive image on search engines. Wpromote does offer SEO and custom reputation management packages.

Preemptive Measures To Online Reputation Management:

3 Things You Can Do In 15 or Less Minutes:

1. Buy Your Name.com

Buy your name.com. If you have not already and assuming the domain is still available, purchase it! Our advice to Officer Rivieri would be to purchase one of four of these sites (or even all): SalvatoreRivieri.com, Salvatore-Rivieri.com, OfficerRivieri.com and OfficerSalvatoreRivieri.com. As of this morning, all four are still available.
If your name.com is already taken, try different combinations, adding your middle name, or use a hyphen to separate your first and last name. .net, .org and .us extensions are also popular.

2. Add New & Valuable Content

Have your domain? Add a blog or use Google’s Page Creator to populate it with some positive and useful content about yourself.

3. Set up a Myspace Account

Register on Myspace. As much as you may hate it, Myspace has proven to rank well in search engines and when you have negative press, building a positive page can do wonders. Register there, create a profile, fill in some basic info, and even set your profile on private if you’d like.

With time, assuming you do not have a common name or share one with a celebrity, these two sites alone should begin ranking in first page results when searching for your name.

Online reputation management is generally the kind of issue that many people never think about until something bad and public happens to them. If one waits until that moment, though, then something negative may already be defining you. We’ve all heard the old adage that bad things happen to good people and it’s proven to be true. Taking preventative measures to establish an online identity for yourself that portrays you the way that you wish the world to view you is one way to fight bad press before it happens.

Hopefully, nothing as bad as what happened to Officer Rivieri will ever happen to you, but if it does, it’s best to be prepared!


One thought on “When YouTube Manages Your Online Reputation
  1. Glen Allsopp says:

    Great post, and a very interesting case study. It’s very difficult to help repair reputations this bad, but certainly not impossible.

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