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Take Control of Your Online Image: How to Wipe it Clean

You can determine your online image. Find out how.

Lauren Bayne Anderson

July 29, 2011

Take Control of Your Online Image: How to Wipe it Clean

Be Cautious with Emails: Many people aren’t aware that emails they post to listserves can come up in Google searches and appear online. Because it’s an “email” many people have a false sense of privacy, so be careful when posting or replying to listserves. Don’t Bash on Blogs: If you have a blog, be careful what you post there. Anything regarding your work habits, how much you hate your boss, admissions of stealing office supplies, the fact that your posts appeared during working hours, can all be cause for alarm for potential employers. If you insist on keeping a blog like this, make sure it’s anonymous and can’t be traced back to you. Check and then check again. If there’s something out there you have no control over that you need removed, here’s what to do:
  • Contact the offender if you know who it is. Be it a blogger, or a friend or enemy, try contacting them first and asking them to remove the content. If they refuse, it’s time to take action.
  • Identify the offender. If you’re not sure who is in charge of the site or who posted the inflammatory stuff about you, you’ll need to identify where the information is coming from. If the information is listed on a blog or another independent or small website, find out who registered the site. You can do this by visiting websites like Domaintools Whois Lookup, which provides detailed information about the website and who registered it.
  • Take Action. On sites like Domaintools, look for the “Admin Email” which you can use to contact the webmaster if no email is listed on the offending site. Also, look for the name of the host company in the “Server Data” section. Once you know who hosts the domain, check out the host company’s Terms and Conditions, to see if the offending material ALSO violates their terms—in which case they will have to remove it for you. Even if it’s a gray area, you may still be able to sway them to take action.
  • Get it Removed from Google. If it’s not on Google, it’s tougher to find— anywhere else. So, naturally, another route is to appeal directly to Google, which will remove copywritten or privacy related information (such as social security numbers, signatures, etc) without question. Even if it’s not breaking these privacy rules, you may still be able to get the libelous material removed by reading Google’s Terms and Conditions and making a case for your particular situation. Here’s where to request removals from Google: Google Removal Tool.

*Note: Even if information is removed, it could take up to 90 days for it to stop appearing in a Google search. So take action immediately if there’s something not-so-flattering on the web about you, and give it some time, before it becomes an issue during your job search. Information compiled from Careerealism, CTI Career Search, The New York Times and Makeuseof. This article originally appeared on Monster College.

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