For those who are consistently in the public eye, it is now most important that online negativity is kept to the minimum. Public perception of individuals is often the direct result of online news reports and when these are less than good, reputations can suffer, often unfairly.
A search of Google will throw up a wide variety of reports, analyses and publicity for anyone in the public eye, particularly anyone who is seeking public office. If the favourable Internet sites can be accentuated on Google and the less favourable diminished or even deleted, aspiring politicians can move on and make good news.
The following case study relates the experiences of Allan Crowley*, a local body politician who wanted to make her mark in state politics.
Allan had twice won a place on her local council and although a popular candidate and councillor, had fallen foul of an outspoken community group of environmentalists. Their initial differences were over the proposed location of a new town rubbish dump. Allan’s site preference followed the first choice of the majority of councillors; however, an off the cuff remark overheard and headlined by a journalist made Allan sound as though she was out to ‘get’ all environmentalists, no matter what the issue.
The publicity was immediate and blew up out of all proportion to the original issue. Google searches showed that negative listings outnumbered positive ones. Allan had planned to offer herself as a candidate in the next state elections but knew realistically that such adverse publicity would be a disaster even though it was based on hearsay and gossip.
Her campaign manager approached IGI Digital a division of Image Group International which specialises in suppressing negative results from the first page of Google with their specialised strategies and methods. Because of the considerable publicity surrounding the issue, it took several months for the positive listings to become predominant, but it eventually happened.
Later that year, Allan Crowley eventually won her nomination and then a seat in Parliament. Without being able to control her online image, this result would have been most unlikely to happen… welcome to the new world of reputation management.
*Names have been changed to protect our client’s identity. All case studies have been approved by clients for public release.