bad press: how to make it, how to fight it

On January 10th I talked about and how someone had completely copied our company site just changing the name.

As it happens, this guy’s kid did it, and put his dad’s name in place of Ian’s.

Here is the problem for the guy: if you search his name in Google, the top result is a different guy with the same name, and 3 out of the next 4 are me talking about him. Only the 4th result links to the guy himself, via his LinkedIn profile.

So how can he fight this bad press?

First, he could have talked about his side of the story in public. Now, this is hardly a spectacle or an outrage, and not many people care, but the principle applies: if the guy talked through his blog about what his son had done, that result would likely be in the top results for his name as well. So someone googling him would see his side of the story.

Second, he could ask me to remove my posts, which I would not do, or to add an update to them, which I did already out of common courtesy. UPDATE: The guy in question asked me to remove my posts. Instead, I am removing his name and links to him. While this will not kill all the results I have for his name, it will lessen them considerably.

What if someone treats you unfairly? How can you publicize that?

A better question would be, why do you want to publicize someone treating you unfairly. In this case, I was encouraging the offender to remove their site. Search the company name and you will see what I mean. They took down the site, and if it was still up it would get top rankings for its own name, but I with my bad press would own the space below that name.

So someone treats you unfairly and you want to encourage them in public to make amends. Guidelines:

1. Say it first. Whoever gets out there first has an advantage, both in search engines, and in making them reply to you.
2. Blog it. You can do a press release, or post a page to your site, but Google loves blogs.
3. Tag it. My boss wrote about the same thing before I did here. The difference? Besides him getting comments, and being better written, and posting screen shots, I tagged my post with ‘vodazon’ among other things while he tagged his ‘ethics.’ That small difference means I am higher in the rankings. (Maybe. We don’t really know how Google works, we just guess, but this seems to hold true.)

What you can do: set up a blog now, so if someone writes bad press about your company, you can fight it on the first page of Google, and if somone wrongs you, you can demand satisfaction in public.

NOTE: I am tagging this post with the guy and the company name, so that this post will rise to the top of Google for his name, and be above the results where I just say that he copied our site.

UPDATE: Tagging appropriately worked so well, we got emailed and asked to remove the posts, because we were hurting his credibility. I would rather he have read this post and then told his side of the story in public, but I am okay with removing all references to his name and company.

1 Response to “bad press: how to make it, how to fight it”

  1. 1 rei: outstanding customer service « All For You Trackback on February 21, 2007 at 9:21 am

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I'm now blogging about internet marketing at

Red Beard Consulting

At Red Beard Consulting I work on internet marketing primarily for speakers. I also work with Infusionsoft.

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