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How would you push bad news down?
If Google indexes a story with bad news about your client, what do you do?
twright




msg:136264
 5:03 pm on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Over the past several months I've had three separate new business pitches go bad because when they asked "What can I do to get bad news about my company out of Google" I've said that there really isn't anything that can be done. Perhaps these folks are finding less-reputable and desperate folks who will say anything to get the sale - but I'm wondering, am I missing something?

One client had a bad relationship with an "investment service" (read junk bond salesman) that they weren't aware of. When the invenstment service got busted, our potential client was listed as a client of the investment service. This story went out on the wire and appeared everywhere. After some time, it went away in most places, but Google has it archived and it shows up as the number 3 listing when the client's name is typed in. I said we could try to get more pages indexed above the story, but the story would not exit the index unless the owner of the publication did something to make that happen. Apparently that wasn't good enough and the client went elsewhere.

So I'm asking you guys - what would you do to get rid of bad news?

 

twright




msg:136294
 6:09 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think that would only work if you were to hack into the offending site and place either a Robots.txt file or some meta tags on the page - neither of which I would ever do.

Oaf357




msg:136295
 6:33 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

You must not have seen this then:

[services.google.com...]

webwoman




msg:136296
 7:00 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

twright,
You may enjoy reading this [cluetrain.com] for a different philosophical view of 'bad news' on the internet. (It's a long read, but quite good)

There are many many things you can *do* - be litigious, hack the other sites, out-seo them, etc. But if the 'bad news' is at a highly ranked site, it's always going to show up when someone types in the name of your clients company. I do believe that putting more pages or sites up that address the 'bad news' - no matter how eloquently they present your clients side of the 'bad news' story - is just adding to promotion of the 'bad news'.

The situation I mentioned in my first post on this thread has been ongoing for 2 years now. It only shows up when the company name is typed into the search engine. It fluctuates between pages 1, 2, 3. There are several indexed pages mentioning the 'scandal'. They have placed my clients url on their 'bad news' page and since they are PR 7, 8, I've gained some increased page rank from the deal :)

Like I said originally, you need to gauge the damage. If it's minimal, you don't want to add to it by further promoting the incident.

gopi




msg:136297
 7:00 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

No so easy Oaf357 :) , that 'urgent' url removal still requires to place a robots.txt at the site in question .

If anybody can remove sites that easy from google index i have some big competitors in mind :)

As webwoman pointed out one good side effect from bad press is you will end up with some nice PR links :)

gopi




msg:136298
 7:21 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> That is a very cool idea. Great post!

Thanks Beachboy but i still dont think its ethical :)

>> Gopi .. you know what that means .. if it works

I think it works atleast now but i beleive google is working on some filter that ignores guestbook links , may be its just a update away

jimh009




msg:136299
 7:35 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

While this doesn't apply to Twright's situation (where your company is mentioned on a scammy website), to get rid of bad news on the net (such as from negative reviews about your companys products or services), why not try actually trying to fix the problem that led to the bad news to begin with?

There's a reason all those "sucks" site exist on the net today - and it's because many people feel, rightly or wrongly, ripped off by a companies products or services.

By taking measures to prevent such bad things from happening in the first place, and perhaps by even contacting people who put up those comments/sites to try to rectify the problem that spawned the negative comments/site, I think a company can go a long way towards getting rid of the bad news about them on the Internet.

While this won't work all the time - since some people seem to live only to complain - by being proactive and trying to prevent problems from occurring and righting the problems that occured in the past, a company should be able to dramatically decrease the bad news about it on the NET.

Jim

edited for typo

IITian




msg:136300
 8:33 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

2_much, gopi and brian:

Thanks a lot for some sound useful advice. In fact, this morning I bought a domain name based on one keyword I am planning to target for my next project.

This next project is a tricky one. It's a "sucks" site on a very big industrial group - (name starts with M) and I checked yesterday - first 70-80 search results based on M* keyword belonged to the this very same group. No spamming and no apparent SEO, just that it has hundreds of companies most of them named starting with M*.

I am just a novice now, but am learning. It will be interesting to get into the first 10 results, if possible. ;)

Kurupt




msg:136301
 3:00 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

This would be a pain in the rear if the company has another company putting up fake claims about the site. I'd be real pissed if a competitor put up a page that bad mouths my business. However, if this business deserved to have bad things written about it. Well, that is their own fault. I would not do a single thing to help a client out who DESERVED to have someone stand up and say 'so and so gave me a hard time' on some page that comes up in Google.

danny




msg:136302
 6:13 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

The client should consider changing their name :-)

India_max




msg:136303
 8:01 am on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hiya!

Yes, My latest client is facing the same problem.
My Client does not have his site optimized for MSN right now. The first couple of results against search queries for his name show Sites which are Saying something against HIM.

These are basically news items.

Now i have to push those pages down by getting a dozen of his sites to rank for TOP Results.

Could anyone please tell me how to get into MSN Paid listing in the shortest possible time.

Also, how much time does it take for LookSmart's paid listings to get reflexted in MSN Search?

Please do let me know.

THX.

Prash.

webwoman




msg:136304
 2:44 pm on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

However, if this business deserved to have bad things written about it. Well, that is their own fault.

And exactly who is supposed to be the judge of which companies 'deserve' to have bad things written about them? There are many gripe, and critical type sites out there - don't you think twright's client claims innocence and the writer of the news story claims he was just reporting the facts? Which one is right? Freedom of speech allows for the bad news article...unless it violates copyright, slander or some other law. I think Danny is right - change your name if the damage is going to be considerable.

twright




msg:136305
 6:12 pm on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

India - give Looksmart a call. They can probably help you.

Brian




msg:136306
 7:06 pm on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

IITian: Just be careful out there. If you are setting up a site specifically to go after a business, then that sounds like a very high degree of motivation you have. The balance between free speech and the right to reputation is shifts somewhat, so if you make significant mistakes they may come at you suggesting you were recklessly indifferent to the facts - the lite end of malice. That opens the door to defamation, and on defamation you can lose your home - on costs alone.

It's unlikely to ever come to anything, but a big business can push the whole thing out to its lawyers who will bombard you with the kind of tedious **** you would not want in your head on a daily basis. Their lives will continue. You will lie awake at night.

One safety net is to make it clear that you are publishing your opinions, experience or analysis. The average reader never notices that you have said "In our experience... If you ask me... I think... From what we've been able to discover... etc".

Brian




msg:136307
 7:11 pm on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think I've just discovered you can't say **** on this board. In my last post, I wrote #$%^ and it came out as ****. This makes me look like the kind of guy who would write **** when I meant #$%^. I think that's kind of weird.

[edited by: eelixduppy at 6:04 am (utc) on Feb. 18, 2009]

IITian




msg:136308
 8:01 pm on Jun 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brian,

Thanks for your advice. Actually there is no malice just the need to inform people. It will include my experience dealing them in Japan more than a decade ago which was well publicized there. News was suppressed in the rest of the world but now we have internet. ;)

HughMungus




msg:136309
 6:20 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Off the cuff reply and maybe already asked: If web pages are copyrighted, how can google legally cache them? Doesn't this remove the "freedom of speech" because your "speech" is repeated without your consent and because google, a third-party company, is repeating what you said or that someone said about you with no way to retract?

Honestly, I don't see how google gets to cache pages. Seems wrong.

hutcheson




msg:136310
 7:12 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

>If web pages are copyrighted, how can google legally cache them?
Under copyright law, the owner has the right to control what copies are made. For caching spiders, that control is exercised via META tags. There are various other issues, but the simple fact is that an electronic copy made as a logically necessary part of some process permitted by the copyright owner, can't logically be forbidden. If you want a site to be promoted by the positive actions of some third party, you comply with their conditions -- whether it's site design (Yahoo and Google), cash up front (Yahoo and Looksmart), reciprocity (your favorite FFA ad-banner farm), allowing automated spidering (Google and Inktomi), or whatever.

"Free" means you and they both have a choice: you don't have to comply with their petty conditions, and they don't have to bother with your pizzley site.

>Doesn't this remove the "freedom of speech" because your "speech" is repeated without your consent and because google, a third-party company, is repeating what you said or that someone said about you with no way to retract?

No. Freedom of speech doesn't (and can't) mean the cancellation of all consequences for idiotic speeches. You're free to speak; you're free to retract; I'm free to tell people what you first said.

HughMungus




msg:136311
 8:04 pm on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you want a site to be promoted by the positive actions of some third party, you comply with their conditions -- whether it's site design (Yahoo and Google), cash up front (Yahoo and Looksmart), reciprocity (your favorite FFA ad-banner farm), allowing automated spidering (Google and Inktomi), or whatever.

"Free" means you and they both have a choice: you don't have to comply with their petty conditions, and they don't have to bother with your pizzley site.

And if I don't care about being listed in google?

Where does it say that google is allowed to violate copyright law by storing content and making it available even without the rightsholder's permission? Where does it say that *I* have to take action to prevent copyright law from being violated? Would it be OK for me to cache other websites on my site and have people browse their site via my cache instead of the websites' site?

Edit: If someone caches it, you're not free to retract as the retraction will not appear with the cached page.

Greg_Molloy




msg:136312
 11:28 pm on Jun 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I run a family run business selling "canon photocopiers at massive discounts" (you should find site from that) and google recently indexed my site. I always check backlinks and "similar pages". I found one that looked suspicious and since clicking on it my site has been excluded from the top ten listings. The link was too a porn site. My site is nothing to do with it and it may have been listed by someone trying to saboutage my site. SO please tell me how I push this bad news down or get rid of it altogether?

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