We’ve all googled ourselves at some point, but what happens when we don’t like what appears? In episode 12 Stan sits down with Kathleen, who specializes in “online reputation management”, or the art of controlling what information appears on page one when googling a person, brand, or company. In the digital age when NOTHING disappears on the internet, and google makes it nearly impossible to remove any pages you didn’t personally create, a person’s entire digital history can be deeply affected by bad reviews, public records of legal problems, or any other matter a person might not want to be known for. To get around this, Kathleen specializes in writing keyword dense biographies, blog entries, press releases, and all manner of content trying to push the offending content deeper down the google page ranking, so negative results appear on page 5 instead of page 1 (as close to erasing content as is possible on the web). By writing content that the Google bots LOVE, Kathleen ensures her client’s avoid being associated with content they don’t love.
Stan and Jason then discuss what it means that Kathleen is essentially writing algorithmic content for algorithms, content that’s in some ways not even meant to be read by humans, only by machines! Not only that, but in this world of ORM, maybe facebook is the best thing to happen in a long time and what happens if you’re “google bombed”?