How Suppressing Negative Content Can Benefit You
Many people want to grow their online presence and reach a larger audience. Unfortunately, increasing your brand and business’s scope and reach on the internet also increases the likelihood of generating less desirable attention.
Having negative content posted about you on the internet can severely damage your online reputation, potentially leading to consequences such as decreased customer loyalty and financial losses down the line.
It’s commonly said that there’s “no such thing as bad press,” and that even negative content can be used to good ends in the long run. However, BRANDefenders agents know that suppressing negative posts is often the best way forward for our clients.
Keep reading to learn more about how suppressing negative content can be a good thing for you and your business and how BRANDefenders can help you navigate problems with your brand’s online reputation.
Drawbacks of Negative Content
Negative content about you or your brand on the internet can have severe consequences for your business. A recent study by researchers at the University of Colorado found that negative online reviews had significantly more influence over potential consumers than positive reviews. That means a single negative review about your business could end up losing you clients and money, even if you also have several positive reviews on the same website.
Negative content can have professional consequences on an individual level, too. In the age of the internet, it’s extremely common for employers to run web searches on every potential candidate for a position. You may be much less likely to receive an interview or a job offer if the person researching you discovers negative content.
Finally, some types of negative content can be extremely detrimental to your personal well-being. In these cases, the victims often feel that getting undesirable or harmful information deleted from the internet is the only way forward. No amount of spin can compensate for the feeling of violation and distress the content brings.
Tactics for Suppressing Content
The best approach to managing negative content on the internet is to work with a reputation management agency like BRANDefenders to mitigate the risk of receiving bad reviews in the first place. However, even with the best online reputation firm in your corner, there will be times when suppressing content is the only way forward.
If you find yourself in a position where you need to remove or drown out negative content about you or your business, here are a few options that may be available. Remember, you can always reach out to a BRANDefenders representative for specific advice on suppressing content or how to address negative content that may be hurting your online reputation.
1. Ask the Author
In some cases, you may be able to ask whoever posted the negative content to remove it. This doesn’t always work, but there are ways to approach the situation without worsening the problem. Use careful judgment when considering this option, especially if the original poster seems angry or like they have a plan.
One possible downside of this method is that the publisher may choose to update their negative post or review with the information that you’re trying to get the content removed. This can make you look shady, and further harm your online reputation. It’s often better to consult with a reputation expert at BRANDefenders rather than risk making the problem worse by dealing with it yourself.
If possible, try engaging with the original poster over the phone rather than sending an email. Engaging with hostile people one-on-one in a personal way helps remind them that you are also a person with feelings, and they may be more likely to be sympathetic. Plus, your response and requests can’t be copy-pasted or screenshotted and added to the original post this way.
2. Ask the Publisher or Webmaster
Suppose the negative content about you is posted on a moderated website rather than a personal blog. In that case, you might be able to contact the page’s web admin or publisher for assistance. Cursory research is usually enough to find out how to contact the person in charge of running sites such as local news pages.
Again, a personal touch is key here. Try to get the publisher or webmaster on the phone rather than sending an email, and remember to treat them with the utmost politeness and professionalism. Getting assistance from a BRANDefenders representative is a great way to ensure the request is handled properly.
3. Work with BRANDefenders
While the above techniques are options you can explore on your own, suppressing content is usually more successful when you work with a reputation management agency like BRANDefenders. Our agents can come up with customized tactics that are targeted toward your specific situation.
We have experience with suppressing content on a number of different platforms and can utilize our knowledge and our contacts to get you and your brand the best possible results.
What Types of Negative Content Will Google Remove?
In some cases, suppressing content that you don’t want on the internet is as simple as asking Google to remove it for you. This typically only applies to a limited range of very specific circumstances. However, if one of these scenarios applies to your situation, you can spare yourself the hassle of contacting the original poster or webmaster and instead go straight to the search engine for assistance.
If you think the negative content you want to suppress might fall into one of these categories, feel free to reach out to a BRANDefenders agent for more information about how to ask Google and other search engines to remove the post.
1. Potentially Harmful or Invasive Information
Google’s service agreement specifically prohibits the sharing of any information that could compromise a person’s safety, such as images of signatures and credit card numbers. This kind of content can lead to fraud and identity theft when shared without consent, so search engines have ample motivation to act swiftly when it appears.
2. Sexually Explicit Content
As with other types of personally harmful information, most mainstream search engines tend to be rigorous about suppressing content of a sexual nature in situations when the rights of one of the parties featured in the material have been violated. At least one of the following criteria must be met for sexually explicit content to be removed by Google and other search engines:
- You are nude in the content or depicted performing a sexual act, and the image was posted without your consent
- You consented to the content or image being created but intended for it to remain private, and it was posted without your consent
- You are underage
- You didn’t consent to the act depicted in the content
Even if negative content of a sexually-explicit nature is posted against your will, its presence on the internet can have disastrous consequences for your personal life and professional reputation. The consequences of violating your privacy can be even more dire for your mental and emotional health. Fortunately, search engines tend to be responsive and act fast in suppressing this type of content when notified.
3. The Right to be Forgotten
The Right to be Forgotten only applies to people within the European Union, but it can be a powerful tool for suppressing content that is unflattering or has continued to hurt your life long after the event in question took place.
In basic terms, the Right to be Forgotten states that people should have the opportunity to move on from unflattering or strife-ridden public episodes. This usually entails removing information that could be considered irrelevant or outdated from search engines. The Right to be Forgotten is usually applied to old local news articles, outdated press coverage, and photos and videos on social media accounts.
4. Copyright Infringement
If the post you want to be taken down involves theft or unlawful distribution of your intellectual property, search engines will help you remove it. The work in question must fit into one of the categories protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It may be either published or unpublished.
How BRANDefenders Can Help Suppress Negative Content
While it is possible to ensure unwanted content won’t show up in search engine results, it’s generally difficult and confusing to try to remove such posts yourself. Reputation management companies like BRANDefenders are here to help.
Here are some of the services a reputation management agency can perform to help you get unwanted posts removed.
- Challenging libelous or unsubstantiated claims about you or your brand
- Alerting Google and other search engines to copyright issues and privacy violations
- Advice and training on how to prevent or ward off negative online attention
The Bottom Line
When dealing with negative online content about you or your brand, doing nothing can worsen the situation. Suppressing content may seem like an arduous or even impossible task, but having a top-tier agency like BRANDefenders in your corner will make the process much smoother. Stay in control of your brand’s online reputation by learning how to deal with the fallout of negative online attention.