Michael Fertik Discussing Online Reputation Management on the CBS Early Show
TRANSCRIPT FROM SEGMENT ON THE EARLY SHOW ON CBS 01-10-09
(A conversation between Seth Doane and Michael Fertik about protecting online reputations.)
Seth Doane: Did you ever Google yourself and find something that’s not so nice? It should worry
you. Listen to this: it’s estimated that more than 70 percent of employers do a web search of their
applicants as part of their hiring practice, and more than half of them admit to not hiring
someone because of negative information they found online. It could be something you posted
years ago, or something posted by someone you don’t even know. But what can you do about it?
Michael Fertik founded ReputationDefender.com and he’s here with some advice. Michael,
thanks for joining us.
Michael Fertik: Thank you for having me.
Seth Doane: What, how bad can it be to have a tarnished reputation online?
Michael Fertik: It’s so important. It’s so important to be careful with your reputation. It’s as
important as your credit score nowadays. Every life transaction you have, whether you’re
looking for a job, you’re looking for romance, you’re looking for a friend, people are going to
look you up on the web and they’re going to make conclusions based on what they find. We
actually looked you up on the web, and we found a video of you! This is the video, I’m going to
play it for you, this is the second video—
Seth Doane: This is ridiculous (laughing)—
Michael Fertik: That people find about you on the web—
Seth Doane: Oh good, there’s no audio (laughing)—
Michael Fertik: There’s no audio, that’s right—
Seth Doane: Oh, there is audio (laughing)!
Michael Fertik: Well, here it is. This is you singing “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” here we go—
Seth Doane: Yes (laughing)—
Michael Fertik: And (laughing), it’s a video of you at a party. Now you are on TV, think about
this for a second. You are on TV every day of your life, very professional—
Seth Doane: There are other stories you could be watching here, Mike (laughing)—
Michael Fertik: Every day of your life you’re on TV, and Google thinks this is the second-most
important video taken of you ever in history. Could you imagine how silly, now imagine if
you’re a regular person, right? If you’re a regular person, one random, idiosyncratic piece of
content on the web dominates your Google results forever. So, just compare yourself as a famous
person to a regular person, you get the idea.
Seth Doane: I don’t know how famous, but how do we protect ourselves online?
Michael Fertik: There are three things you want to right away, do it yourself. First, establish your
good name on the web, get yourself what my company calls “Google insurance.” Establish your
good name with a good LinkedIn profile, with a good blog about yourself. Two, monitor yourself
Seth Doane: You could write your own history in a way—
Michael Fertik: Write your own history. Get yourself protection before someone slams you or
Google-finds something unimportant about you
Seth Doane: All right.
Michael Fertik: Number two, monitor yourself assiduously, including not just Google alerts, but
the deep web, the Facebook, the MySpace, the pages where the content really starts to generate
and become problematic. And three, the problem, nip it in the bud before it spreads and gets
mirrored and replicated. And, if you can’t do it, you want to hire the pros. You go to my
company, we live and breathe this stuff all the time, this is what we do,
ReputationDefender.com. That’s the company I started, exactly to solve this problem.
Seth Doane: So it really can be an issue.
Michael Fertik: It’s such an issue. It affects people who are undeserving, people who are sort of
using bad judgment, all kinds of different people.
Seth Doane: Is there any legal recourse if someone really slanders you, if someone posts
something they shouldn’t post?
Michael Fertik: You know, the problem is, the law has not yet caught up with privacy. So, the
Internet has really changed the privacy landscape in a big way and the law has not yet caught up
with it. It’s lagging behind so far.
Seth Doane: So you think this Jim Croce thing could be a problem for me, “Bad, Bad Leroy
Michael Fertik: I think—
Seth Doane: I still got a job here, right (laughing)!
Michael Fertik: I think you’re insulated.
Seth Doane: Who’s laughing at me?
Michael Fertik: You’re insulated.
Seth Doane: It is something that’s really worth thinking about. So, Googling yourself is a good
thing, it’s just not incredibly narcissistic, huh?
Michael Fertik: You have to be on top of your reputation. It’s not about narcissism; it’s about
your personal brand, especially in a down economy, people are looking you up, they’re making
decisions, they’re denying you a job unless they find something really good about you on the
Seth Doane: So, if your company, ReputationDefender.com, finds something bad, how do you
get it off, offline? It’s there forever?
Michael Fertik: So, sometimes what we do is we overwhelm the bad with good, to make sure
that when people look you up, they see what you want them to see. They see your good videos,
not necessarily your “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” videos!