How can brushing up your online image and bruising that of others cost you heavily?

There are techniques and tools to ‘hide’ undesirable data. Obviously, doing this will cost you substantial money. If you want to know where and how it can cost to brush up your own online image or damaging that of others, here’s a quick check:

  • Expenses can shoot up to five figures in case a reputation management firm is approached to trace the people apparently responsible for the defamatory Twitter message or blog post. If you are going to hire an established firm to find the culprit, it’s still hit or miss! Experts mostly can’t guarantee you success because it’s not as simple as going to the search engines.
  • The cost estimates can vary for the task. For example, a leading player in this domain offers an annual membership at $99, but the actual costs could reach $10,000 for concealing an embarrassing article or post for a prominent business that wants to make it tougher to locate through search engines. It would again take quite a long while. For the tricky detective work, the costs will further escalate.
  • Another reputation management firm mentions burying negative information on the Web could cost anywhere $500 to $1,000, for starters. But persuading a search engine to expunge ‘incorrect’ personal or professional data could easily cost thousands of dollars more. Getting it removed from aggregating sites like PeopleFinder or Intellius can increase costs by another couple of thousand dollars.
  • There is also the cost involved for someone who has been accused of spoiling another person’s reputation. It is expensive to defend legal cases for defamation and libel and to settle them can be cumbersome. For example, singer Courtney Love recently paid $430,000 to a fashion designer for settling a lawsuit brought after she sent out a Twitter post about the designer’s work. It was found to be defamatory in nature.
  • There are services that offer protection against such lawsuits in the category of personal injury as opposed to bodily injury that invariably all homeowner policies include. However if, for instance, a parent or child happens to defame someone, the expenses could well exceed the coverage available in a basic policy.
  • Recently nearly $75,000 was paid out by a firm to cover a client’s legal fees for having forwarded a defamatory e-mail against a non-public person in town. The person in question forwarded it onto her own friend circle. It got forwarded further and the former did not do anything to modify it or attach any commentary on it. Probably it would have been a wise idea to not forward the e-mail, but the ‘culprit’ was lucky to possess the insurance to cover legal costs. She was fortunate as the case was finally dismissed. But ot people can escape unscathed.