When History Comes Back to Haunt You

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When History Comes Back to Haunt You

In 1990, a young CEO of a small Long-Island based company was accused of “cooking the books” in producing an annual financial statement. Not a major incident, but in a relatively slow news cycle, coverage did make the New York Times. The case was later brought to court, and the CEO was cleared of all charges.

End of story, right? Not necessarily. As we track the course of history, let’s fast- forward eight years to 1998. This new company, Google, starts to organize the web, in the spirit of helping people find information more quickly and efficiently. Almost overnight it becomes much easier for consumers to find exactly what they are searching for.

Fast- forward another 6 years to 2004, when media companies like the New York Times start to realize that archiving older content not only provides their readership with more content to consume, it helps their sales and marketing teams with scale to sell more advertising inventory. They also discover that the additional content helps their sites rank higher in search, as the Google algorithm rewards them for contributing more high quality content.

ceo is concern over online reputationFast-forward again to June 2014. Repceptional Co-Founder Moshe Zchut gets a phone call from this same CEO, now a polished C-Suite Executive, in line for a major role at a big corporation. As the final vetting process for the position takes place, the Executive receives a panicked call on a Sunday morning from the Head of Human Resources at the company, demanding an immediate explanation for his recent actions. The Executive initially has no idea what the person on the other line is talking about, but quickly determines that the HR person has not only seen the 1990 New York Times article, but has also paid no attention to the date on it. He calmly explains the situation; that he was cleared of any wrongdoing 24 years ago, and there was no follow-up media coverage because it was never really a story.

The situation as it pertains to this job search is quickly cleaned up, but this Executive still had an issue to deal with. Even with an incredible professional track record, he had a fairly serious online reputation management (ORM) problem. There was a high-ranking piece of content from the New York Times that appeared at the top of any Internet search for his name, and it had the potential to jeopardize any further career advancement, amongst other things.

This story is not uncommon. One of the many offshoots of the rapid growth and development of the web is that history finds a way of coming back and haunting people, threatening careers, relationships, etc. You’ll often hear people say that anything on the web is permanent, and there is definite validity to this assertion. So the question is, what does one do in cases like this?

The good news is that there are remedies that you can take. Sometimes, like in the case of our CEO, an ORM problem is an opportunity. Meaning that over time, we gradually push down the older New York Times story, and replace it with high-quality, premium content that showcases the incredible accomplishments and career trajectory of our Executive.

This is why Repcetpional is in business. We create authentic, positive search results to help you advance in your career, and in life in general. If you’d like to discuss your own situation with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a free consultation!

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