Sue Scheff: What is a Google Bomb?

Google_BombCoverAccording to Wikipedia: Google Bomb (n) or “link bomb”: Internet slang for a certain kind of attempt to raise the ranking of a given page in results from a Google search.

What damage can it do? Major! As a victim and survivor of a Google Bomb, I will share with you that a few vicious keystrokes and clicks of a mouse – your good name can be trashed, slimed and literally ruined virtually.  Your 20 year reputable business can be destroyed in a matter of 20 minutes from this type of activity.

Prior writing my book, I was clueless about Google Bombs, but very familiar with Internet Defamation. I never realized this monster had a name until we searched for a book title.

Whether you are a teacher or a principal, a lawyer or a landscaper, a truck driver or a doctor, a stay-at-home mom or career woman, teens to grandparents – no one is immune to Google Bombs. You may have an unsatisfied client, disgruntled customer, student that didn’t like their grade, a friend turned foe or went through a divorce and your once soul mate is now your adversary. The Internet doesn’t discriminate, learn to maintain and protect your name, business, kids, and family online.

The Internet has been considered an educational tool and an informational highway, now it is being used as a legal lethal weapon. I believe in free speech and the First Amendment; however it will not condone Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy. I have countless numbers of emails from victims of Cyber slander, it is a growing problem that needs to be addressed and awareness needs to be raised.

Years ago I went through a very trying time, when I realized I was being attacked online. I fought back legally and won an unprecedented jury verdict for damages over $11M for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy. $5M of this verdict was awarded for punitive damages – meant to punish. The jury read through pages (literally tons of posts) and listened to testimony to determine that what happened to me needed to send a strong message.

In my latest book, Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet, you will read many of the ugly posts (anti-semantic, sexual, death wishes, and more). You will also go behind the scenes of the legal road, as well as practical guidance prevent this from happening to you. My attorney, David Pollack vindicated me legally; however the Internet was still full of slime. That is when I turned to Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender who worked diligently to successfully help me. Back in 2006 online management services were only starting up, and I was fortunate the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

As a writer for the Examiner on parenting issues, please take note that more colleges are checking your child’s name when their applications are received. Furthermore, even more employers are surfing search engines prior employing applicants. It is critical we educate our children and teens that what they post today may end up haunting them tomorrow! Be an educated parent.

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