If you or your company has ever been the subject of a whistleblower claim, a product recall, or a false accusation, then you know the Internet is an unforgiving place. Errors compound. Unfavorable stories pile up like a multi-car accident on the Interstate.

Several services offer what appear to be easy ways to contain or even eliminate these electronic toxic spills. They claim to possess algorithms that will drive negative stories down in searches. This may be brilliant marketing, but it isn’t often effective, especially if the people doing the searching are experienced.  My advice is: buyer, beware.  There are no magic algorithms. Many of the miracle “promises” are just legally impossible to deliver.

Cleaning up a messy electronic footprint requires tools, tenacity and common sense.

We recommend the following:

Devote A Page To Your Own Message:
Your story needs to be told quickly, clearly and concisely. Never allow someone not representing your interests to take control of your message.

Build An Ambassador Program:
Include your vendors, suppliers, employees, neighbors and trade groups since they are all potential ambassadors. Ask them if they would like to participate. After all, your business contributes to their livelihood. You will be pleased to learn in most cases, of their willingness to help.

Take Time To Find And Develop Your Own Experts:
The Internet is littered with junk science. It is worth the time and effort to develop relationships with reputable university professors, statisticians, analysts, and others who can serve as very effective third party arbitrators.

Don’t over react:
There are many bloggers who will never be swayed by the evidence. Reacting may cause an online firefight, which in itself can become a source of misinformation and confusion.

Get Informed And Maintain Your Objectivity:
Get the advice of a professional and allow him/ her to counsel you rather than react and potentially make the situation worse. Often this starts with your attorney and then engaging the services of a crisis communications firm.