Cleaning up a checkered digital past

I hope this doesn't sound familiar to any of your kids: "A recent college grad with a distinctive last name would like to get rid of an entry on someone else's long-abandoned online journal. The entry mentions her full name in a rambling tale of drug-induced debauchery and sexual high jinks. It always shows up as the fourth or fifth result in a Google search on her name" – a problem, since she's now trying to get a job, reports Computerworld, referring to this as a real-life example. Basically, people have four options in cleaning up their online image: 1) Find and appeal to the person who posted the photos and associated text, 2) file an abuse report or take-down request with the site hosting that profile or blog entry, 3) pay a service such as or to do the above sort of legwork for you, and/or 4) create search-engine-friendly Web pages about yourself and/or a blog that push the negative stuff down in the search results. ComputerWorld offers a lot more detail, as well as other tough reputation scenarios, so check it out. The good news is, the above, fairly typical reputation situation has a pretty good chance of getting deleted. The bad news in the article was that ComputerWorld's reporters, who tried the do-it-yourself approach themselves, ended up with no idea of who among all the contacts they pursued actually got those images taken down.

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