Posts Tagged ‘reputation’

How Steve Jobs’ Legacy Has Changed

October 5th, 2012 10:45 admin View Comments


On the anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, reader SternisheFan sends in a story from CNN about how the Apple co-founder’s legacy has changed since then. “… in the 12 months since, as high-profile books have probed Jobs’ life and career, that reputation has evolved somewhat. Nobody has questioned Jobs’ seismic impact on computing and our communication culture. But as writers have documented Jobs’ often callous, controlling personality, a fuller portrait of the mercurial Apple CEO has emerged. ‘Everyone knows that Steve had his “rough” side. That’s partially because he really did have a rough side and partially because the rough Steve was a better news story than the human Steve,’ said Ken Segall, author of Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success.’ … In Steve Jobs, Isaacson crafted a compelling narrative of how Jobs’ co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, got pushed out of the struggling company a decade later and then returned in the late 1990s to begin one of the most triumphant second acts in the annals of American business. But he also spent many pages chronicling the arrogant, cruel behavior of a complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. According to the book, Jobs would often berate employees whose work he didn’t like. He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or ‘sh-t.’ ‘Among Apple employees, I’d say his reputation hasn’t changed one bit. If anything, it’s probably grown because they’ve realized how central his contributions were,’ Lashinsky said. ‘History tends to forgive people’s foibles and recognize their accomplishments. When Jobs died, he was compared to Edison and Henry Ford and to Disney. I don’t know what his place will be in history 30, 40, 50 years from now. And one year is certainly not enough time (to judge).’” Apple has posted a tribute video on their homepage today.

Source: How Steve Jobs’ Legacy Has Changed

Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews

October 4th, 2012 10:25 admin View Comments


First time accepted submitter unjedai writes “A company is putting horrible reviews of small business online, and then offering to improve the company’s reputation and take the reviews off for a fraction of the cost that a real reputation improvement company would charge. Sierra West received a call from a ‘reputation improvement company’ telling them they had a negative review online and that the company would take the review offline if Sierra West paid $500. ‘Of course when someone is offering $500 the day (the bad review) goes up seemed not legitimate.’”

Source: Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews

Germany’s Former First Lady Sues Google

September 10th, 2012 09:48 admin View Comments


quax writes “Bettina Wulff faces an uphill battle for her reputation. Her husband had to resign as Germany’s president due to corruption allegations and has many detractors. Apparently some of them started a character assassination campaign against his wife. At least that is, if you trust serious journalists who looked into the matter and stated that it is made up. Unfortunately though for Bettina Wulff, the rumors took off on the Internet. Now whenever you enter her name Google suggest the additional search terms ‘prostitute’ and ‘escort.’ Google refuses to alter its search index.”

Source: Germany’s Former First Lady Sues Google

Valve Hands Over Its Own Movie-Making Tools To Gamers

July 4th, 2012 07:46 admin View Comments


cylonlover writes “Valve has gained a reputation over the years not just for consistently putting out great games, but also for the slick trailers and promo videos that go along with them. But now the developer is turning the tables and handing over its own video-making tools to fans free of charge. With the Source Filmmaker, gamers will be able to direct, animate, and record their own videos as if they were shooting on location inside a video game.”

Source: Valve Hands Over Its Own Movie-Making Tools To Gamers

Smearing Toddler Reputations Via Internet: Free Speech Or Extortion?

April 3rd, 2012 04:43 admin View Comments


retroworks writes “Crystal Cox, a Montana woman who calls herself an ‘investigative journalis’ was slapped with a $2.5-million judgment last year for defaming an investment firm and one of its lead partners. Cox had taken control of the Google footprint of Obsidian Finance and its principal Kevin Padrick by writing hundreds of posts about them on dozens of websites she owned, inter-linking them in ways that made them rise up in Google search results; it ruined Obsidian’s business due to prospective clients being put off by the firm’s seemingly terrible online reputation. After Obsidian sued Cox, she contacted them offering her ‘reputation services;’ for $2,500 a month, she could ‘fix’ the firm’s reputation and help promote its business. The Forbes Article goes on to describe how she tried to similarly leverage attorneys and journalists reputations. Finding some of her targets were too well established in google rank to pester or intimidate, Cox moved to family members, reserving domain names for one of her target’s 3 year old daughter. Forbes columnist Kashmir Hill makes the case that this clearly isn’t journalism, and establishes a boundary for free speech online.”Source

Source: Smearing Toddler Reputations Via Internet: Free Speech Or Extortion?

How We’re Going Fix Online Identity and Reputation

March 2nd, 2012 03:34 admin View Comments

hypothesisworkshop1.jpgLast week, I had the great fortune of attending the Reputation Workshop. aims to build nothing less than a peer review layer for the whole Internet. It’s a mind-boggling idea when you let it sink in. The technical challenges are formidable, and the cultural ones are even bigger. Nevertheless, the excitement around the project is intense and contagious.

It’s a project that has drawn in the likes of Wikimedia, the Internet Archive and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The stewards of the free Web want this problem solved. To get the ball rolling on figuring this out, invited a colorful panel of experts – and… me. – to a three-day think tank on San Francisco Bay to identify the challenges, parse them out, and prototype solutions. And guess what? We pulled it off.


Why We Need

There are two fundamental, related cultural problems with the Web that wants to address: identity and reputation. Reputation is the main problem, but you can’t approach it without fixing identity. A reputation doesn’t refer to anything without a consistent identity behind it.

The goal is to build a system of reputation for, ideally, all the content on the Web. No filter exists today for us to assess what information is good and what information is bad.

Right now, the Web is vulnerable to gaming. Google’s search ranking algorithm is a fine piece of early reputation technology, and it’s constantly improving, but it’s exploitable by playing with back-links and keywords.

And now that the social filters of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have begun to dominate the time of Web users, the Web runs the risk of becoming an out-and-out popularity contest. If we could filter the Web by reputation, we could turn it into a meritocracy.


Identity & Reputation

Today, identity and reputation are fragmented by different, often competing online services. We have Facebook identities, Google identities and email identities. We have OpenIDs, but we might have a bunch of those. Some of these identities may be linked, but the links are weak.

In each of these networks, we also have reputations, however basic they may be. Our contributions are liked and +1d by friends and ranked by an algorithm. These services might provide APIs to be interoperable with other sites and applications, but that just extends the domain of the dominant platform, Facebook or Google. It’s not a multi-faceted identity. It’s the same monolithic identity extended everywhere.

Plus, identity providers like Facebook and Google have interests that run counter to ours. Real people are multi-faceted. We want to be able to express different aspects of ourselves in different contexts. But Facebook, Google et al have built businesses upon consistent, unchanging, public identities for all of us, despite nasty, sometimes dangerous consequences.

People with enough privileges don’t have to worry about their public identities and reputations, but marginalized or vulnerable people around the world face real danger for speaking out online. They still need the ability to participate fully. That’s why a truly Web-wide reputation system cannot be subject to any company’s “real names policy.”

We learned in the workshop that the best kind of online identity is one that is pseudonymous but expensive. It’s easy to get one pseudonym, but it’s very difficult to change or create new ones. A pseudonym could also be privately verified with a government-issued ID or some other standard, so the user remains pseudonymous to the world, but the reputation system knows who it is. needs relatable identities to build a reputation system. It will have its own reputation algorithms, mechanisms and moderation strategies. It will implement its trusted users’ contributions as a layer of reputation that can apply to all the content on the Web. users will be like Wikipedia editors, but for everything.


What Might Look Like? wants to build a layer of annotations attached to a system of reputation. In order to do that, it also needs to create a community around the right set of tools.

In the workshop, we imagined a few different interfaces. One crucial interface decision will be the way annotations are displayed on top of the content as a user browses the Web. It could be “heat maps,” where areas of the document with lots of annotation are color-coded to indicate activity, quality or both. It could be a sidebar full of various annotations, even multimedia ones.

Once it’s in place, a user signed in to will be able to judge a document’s reputation on sight or even filter a long list of documents. Participating sites will be able to stand behind their visible reputations. The Web will be less sketchy and seedy in places where clarity and transparency are needed.

And it won’t be imposed by some central authority, but rather by the work of dedicated annotators from all around the Web. Call them journalists, call them editors, call them curators, call them whatever you want. The advantages of this system over one based on blogging, hype and personality should be obvious. We could have a standard for assessing the quality of Web content, and that will help us assign real value to it.

If you’re curious about the particular, potential designs we discussed, you should visit Dario Taraborelli’s amazing notes on Wikipedia. He goes into depth about the possible solutions we considered. There’s no product news to report yet. I’m just here to update you on the state of the conversation. It’s thriving, it’s exciting, and it’s necessary.

If you want to follow along, visit and follow @hypothes_is on Twitter. As makes news, we’ll keep bringing it to you here on ReadWriteWeb.

Photos courtesy of

Disclosure: My really good friend Randall Leeds is building as the technical co-fonder. This happened after RWW started covering founder Dan Whaley’s efforts to create an annotation system for the whole Web. It’s a complete coincidence. Still, I admit that this may have an impact on my reporting. But hey, at least my fund isn’t investing in it.

Source: How We’re Going Fix Online Identity and Reputation

Shady Methods From Online Reputation Managers

January 20th, 2012 01:32 admin View Comments


Velcroman1 writes “Worried about your online reputation? Let the Online Reputation Management buyer beware: The company that helps protect your reputation may have its own issues. Consider the case of Darren Meade, who in 2010 was working as interim CEO at a California company. In an effort to address a number of negative comments about both himself and his company online, his company hired Rexxfield, an ORM, also based in California. But Meade said he became concerned about the relationship with Rexxfield when he discovered the company wanted to sell illegal hacker code to scrub negative comments from the web — and planned a marketing campaign of fear based on the threat that it can wipe anyone offline. ‘They called it Googlecide,’ Meade said.”

Source: Shady Methods From Online Reputation Managers

Keen On… Michael Fertik: Why People Will Pay for Privacy (TCTV)

June 28th, 2011 06:15 admin View Comments

Will people pay for online privacy? Yes, they will – at least according to Michael Fertik, the founder and CEO of, one of the early leaders in the new online privacy ecosystem. Indeed, Fertik believes that privacy is the next big thing in the online economy – a necessary antidote to Reid Hoffman’s Web 3.0 economy of pervasive personal data.

As Fertik told me when he came into San Francisco’s TechCrunchTV studio earlier this week, companies like give control back to the consumer in our Web 3.0 world. With products like the $75 a year MyPrivacy and MyReputation services, offers consumers a relatively affordable way to both block cookies and protect their online reputations in our increasingly public social media world.

Fertik may well be right. has already raised $25 million in three rounds of financing from a number of blue chip VCs including Kleiner and Bessemer. And while Fertik hasn’t received a lot of attention in the technology press, he is a frequent commentator on privacy issues in mainstream media and even recently starred as a “Web Avenger” in ABC’s new reality show about ruined online reputations.

This is the first of a two part interview with Fertik. Tomorrow he explains why data is the new oil and why consumers are the only people not benefitting from this avalanche of personal information.

Why people will pay for privacy

Michael Fertik, the founder and CEO of Michael, are you the most handsome CEO founder in the valley?

You must be the most is one of the big storiesworking at the time. And I was reading articles that were basically now No, that term, I think, was not used so much at that time. And I thought there was something wrong in the state of Denmark that, you know, in the blink of an eye somebody could just tattoo you forever in a way that was unfair or inaccurate or libelous or alternately just invade your privacy and exposed the personal information about you on the internet in a way that was very invasive.

And I realized that the entire, kind of, momentum of the internet was, was facilitating, and I couldn’t get the n this country, you put up or you shut up. So I started this company.

Two questions. Firstly, what were you doing in Louisville, Kentucky? And secondly, you’re a graduate of Harvard did you study this whole issue of privacy and reputation at Law School?

I was clerking for the Chief Judge of the 6th Circuit Court of Appealsn Kentucky wne of these quizzes yourself, it’s kinda hard.

No, I didn’t study this at.privacy but not realow and who are big voices, t was not focused on this. I just stumbled into the topic, and it turned out to be a, you know, a foreshadowing of what we now know is important.

The Wall Street Journal has said that this is a hot new area of privacy. But it, it’s always seemthere was going to be a need to protect people’s privacy on the internet.

Well, I think there has been a low level anxiety about privacy for a long time. When it comes to the Internet, it has been surging in prominence recently because the, the invasion has become more obvious and the consequences are now becoming more obvious. And, just a few days ago the FTC approved the launch of a, of a company that is doing manual searches for social media information about you and is gonna be using that information for background checks for.

Which company is that?

It’s called Social Intelligence. And, there are a lot of companies that are lining up to try to do that. And the Wallstreet Journal reported last year that, just last year, that, that insurance companies are mining social media data for information about you, presumably to assess premium levels and so forth.

So, the consequences are just coming into focus and the scope of the problem is coming into focus. But, a number of people have predicted that privacy would be some kind of topic for at least some time, though privacy is a phrase that covers all matters of sins and it’s kind offrustratingly non specificthere ‘s a lot of topics, there’s a lot of received wisdom in Silicon Valley.

There’s a lot of acerbic and confident received wisdom in Silicon Valley and so for a while we have had to lean against the acerbic conventional commercial interests and venture guys who are trying to get into the field. art people building interesting products and interesting companies to lean against the entire infrastructure of the internet.

Which is something free, which again is based on getting people using it free, collecting t

Why isn’t more visible in Silicon Valley

Michael Fertik, the founder and CEO of Michael, for one reason or other and perhaps you can explain why, you guys aren’t that visible in the tech community. And for members of the audience who don’t know much about, what’s your story in terms of backers, VCs, and your business model?

Thansk for that. So, we are…

Thanks for what?

The questions. For asking questions. The seed round was led by Mike Maples, who now goes by Floodgate. I think you’ve interviewed him, right? And then our B was led by Kleiner Perkins, it was tenchline at Kleiner, and David Cowen, Bessemer Venture Partners. They did it together, our B. And then our C round that we did last year was led by Jafco.

Nick Sturiale at Jafco.

What kind of number can you…

Yeah, so it’s public information that we’ve raised about twenty-five million dollars, to date.

And was that a struggle? Particularly at the beginning do you
You are going Easy so far, you know, we have been lucky in the sense that we oughly break even from the most of the history of the company and so we never had to take money quote on quote. So our business model is a, so we are able to get deals that wereeasonably, you know, reasonably nice thankfully.

Our business models are consumer subscriptions or prosumer subscription business models so you pay us yearare in a free economyand it was interesting, it’s really expanded our funnel. We’ve learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t work, with different kind of demographics and psycho graphics of customers and we’re considering even giving away more stuff free, because, because our technology has gotten more complicated and more deep of the last four or five years.

Our ability to start giving away somethings free is getting easier because we built up You asked about the Tech Presshe way any other Silicon Valley person is. Sust curious. But aleven among technology journalist has sort of a notion that we can becomeThis new, hot company, XYZ, whind hyped. And it turns out that it’s not important to anybody outside of the Silicon Valley buzz scenkind of the hat your productsnot really wellThen the high can make you, but can also kill you.

And so we just not, I just never been sure Tech Press get you customer. I think TechPress can get you some TechPress. Not always get you customer. Some people have great experience but we never persue it.

I presume you’ve been getting some great press in Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal. You seem to be quoted every week on privacy and on the reputation economy. I’m assuming that quite effective in term building good client base?

Well, thankfully we have become, I think, the spokes people on the topic of reputation and privacy. On the topic reputation and privacy in your romantic life, in professional life, your economic life and professional life is clearly growing. People are trying to measure influence, trying to measure reputation, trying to measure your privacy and vulnebility.

That ‘s also interesting economic models to be built with on top of data about you. How do you compare to your peers? How you compare to everybody who went to your college or your You grcan touch so many different kinds of stories in the mainstream press, consumer press, financial press, and we’ve been lucky that we’ve been part of that and in a lot of those t

How is making money

Michael Fertik, the CEO and founder of Michael, this is the moment in the interview when the rubber meets the road to use a well known as anti-Christ of silicon valley, all sorts of awful people have written all sorts of awful things about me. And I’ve never r?

For you it cost a lot and let me tell you why.


It cost a lot because you’re very prominent on the internet. So, the advantage that you have, is also sort of your disadvantage. The advantage is that Andrew Keen has a very large microphone or megaphone. Right, you’re on TechCrunch, you’re a writer, you’re a blogger, you ‘re at conferences, you a series of publications that you control.

And so, in a lot of ways, if people want to learn more about you, they can look to your content and if you get into a tussle with someone on the web, you can easily with your giant microphone respond to the criticism if you so choose, right? 99.999% of people either don’t have that microphone or can’t be bothered, or don’t want one.

Right? Or can’t generate one if they don’t want one.

But they’re also a lot more vulnerable.

Exactly. So, I don’t think that it’s fair to hold the average person to the same standards.

Well, let’s deal with me first. Let me go on to this, the so-called average person. What would it cost if I wanted to clean up my reputation?

I didn’t come prepared with this, with a deep dive of your results, but…

What are we talking about? Fifty dollars a month, five hundred dollars a month, a one time fee?

No. It would be for you many thousands of dollars.


Yes, over an extended, extended field. So what would it actually look like? So, you are someone who, you know, may when people look you up on the web, people will find your content. Then people find content that is part of your cut and thrust kind of content. And actually kind of knowing you well enough to really guess, you kind of like that, you kind of Yes, my brain.

Yeah, iyou know, really not about your work, or about your point of view. Even if they didn’t, you know, not calling you, wrong and dumb. They’re just saying, that this is something about personally that they have exposed.


That might transgress. And, I don’t know why that would have to be the third or second or first thing that people see about you, when they, when they look you up, right? Because youintellectual, probably is what they’d call you now. And you want to be judged on the merits or the demerits of your opinion and you evidence, not how you live your life.

Well lets talk aboutthe bread and butter of your business, the non public person. The person who has to be online and may have a facebook is forcing them to be in the reputation economy. And when you google them, something comes up they don’t like. And they wost of our users use free products.

Let me tell you what they are. So, it, om Facebook. And, so you can post to your heart’s content. Nobody can ever see them, unless you permission them into the individual post or phofree , no credit card, nothing. You just use itlike this, thankfully. And we laun a delete button for Facebook, so that if you want every post you ever make to be encrypted even from your friends, one month or one year after you posted.

So that you don’t have any kind of detritus, or smoking gun behind you, for whatever reason. You can’t be judged, you can’t be evaluated. Your interactions can’t be put into a machine of tool that’s for you, you can go to our free engine at We set up free engines that allow on the webFree tools.

Then if you want to remove your personal information from databases and start to control what personal information is out there from different databases on the web. And also make sure that the mail that you receive at your house, the physical mails are the stuff you want to receive, and you want to block cookies that follow you around the web, you can use our privacy product, My Privacy, that very simply 80 bucks a year, 75 bucks a year depending on which landing page you go to.

We’ll block all that.

Is that the core of your business?

It ‘s probably the fastest selling product in our business. And then if you want to control your reputation, if you want to move from privacy to reputation, and then either establish a reputation on the internet for your professional life - which a lot of professional people do. Or you got a problem on the web and someone’s demeaning you or someone’s publishing new things that’s very personal about you that doesn’t belong on the internet or doesn’t belong to the – it’s the first or second thing that people see.

You don’t want that to define you. Then for between hundreds of dollars and thousands of dollars, we would push that stuff down the search engines so it’s just harder to find it. It doesn’t disappear. ut it no longer defines you because it’s not the first, second or third thing that you will see.

Athere is one component butrofile or

Source: Keen On… Michael Fertik: Why People Will Pay for Privacy (TCTV)

The Vatican Lauds Hackers

April 6th, 2011 04:23 admin View Comments


angry tapir writes “Internet hackers have acquired a dubious reputation for piracy, sabotage and the spilling of sensitive secrets, but an authoritative Vatican publication appears to rehabilitate them and traces parallels between hacker philosophy and the teachings of Christianity. The charitable view of hackers was expressed by the Jesuit priest Father Antonio Spadaro in an article for the fortnightly magazine Civilta Cattolica, the text of which is vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to publication. Hackers should not be confused with crackers, Spadaro wrote, citing a definition penned by technology writer Eric S. Raymond: “Hackers build things, crackers break them.”"

Source: The Vatican Lauds Hackers

Apple Asks Security Experts To Examine OS X Lion

February 27th, 2011 02:35 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “For as much as Mac OS X has a reputation for being safer than Windows, security researchers won’t hesitate to point out that the opposite is, in fact, true. But Apple’s looking to change that. This past Thursday, Apple doled out a beta of OS X Lion to developers. In conjunction with that, Apple is also reaching out to noted security experts and offering them free previews of OS X 10.7 so that they can take a look at Apple’s new security measures and reach back to Apple with any thoughts and concerns they might have. Indeed, Apple is becoming a lot more security conscious these days, not only in terms of reaching out to security researchers but also in its personnel hires.”

Source: Apple Asks Security Experts To Examine OS X Lion