Being proactive in managing your reputation online is one of the most important and crucial things being taught to big brands and companies that are receiving venture capital funding. Being even more proactive after a scandal is one of the most important lessons that any business small or big can take into consideration when looking to stay on top. As of late there have been a lot of hacking scandals, most notably in the last year with Bank of America suffering a DDOS attack, linkedin, last.fm, Yahoo, Evernote, and just last week daily deals application and website Livingsocial coming under attack.

Dangling Carrot
Dangling Carrot

Now a venture funded Reputation monitoring company Reputation.com has been hacked, compromising their clients data. In an email that by law was not required to be sent out to 49 out of 50 states that the company does business in. According to the email letter quoted below the personal information that was compromised in the Reputation.com hacking scandal is the names of their clients, email and physical addresses, phone numbers, date of birth, occupational information, and encrypted passwords.

“The personal information that was accessed included:

Names
Email and physical addresses
In some instances, phone numbers, dates of birth, and occupational information

Additionally, a list of highly encrypted (“salted” and “hashed”) user passwords for a small minority of our users was accessed. ”

Is it ironic that a profile protection company like reputation.com has now been hacked? Well with all the hype one gets from running national ads and taking pride in the privacy and protection of their clients makes them one gigantic target for hackers of all sorts. Until April 30th, 2013 it was a dangling carrot for hackers. So now we will share the best ways to be proactive with your reputation management in case of something bad ever happening:

  • Purchase your name online. Go to Name.com or Godaddy.com and purchase your name.com, .net. and .org It is a shame when somebody else owns your own name and you have to go through a legal battle to get it back it can be ugly and expensive.
  • Be proactive on social media. If you dont have your facebook profile yet then create one. Pinterest.com, Xing, Linkedin, and Soundcloud are all excellent websites to be socially active on and the search engines will praise you by promoting your account higher in the search results.
  • Set up google alerts or a similar tracking software that can alert you when you are talked about. This will help you to jump all over anything negative that happens right away before it spirals out of control
  • Learning how to suppress negative and unwanted content and consumer reviews before it happens. How is this done? You interact and engage with your clients and you do a good job for them thus nipping any problems in the butt before it occurs.
  • Create a Twitter account and be vocal with anybody who may be writing about you. Using the @screennameinsertedhere and letting them know on that they should contact you at whichever address you prefer moves the conversation from online and in the public eye to

One thing to note is that all of reputation.com’ clients information is already online and public so this data breach is not as serious as it may seem. They did a great job of being proactive and letting the public know that they did not have to inform them of the data breach but thought that it would be best to let the public know in full disclosure and that should be applauded for being proactive. Until the next hacking scandal remember be proactive and realize that nothing is unhackable.

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