By now, we’ve all become far too familiar with the use of mugshots for entertainment. As a result, many of us don’t even blink an eye when we see articles like this one in the Huffington Post that contains so-called “unforgettable” mugshots. People are arrested and we all laugh at them. It seems to be an unfortunate part of the American experience. However, mugshots are designed to do much, much more. Perhaps if they weren’t used for entertainment, they could be utilized a little more effectively.

A mugshot is designed to provide a photographic record of a person who is accused of a crime. That’s all the images really are. When someone is arrested, they’re photographed. It doesn’t mean the person is guilty, and it doesn’t even mean the case is closed. It just means that a person is arrested. However, from time to time, people who are arrested are accused of doing something else that might be illegal, and police might want to talk to these people again. When this happens, a mugshot can be incredibly helpful.

In Santa Cruz, California, for example, a man was wanted for questioning concerning 25 crimes, and since he’d been arrested in the past, the law enforcement officials had mugshots of the man. They released the photos to the news, hoping that people would call in with tips that could lead to the arrest of the man. However, the images also can help people to protect themselves. In the past, this accused man may have preyed on unlocked car doors and house doors. By releasing the photos, the police may hope to encourage people to look their doors when they see this man. In this case, the photos can keep people safe.

Mugshots can also be helpful in locating very dangerous people who could be anywhere in the world at the moment. For example, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the FBI is working on a sophisticated facial-recognition program that will utilize mugshots in order to find very dangerous criminals. With this software in place, a blurry image from a crowd could be compared to thousands and thousands of mugshots, and within an instant, a law enforcement official could have the name and prior address of a suspect accused of a crime. If this system had been in place in Boston, for example, law enforcement officials could have found the names and addresses of the bombers without asking for the public’s help. Perhaps this would have been advantageous.

In both of these cases, the mugshots provide very vital help for law enforcement officials. But the case could be made that mugshot sites are making these steps just a little harder to accomplish.

People who look at mugshot websites all day long may develop a form of visual fatigue. They’ve seen too many photos of arrested people too many times, and they may not be able to remember the details of dangerous faces law enforcement officials want to talk to. Similarly, if these viewers equate mugshots with humor, they may not take the threats of criminals very seriously. If they didn’t see mugshots as often, perhaps they’d remember details better and treat the images more seriously when they did see them.

It’s also quite possible that law enforcement agencies are becoming more and more leery of even sharing mugshots in the first place. That’s what seems to be happening in Salt Lake City, for example, as the City Council attempts to deal with bulk requests from mugshot site administrators for photographs. The Council is now asking the mugshot site to provide written requests for all photographs. If other cities follow suit, mugshots could be harder to obtain, and perhaps it might be harder for journalists and other citizens to release photos when public safety issues are on the line.

We think it’s time that mugshots move from the realm of entertainment back into the hands of law enforcement. But in the interim, we’re here to help you if you’ve been arrested. We can provide immediate removal of any mugshot from any website within mere minutes, and our work is guaranteed. Visit www.internetreputation.com to find out more.

Experts interviewed by Newsweek suggest that a primary care doctor should be responsible for about 1,800 clients. In reality, these experts suggest, the average doctor in the United States is responsible for about 2,300 patients. Some even have 3,000 people to care for. In an environment like this, a doctor might only have 10 to 15 minutes to spend with each client, and any spare time might be spent filling out forms, ordering supplies or just trying to relax. Few doctors like this would want to spend one iota of their spare time looking over their online reputation. But a book released in April of 2013 encourages them to do just that.

 

The book, “Establishing, Managing and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices” contains lots of juicy bits of data for doctors to ponder. The authors suggest, for example, that many clients find their doctors by using social media, and the book suggests that doctors who don’t monitor their own reputations could be facing hidden landmines that could ruin their chances of success. For example, the authors give the example of a doctor who, unknowingly, had the same name as a doctor who was accused of blinding patients. Once this innocent doctor found out about her doppelganger, she chose to work under a nickname, possibly sparing her clients confusion.

 

This book has been widely covered by media outlets, including the Huffington Post, and it’s likely made doctors begin to think just a little bit about monitoring their online reputations. Some might do so because they’d like to maintain a good standing in the communities in which they live. Others might want to maintain a good reputation in order to land a position at a prestigious hospital. According to an article in Business News Daily, private-practice employment for these professionals has dropped from a 57 percent level in 2000 to a level of 29 percent in 2012. Doctors who want to make a switch like this will need stellar reputations, so employers will be compelled to take a chance on them and give them the lucrative spot they desire. A poor reputation could allow the facility to consider the doctor a risk, and an employment offer might be slow to follow.

 

Just because doctors are thinking about reputation management doesn’t mean they have time to follow through. The time constraints on doctors are very real, and the problems doctors face with short appointment times and little spare time aren’t likely to go away anytime soon. All of the books and encouragement in the world won’t change the facts on the ground. As a result, doctors might need to hire experts in order to repair their reputations. A professional company can help to spot erroneous articles, damaging Tweets, ruinous photos and more. All of those pieces can be deleted, and then teams can work to replace that missing data with positive information, highlighting the person’s professionalism and skill. It’s a comprehensive approach and it works. Visit www.internetreputation.com to find out more.

In January of 2013, a widely known computer activist responsible for the creation of well-known sites like Reddit was found dead in his New York apartment, the result of an apparent suicide. At the time of Aaron Swartz’s death, he was under indictment by federal agents, and while charges were pending and many things may have happened during the trial, the New York Times reports that the man could have faced up to $1 million in fines and up to 35 years in prison.

In an extensive profile in The New Yorker, friends of Swartz theorize that his long-term struggle with health conditions could have led to his suicide, and perhaps he was always just a little sensitive and just a little fragile, so perhaps the suicide wasn’t really a surprise and wasn’t really due to any exterior trigger at all. However, the death came as a shock to the online community, as Swartz was well-loved and well-followed, and his case was an ongoing source of interest to people who were concerned about internet privacy. In the months following his death, those conversations have reached a fever pitch.

Swartz came to the attention of law enforcement officials in 2008, when he downloaded a number of documents from governmental sites. According to Ars Technica, it’s unclear what Swartz planned to do with the documents. The government claimed that he wanted to share them online, but the same document from the government also acknowledges that Swartz surrendered the documents and made a commitment not to share them at all. It’s possible he just took them down to prove that he could, in some kind of strange form of protest.

Swartz had long been heralded as a free-speech nut, and the New York Times went so far as to call him an “open-access advocate.” He felt that documents made by the government should be open to the public, and that those documents should be free for everyone to see. As a result of this stance, he’s become a favorite of mugshot websites administrators, who want to piggyback on Swartz’s popularity and claim that they, too, are fighting for governmental transparency. For example, Mugshots.com has written two separate blogs (here and here) about Swartz, claiming that open access laws could keep more people like him from dying, and (presumably) keep them in business at the same time.

The case of Aaron Swartz isn’t so simple, however, and it’s a bit unlikely that he would find the work of a mugshot website to be in the same league as the activist work he had performed. Swartz was looking for ways to release public documents about research, innovation and budgets; that much is true. But he was also an advocate of stringent privacy laws for computer users. One of his companies, Demand Progress, for example, has crafted a petition demanding that the Commerce Secretary stop looking for ways to create virtual ID cards for internet users. The petition states, in part, “… They could pose a severe threat to our privacy! … You need to make sure the program maintains internet users’ rights to privacy and anonymity.” If Swartz was really an advocate for privacy, it’s unlikely that he’d support a public smear campaign via a mugshot website.

Additionally Swartz seemed very concerned about money-making ventures on the internet. He wanted information to be free and accessible, and he fought against companies that charged for services. Since mugshot websites require people to pay fees before their photos are removed, it’s unlikely Swartz would have supported their work.

Mugshots were devised for a simple purpose: to assist law enforcement investigators with their case. Mugshots could be shown to potential witnesses as a way to determine if someone was involved in a criminal activity. It is conceivable to suggest that the early proponents of mugshot photography would be shocked and appalled by the longevity of today’s mugshot. It is especially interesting to note that many in the judicial system found the mugshot format of a frontal and side view of the accused to be prejudicial because of the similarities to “Most Wanted” posters. Some clearly felt that the mugshot was linked to guilt on the part of the accused. How ironic that some of those early concerns would be echoed today.

Historically, mugshots were never intended to extend beyond the life of a case. A mugshot was to be used in the early part of a legal trial. If you were found innocent the need for the mugshot was zero. If you were found guilty you would do your time and return to society rehabilitated. Historically, only the most notorious criminals had their mugshots shown in the press, for public consumption. In today’s society a mugshot seems to be the part of due process that never ends. Regardless of the outcome of your case, the mugshot remains.

There is hope and help if you find that your mugshot is defining you online. http://www.mugshotremovalcompany.com is a resource for individuals who want and need to move forward in their lives. For people who want to put the past in the past http://www.mugshotremovalcompany.com is ready to help. Your mugshot should not be synonymous with your name. Your name and your mugshot were never intended to be intertwined forever let us help sever the two and let you move into the future unencumbered.

It seems that Facebook is an all-around employment machine, with the uncanny ability to help people lose their jobs and find new ones mere moments later. Don’t believe us? Check out a few stories we’ve found on the Internet this week.

 

First up, an Irish man who worked in airport security. According to news reports, when this poor chap spotted a famous singer, he did what any devoted fan would do: He asked her to pose for a photograph with him, and he posted said photograph on his personal Facebook page. Unfortunately, this man seems to have a rowdy bunch of friends who don’t agree with his taste in music. When these chaps saw the photo, they started writing a series of nasty comments beneath the photo in question, and the celeb’s friends jumped to her defense. When the airport caught wind of this issue, the man lost his job.

 

Stories like this could make people think about jettisoning their Facebook friends for good. After all, if yammer from buddies can cost you your job, what’s the use of even having friends, right? A study recently conducted by Facebook suggests that those same people who can cost you your job can help you find another one.

 

Here, researchers looked at 3,358 Facebook users from all around the world, 5 percent of whom had recently lost their jobs. Researchers found that those who talked more with “close friends” on the site during their job search were more likely to get new jobs, when compared to people who just chatted with people they didn’t feel particularly close to. Essentially, this study suggests that people who talk a lot to people they’re close to tend to share their skills, their worries and their hopes, and their friends are compelled to help them network and find new positions.

 

We find stories like this to be fascinating. The idea that sharing could cost you a job, as well as getting you a job, seems a little counterintuitive, but that seems to be the case in our wired, weird world. As privacy experts, we would caution our readers to remember that not all sharing is created equal. In general, it’s best to lock down Facebook preferences so only friends can see your information and your bosses cannot. If our airport worker had done that, perhaps he wouldn’t need to lean on his friends to help him find a new job, as his bosses may have never seen his photo in the first place. It’s important to remember, however, that Facebook often contains tiny glitches that can keep information that seems private firmly in the hands of the public.

 

Two students from Texas might know this all too well. According to the Wall Street Journal, these two students had very private, locked-down Facebook accounts that allowed them to mask their sexual preferences from their parents, but when they joined a gay choir and were added to a mailing list that was public, these students saw that wall of privacy come tumbling down. Both were outed by Facebook, and they are even now dealing with the aftermath. Sometimes, even privacy settings aren’t enough to really protect privacy.

 

If Facebook has you baffled and the things you’ve said in private have become very public disasters, please contact us. We can help you to undo the damage and get your life back on track once more.

In 2012, a writer created an article for Woman’s Day, discussing the real estate market and the professionals that match buyers and sellers. The writer credited her sources, used appropriate keywords, dotted the piece with subheadings and otherwise did her job quite well. Unfortunately, when the story was published, it caught the attention of the sorts of real estate professionals who were mentioned in the article, and they used the comments section to fight back. Within just a few weeks, over 30 comments piled up at the end of this story, and most of them were unflattering. In fact, one reader went so far as to claim that the writer wasn’t even qualified to write anything at all, since she was “just” a freelance writer and therefore wasn’t held to any sort of professional standard.

Ouch.

Comments like this might be easy enough for writers to ignore, as they’re often filled with spelling errors, grammar mistakes and logic gaps. It’s clear, in other words, that many of these people just aren’t writers. The comments might not be influential for the writer, as a result, but the insults could be influential for other readers, and this could have a dampening impact on the writer’s reputation.

In a study of online comments in the journal Public Relations Review, researchers found that negative comments and the number of comments had a significant impact on reader’s perceptions of the company discussed in those comments. If these comments had all been about the writer of the article, rather than the products and services of a company, it might be easy to see how reputation damage could flow from a firestorm of comments. Readers get mad, they go on the attack, attacks spawn new attacks, and readers feel the writer can’t be trusted. Future employers might think the same thing.

Cleaning up negative comments isn’t always easy, as laws protect the sites that host this information. Specifically, one Internet law states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer system shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In essence, companies that publish insults from readers aren’t responsible for that reputation damage, and they might not be willing to play ball as a result. If the idea is to draw in readers, after all, a tasty little debate in the comments section works just as well as an accurate article full of appropriate keywords. Both draw in readers, but only one does reputation damage.

This doesn’t mean that writers can’t fight back when reputation damage takes place. Some websites have specific rules regarding user comments and damaging information, and these rules can spur companies to remove nasty comments when they arise. We work with lawyers on cases like this each and every day, and we know just what to do when something like this happens. We’d like to help you, too. Please contact us to find out more.

The blogosphere is alive with articles decrying the Angie’s List business model. An article on Technorati, for example, claims that Angie’s List hasn’t made a profit for 17 years, and that the fees the site charges work in such a complicated way that competitors can buy one another off, circumventing the value of the site. Another blogger wrote a scathing article entitled “6 Reasons Why Angie’s List Sucks,” claiming that the site charges people to write reviews, and therefore, people who write reviews must somehow be suspect. The idea here is that the only people who would pay to write a review would be employees of the company being reviewed, as they’d be the only ones who stand to profit from the boost the company got from a positive review. Even an investment blog took a shot, claiming that Angie’s List earns revenues from both reviewers and from companies, and therefore, their information is inherently less valuable. Once consumers understand that they are paying to look at advertising, the article suggests, they’ll leave the site.

 

Reading through articles like this could give companies a false sense of confidence. After all, if so much negative information exists about Angie’s List, perhaps negative reviews don’t really matter, and perhaps they’re not worth fighting. It’s a reasonable assumption, but unfortunately, it’s not quite accurate.

 

A slew of negative reviews, no matter where they might be located, can make a company seem dishonest, unattractive or just unappealing. When shoppers are given a choice between a company with high reviews and a company with low scores, the smart shopper would choose the highly rated company, no matter where those reviews are placed. It’s worth repeating that a contractor who had a poor review placed on both Angie’s List and Yelp sued for damages of $700,000. This is pretty far from chump change, and it’s not an amount most businesses keep in petty cash. If a poor review could lead to this kind of loss, it’s worth addressing.

 

Site administrators at Angie’s List suggest that negative reviews are a fact of life, and that they should be addressed rather than ignored. Direct responses, altered services and the like are often touted as an appropriate response to a negative review. At InternetReputation.com, we take a stronger view. We feel that reviews like this are often generated on a fraudulent basis and they can be deleted if they violate the sites’ written agreements. There’s no reason to bargain with people who lie, and there’s no need to change services if they’ve pleased other people. We’ve successfully deleted negative reviews in the past, and we can certainly help you. Visit www.internetreputation.com to find out more.