Before I begin, I want to be perfectly clear that I appreciate Google for it’s recent efforts to integrate blog comments into search results. It is both interesting and not something that can be perfected quickly.
However, I’d like to illustrate fully an example of where this is a concern for me and others whom may not even know about it until it creates a problem. This issue revolves around blog comments not made by an individual that show up in the description fields when Googling one’s name. Please review the following example web page that explains the ‘Google Reputation Management Issue’ before reading further. It’s important that you visualize what I’m saying both proceeding.
These days, it is now common practice for people to search for information about individuals on a search engine before a business discussion or a job interview. Due to the nature of these searches and the types of important decisions being made off of them, it is critical that they be accurate. If it isn’t, miscommunication or even disaster can strike. Due to this search engines have an ethical responsibility to present search results that are an accurate presentation of reality.
Let’s examine my case, on May 16th, I posted a comment in response to Josh Kopelman’s Blog entry regarding “53,651″. The following is what I posted in response to his post: “Great post that reminds us of the importance of true customers and looking past your inner circle.” (please see screen shot on other web page)
However, the Google description tag reads: “Posted by: David Dalka | May 16m 2006 at 11:29AM. Hey Josh, you said it! As one of your first investors in Infonautics wasn’t that the pre-www? …” (please see screen shot on other web page)
At present, I’m neither a investor of this level nor a millionaire. What if someone did not click through to read the real web page? Would they have likely formed the impression that I was an investor in Infonautics? The possibility certainly exists. Where this would be a larger concern is if the post after mine was not professional or even worse contained hate or spam links to porn sites. This would not be good.
So I’d like to please ask all web companies, not just Google, to take extra care in the future before putting releases in the live environment that could affect an individual’s reputation due to inaccurate presentation. Stated another way, “beta software” usage which only hinders an individual is OK, while the public release of “beta results” is discouraged as it can cause significant reputation damage. Thank you for your attention and support of this important issue and making the Internet a more accurate place.