Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Online Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier

Michael Fertik and David Thompson

American Management Association,  June 2010

The Internet is a new Wild West: a free-for-all of abundant opportunities and serious dangers where familiar rules don't apply. There is no law enforcement to stop anonymous cowards from defaming your character, few social conventions to prevent it, and no mechanism to get lies and smears removed from the Web. One disgruntled employee, unhinged customer, jealous competitor, or bitter ex can trash your reputation in just a few keystrokes -- leaving you to clean up the damage.

These online attacks have real repercussions. Every day, people search for your name on the Internet, and all too often trust the "Google Truth" -- the collection of search results selected by a computer for their popularity rather than their veracity -- to decide whether to do business with you, or even just associate with you.

The result? Gossip, lies, and embarrassing accusations are anonymously lobbed into cyberspace. Google makes these smears permanent and spreads them around the world. Real reputations and businesses are destroyed. Fortunately, you can protect and restore your hard-won reputation by following the simple steps outlined in Wild West 2.0. This ground breaking book explains why you are vulnerable to attack, and supplies proven strategies for building a storm-proof reputation. The book:

  • Draws intriguing parallels between the Internet's culture of expansion, speculation, and lawlessness and the gold rush mentality of the Old West frontier.
  • Uncovers hair-raising stories of attacks made under a cloak of anonymity.
  • Reveals new threats, including websites that broadcast your phone number, political contributions, family history, and more.
  • Provides tips for locating every reference to you or your business in blogs, forums, and social networking sites.
  • Supplies a plan to defend yourself now by preemptively creating layers of truthful online content.
  • Shares the professional secrets of reputation repair, ranging from quick fixes for minor problems to massive rebuilding after calculated attacks.

You may resist the idea -- you may even detest the idea -- but the reality is that your online image controls your success in "real world" business and personal life. Your online reputation is much more powerful and precarious than you ever imagined. Take control of it with Wild West 2.0.

hardcover | ISBN: 9780814415092 | Publication Date: June 2010

"An excellent guide to safeguarding reputation from the perils of the open, wild, and often rough-and-tumble Internet. Fertik and Thompson offer sage advice for how people can protect themselves against gossip, falsehoods, bullying, and other online threats."
--Daniel J. Solove, author of The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet

"The Internet does not forget. In an age of comprehensive digital memory, Wild West 2.0 offers not only first-rate analysis, but real-world practical tips on how to defend your reputation and survive the digital memory storm."
--Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, author of Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting

"Wild West 2.0 should be mandatory reading for businesses -- especially in these wild days of social media playing the role of Billy the Kid. Conducting business online without this book is like facing a gang of desperados with nothing but a cap gun. I recommend it highly to guerrilla marketers everywhere."
--Jay Conrad Levinson, the father of guerrilla marketing and author of the Guerrilla Marketing series of books

"The Internet is a fast, convenient source of false information. Read Wild West 2.0 to find out how to protect yourself."
--Gregg Easterbrook, author of Sonic Boom

"Wild West 2.0 is a wake-up call to parents everywhere. The Internet is our children's new playground, fraught with online bullies and attackers. Fertik and Thompson remind us that we need to supervise them on this new frontier, and provide tips on how to take action if our loved ones are harmed online. A must-read for anyone with a computer, an Internet connection, or a family to protect."
--Dr. Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

"Your business reputation and personal privacy are at risk in ways you never thought possible. Wild West 2.0 compellingly explains the risks and blind spots created by the 'social Internet,' and teaches individuals and businesses how to succeed in the new cyberworld."
--Drew Bartkiewicz, author of Unseen Liability; and vice president of Cyber, Technology, and New Media Risks at The Hartford

"Do you know what Google Truth or the Streisand Effect are? You will and you should. Read this book and prepare yourself for the trench warfare that is Wild West 2.0."
--Timothy Ferriss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek

"Michael Fertik and David Thompson have produced an invaluable guide for anyone who is concerned about their reputation in the brave new world of the Internet."
--Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia