How I got my start in online reputation management

“A story of a drunken street fight involving a knife and how it ruined my online reputation for close to a decade”

I was involved in a fight in 2008 when I was 19 years old. The cliff notes version of it was that my two friends and I were walking past a house full of football players late at night at a college campus. There was a party going on and, completely out of nowhere, some of the guys outside started yelling some off-color remarks at us. We stood our ground and the next thing we knew we were in a 10 on 3 fight.

I was on the ground being kicked and punched in the body and the head. Fearing the worst, I remembered I had a knife on me and I decided to pull it out – only to create distance and to get back to my feet. One guy got slashed on the arm and once everyone saw that I had a knife, I got back to my feet and they all backed off.

I was arrested that night for threatening the football players with the knife. However once all of the details got aired out after the fact, the entire case was dismissed. No trial, no plea bargain – the charges were thrown out altogether because of self defense.

I thought I was home free but I couldn’t have been more wrong. If anyone did a Google search of my name, pretty much the entire first page was filled with wild stories about me being a knife wielding maniac. Even though there was nothing on my criminal record and I had never been in trouble before or since that incident, I was still turned down from more than one job because of my Google search results.

My Google search results stayed the same for nearly 8 years. I always assumed that the articles would go away organically but of course that never happened. So I decided to do something about it. I studied everything I could get my hands on about search engine optimization and started putting those methods into practice.

Today, the entire first page of the search results for “Brendan Vraibel” are clear of any negative articles. I’ve had 3 articles pushed back to the 4th page of the results and beyond. I’ve had another 3 completely removed from the search results.

Since that time I’ve been helping businesses clean up their online reputation using the same techniques that helped restore my personal image. I know firsthand how damaging negative reports can be and I’ve had experience helping businesses of all kinds get rid of every type of negative report imaginable.

You might wonder why I chose to volunteer such an unflattering story about myself. For one, I do believe in 100% transparency in business and in life. Secondly, I think it’s important to show that these results are possible for any person or business who is in a situation like I was in.

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