Posts By: Curator
Twitter has become the social media tool of the twenty-first century. Thanks to the rapidity with which news can spread, directness with which favorites celebrities can be addressed, and ease…
The post Guide to Online Reputation Repair Using Twitter SEO appeared first on Massive Brand PR.
Source: Massive Alliance
The PeopleFinders opt out process is not as simple as it looks.
We understand that if you’re someone who doesn’t want to be found on background check sites like PeopleFinders.com, learning how to opt out is very important.
But most people simply follow the opt out process on PeopleFinders.com and call it a day.
However, it’s crucial to understand how the site operates and acquires your information if you want to achieve your overall goal (keeping your personal information private).
Doing this will help you understand how to protect your information now, as well as keep things private in the future.
Whether you bristle at the thought of a stranger knowing your email address, or simply want to hide select information, taking control of the information displayed on sites like PeopleFinders.com is a great place to start.
What exactly are you opting out of?
Before you go through the PeopleFinders opt out process, let’s first talk about what the site actually is and how it operates.
According to the site, PeopleFinders is a top “Data-as-a-Service (“DaaS”) provider for consumers and businesses seeking detailed insights on people, places and things in the United States.”
Apparently, PeopleFinders is one of the largest owners of public records in the US with information on nearly every adult in the country. The company essentially acts as a database by aggregating information through, “unique access to other unique data sources”.
While the site doesn’t go into much detail about the channels that PeopleFinders accesses in order to gather data about those in its vast database, one can surmise that it’s a combination of public records, publicly accessible information from different social media platforms, and more.
This process is shared by a lot of personal information aggregation websites, which we have dealt with frequently as well. Most of them share a lot of the same tricks when it comes to finding information.
So what’s the point of Peoplefinders.com and sites like it? Those in favor of sites like Peoplefinders.com say they can be a great tool to provide some initial research into a person.
Whether you are looking to hire an employee and want to make sure that their resume is accurate, or verify that your parent’s care-taker is who they claim to be, background checks can be helpful.
However, many more think that these sort of sites go too far in what they make available. Not only is the amount of information concerning, but the ease that it can be accessed.
It’s also important to keep in mind that these sites (particularly the more DIY versions like Peoplefinders) aren’t always accurate. This is one more reason to go through the PeopleFinders.com opt out steps.
A common question
Issues with PeopleFinders.com are not uncommon. While most people wonder how this site gets their information in the first place (answered above), many others want to know if this is even legal.
Unfortunately for you, yes it’s legal. Unless the information is obtained using illegal methods, site like PeopleFinders can operate free and clear of legal backlash.
If you’re someone who values their privacy significantly, this obviously isn’t what you want to hear. The best thing you can do is learn the game. Understand the entire PeopleFinders opt out process, and how you can protect your information better in the future.
There are limits to what these sites can do legally. All of them have to honor your opt out request. Take advantage of this and use some other simple tricks (covered below) to make sure you don’t have to worry about this sort of thing anymore.
The PeopleFinders opt out process – step by step
Peoplefinders.com gives users the ability to block their records from showing up in the databases that they control by choosing to “opt out”. However, this feature does not include blocking information from third party databases.
After clicking the link above, enter your information and find the current listing for your name. Once you find the correct entry associated with your name, click that entry then choose “opt out my info”. From here you will type in your email address to verify your identity, and complete peoplefinders opt out process.
There is one big caveat to be aware of with this process. While submitting this opt out request won’t remove your information from third party sources, it will likely block what people will see associated with your name when this site comes up as a search result.
However, to really prevent people from seeing this kind of personal information from sites like PeopleFinders.com, you need to come up with a long-term strategy.
The most effective strategy by far is one that focuses on building up your online presence to ultimately suppress those results that you don’t want people to find.
The most effective strategy
Let’s talk about why simply going through the PeopleFinders.com opt out process is not enough, and why some additional effort is needed.
Today, everyone gets Googled. As a matter of fact, over a billion names get Googled every single day! So, when search results that share private or unflattering information start appearing when your name is searched, it’s time to take action – because someone is definitely going to see it.
Unfortunately, your options for recourse are limited.
In the case of dealing with an entry on PeopleFinders.com, you do have the option of petitioning the website to block your information through their “opt out” feature. However, this doesn’t mean that other sites similar in mission won’t share this same private information in the future.
Remember earlier when we said a lot of these sites use the same strategies? Well, if PeopleFinders.com got your information, there’s a good chance another site will too.
That’s why after completing the PeopleFinders opt out request, it’s important to get started on the most effective long-term solution to this problem.
The great thing is that this process doesn’t have to be time-consuming.
How to do it
Once you’ve gone through the PeopleFinders opt out process, we recommend you follow a specific process to keep your information from being seen in the future.
The first thing we do is encourage people to build out their personal brand following SEO best practices. We take great pains to thoroughly explain each step in detail, so that you understand how to do it and why each step is important.
From a high level, the basic principles revolve around these three steps: scan, build, and monitor.
While we already know that one search result is your entry on PeopleFinders.com, do you know what else is out there? As we discussed before, there are many other sites like PeopleFinders that you need to be aware of, and scanning for them is how you do this.
To properly scan, you can manually type in your name to Google (or another search engine) to see what the top results are for your name. Make sure to search incognito as your results will be slightly biased based on your search history and open accounts.
Make note of rankings for pages that are important to you. If you want, you can streamline the scanning process by automatically pulling your results and tracking them with our free DIY tool.
This will help you stay aware of site similar to PeopleFinders if they start to rank highly, or show up anywhere in your search results.
To build an online presence that shares accomplishments and information about you that you want others to see, start by creating (or optimizing existing) professional profiles on what we have found to be the strongest social media platforms.
This will help you outrank and suppress any listings from sites like PeopleFinders.com so your information isn’t seen while you go through the opt-out process. Again, our free DIY tool shows you the best steps to take when creating social media accounts that you want people to find when they look for you online.
In addition to these profiles, it’s also a great idea to create a website for yourself. The whole reason why you need to request an opt out from PeopleFinders is because you aren’t in control of the information.
With your own sites and properties, you get that control back.
Take all of the steps necessary to give your sites and profiles the best opportunity to rise in the search result rankings. Building and optimizing profiles and sites that you control is important, but it’s a process that takes time.
If you want to get the full effect from this strategy, be prepared to continue updating these properties and even building new ones regularly. This part of the process is huge for dealing with sites like PeopleFinders that you don’t want others to see when they look you up online.
Once you’ve built your initial foundation, you must commit to monitoring your presence regularly. Staying on top of this will help you protect yourself from unwanted information listings and give you the ability to opt-out of sites like PeopleFinders.com immediately once they show up.
Also, once you have created your your profiles and website you want to keep an eye on them to make sure they are ranking well. Unfortunately, manually monitoring everything can become quite time consuming.
This is why we highly recommend using our free DIY tool to help you monitor what search results are coming up for your name.
If a site like PeopleFinders.com shows up you will be notified quickly so you can opt out and protect your information.
The newest feature in our DIY tool (the social scanner) also lets you monitor your Facebook and Twitter accounts for any posts that you’ve made that can be polarizing or offensive.
Whether you choose to use BrandYourself’s services or not, find whatever method works best for you to keep track of how your properties are ranking, what others are posting on your sites, and how frequently you are posting high quality content.
The value in being proactive
While the main goal of this post is to show you the best path when going through the PeopleFinders opt out process, we hope we made it clear how important it is to be proactive.
We recommend that you learn more about how to control your online reputation and the implications it can have on all facets of your life.
If you want some help making sure everything stays private, make sure you check out our free DIY tool. It will give you everything you need to stay on top of PeopleFinders.com and sites like it. Freeing up time and using the features available means you won’t have to rely on the PeopleFinders.com opt out process entirely.
Discovering that (seemingly) personal information is publicly available about you online is not the end of the world – even if it feels like it is. Start by using the PeopleFinders opt out method, and then get on top of things so you don’t have to play catch-up in the future!
Posted by Tom.Capper
Normally, as SEOs, we follow a deceptively simple process. We identify how people are searching for our product, then we build or optimize pages or websites to match searcher intent, we make sure Google can find, understand, and trust it, and we wait for the waves of delicious traffic to roll in.
It’s not always that simple, though. What if we have the right pages, but just can’t rank any higher? What if we’re already satisfying all of the search volume that’s relevant to our product, but the business demands growth? What if there is no search volume relevant to our product?
What would you do, for example, if you were asked to increase organic traffic to the books section on Amazon? Or property search traffic to Rightmove (UK) or Zillow (US)? Or Netflix, before anyone knew that true online streaming services existed?
In this post, I’m going to briefly outline four simple tactics for building your relevant organic traffic by increasing the overall size of the market, rather than by trying to rank higher. And none of them require building a single link, or making any changes to your existing pages.
1. Conquer neighboring territories
This is a business tactic as well as an SEO one, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for reasonably uncompetitive verticals adjacent to your own. You have an advantage in these, because you already have a brand, a strong domain, a website to build upon, and so forth. New startups trying to make headway in these spaces will struggle to compete with a fairly low-effort execution on your part, if you judge it well.
Start by ideating related products. For example, if you’re a property listings site, you might look at:
- Home insurance
- Home valuation
- Flat-sharing listings
- Area guides
Once you’ve outlined your list (it’s probably longer than my example), you can do your basic keyword research, and take a look at the existing ranking pages. This is a bit like identifying keyword opportunities, except you’re looking at the core landing pages of a whole vertical — look at their Domain Authorities, their branded search volumes, the quality of their landing pages, the extent to which they’ve done basic SEO, and ask whether you could do better.
In the example above, you might find that home insurance is well served by fairly strong financial services or comparison sites, but flat-sharing is a weak vertical dominated by a few fairly young and poorly executed sites. That’s your opportunity.
To minimize your risk, you can start with a minimal viable version — perhaps just a single landing page or a white-labeled product. If it does well, you know it merits further investment.
You’ve already established a trusted brand, with a strong website, which users are already engaging in — if you can extend your services and provide good user experiences in other areas, you can beat other, smaller brands in those spaces.
2. Welcome the intimidated
Depending on your vertical, there may be an untapped opportunity among potential customers who don’t understand or feel comfortable with the product. For example, if you sell laptops, many potential customers may be wary of buying a laptop online or without professional advice. This might cause them not to buy, or to buy a cheaper product to reduce the riskiness.
A “best laptops under £500,” or “lightest laptops,” or “best laptops for gaming” page could encourage people to spend more, or to buy online when they might otherwise have bought in a store. Pages like this can be simple feature comparisons, or semi-editorial, but it’s important that they don’t feel like a sales or up-sell function (even though that’s what the “expert” in the store would be!).
This is even more pertinent the more potentially research intensive the purchase is. For example, Crucial have done amazingly for years with their “system scanner,” linked to prominently on their homepage, which identifies potential upgrades and gives less savvy users confidence in their purchase.
If this seems like too much effort, the outdoor retailer Snow and Rock don’t have the best website in the world, but they have taken a simpler approach in linking to buying guides from certain product pages — for example, this guide on how to pick a pair of walking boots.
Can you spot scenarios where users abandon in your funnels because of fear or complexity, or where they shift their spend to offline competitors? If you can make them feel safe and supported, you might be able to change their buying behavior.
3. Whip up some fervor
At the opposite end of the spectrum, you have enthusiasts who know your vertical like the back of their hand, but could be incited to treat themselves a little more. I’ve been really impressed recently by a couple of American automotive listings sites doing this really well.
The first is Autotrader.com, who have hired well-known automotive columnist Doug Demuro from Jalopnik.com to produce videos and articles for their enthusiast news section. These articles and videos talk about the nerdy quirks of some of the most obscure and interesting used cars that have been listed on the site, and it’s not uncommon for videos on Doug’s YouTube channel — which mention Autotrader.com and feature cars you could buy on Autotrader.com — to get well into 7-figure viewing counts.
These are essentially adverts for Autotrader.com’s products, but I and hundreds of thousands of others watch them religiously. What’s more, the resulting videos and articles stand to rank for the types of queries that curious enthusiasts may search for, turning informational queries into buying intent, as well as building brand awareness. I actually think Autotrader.com could do even better at this with a little SEO 101 (editorial titles don’t need to be your actual title tag, guys), but it’s already a great tactic.
Another similar site doing this really well is Bringatrailer.com. Their approach is really simple — whenever they get a particularly rare or interesting car listed, they post it on Facebook.
These are super low-effort posts about used cars, but if you take a step back, Bring a Trailer are doing something outrageous. They’re posting links to their product pages on Facebook a dozen or more times a day, and getting 3-figure reaction counts. Some of the lesson here is “have great product pages,” or “exist in an enthusiast-rich vertical,” and I realize that this tactic isn’t strictly SEO. But it is doing a lot of things that we as SEOs try to do (build awareness, search volume, links…), and it’s doing so by successfully matching informational or entertainment intents with transactional pages.
When consumers engage with a brand emotionally or even socially, then you’re more likely to be top-of-mind when they’re ready to purchase — but they’re also more likely to purchase if they’re seeing and thinking about your products, services, and sector in their feed.
4. Tell people your vertical exists
I won’t cover this one in too much detail, because there’s already an excellent Whiteboard Friday on the subject. The key point, however, is that sometimes it’s not just that customers are intimidated by your product. They may never have heard of it. In these cases, you need to appear where they’re looking using demographic targeting, carefully researched editorial sections, or branded content.
What about you, though?
How do you go about drumming up demand in your vertical? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
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In terms of legal doctrine, this case is virtually identical to the Cross v. Facebook case I recently blogged. In both cases, the plaintiff sued Facebook for not removing user posts. In both cases, Facebook won an anti-SLAPP motion (CA in Cross, TX in La’Tiejira) predicated on Section 230 and the plaintiff will be writing a check to Facebook. If you’re a Section 230 aficionado, this opinion is especially worth reading (despite its prolixity) because (1) it will be published in FSupp3d, and (2) it’s filled with lots of positive judicial statements about Section 230, its breadth, etc.
The plaintiff, Paree La’Tiejira, a/k/a “Lady Paree,” has been an adult entertainer. Apparently people have questioned her birth gender in the past. On La’Tiejira’s Facebook page, a Facebook user posted a comment accusing her of having been born male and saying some not-nice things. La’Tiejira said she complained to Facebook (though it’s unclear if she reported it through the right channels) and Facebook didn’t remove the comment for 6 months. The factual predicate sets up an easy Section 230 case.
To qualify for anti-SLAPP protection, Facebook had to establish that the case involved a matter of public concern. The court says: “The “communications” were also made “in connection with a matter of public concern” because communications about ‘public figures’ are matters of public concern. As noted, La’Tiejira considered herself a public figure based on her profession as an actress in the adult entertainment field who made substantial money in signings, photographs, club appearances dancing, adult video store appearances.”
On the merits, Facebook qualifies for Section 230 protection:
2) Facebook qualifies as a publisher/speaker because “all of La’Tiejira’s claims seek to hold the Facebook Defendants liable for decisions about the monitoring, screening, and deletion of user-generated content.”
3) The content came from a third party source because “offensive messages in dispute were allegedly authored by third-party Kyle Anders.” The fact that La’Tiejira allegedly notified Facebook of the offending post, and Facebook only took action months later, is immaterial to the immunity. Cites to Lycos and Dirty World.
La’Tiejira raised some unusual challenges to Section 230 that the court quickly rejects, including allegations of due process, full faith and credit, and access to courts violations.
Texas’ anti-SLAPP law has a mandatory attorneys’ fee provision, so the plaintiff will be paying a big bill for Facebook’s attorneys’ fees.
Case citation: La’Tiejira v. Facebook, Inc., 2017 WL 3426039 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 7, 2017)
Source: Eric Goldman Legal
The print-on-demand business is a legally risky one. As I recently blogged, in June a court ruled that Zazzle did not qualify for the DMCA 512 safe harbor. This ruling is even more troubling. Are the days of print-on-demand services numbered, at least any that try to operate without human prescreening of all user uploads?
SunFrog prints user-uploaded designs on T-shirts and other merchandise. Users uploaded Harley-Davidson logos to produce what Harley considered counterfeit T-shirts. The case doesn’t mention if users uploaded any parodic versions of the logos, though the court’s ruling does not distinguish between counterfeits and parodies. (Paging Rebecca Tushnet, who has shown through FOIA requests that our own government can’t make that distinction either). SunFrog claimed it took a number of steps to protect Harley’s marks, but apparently these steps did not satisfy Harley.
The court doesn’t mention Tiffany v. eBay at all. Instead, the court easily finds that Harley qualifies for a preliminary injunction:
- “Because SunFrog sells numerous products bearing marks identical to or materially indistinguishable from Harley-Davidson’s registered (and largely incontestable) marks, Harley-Davidson has established a likelihood that consumers, viewing SunFrog’s products in the marketplace, would be confused as to their source, affiliation, or sponsorship.”
- “Harley-Davidson presents a fairly straightforward case of counterfeiting against an online marketplace. Stopping this conduct will serve both to protect HarleyDavidson’s interest in its consumer goodwill and vindicate the public’s interest in avoiding deception as to the source or sponsorship of the goods they purchase.”
In defining the injunction’s scope, the court consulted the archaic and mockably wrong Promatek v. Equitrac opinion (a case I still teach in Internet Law because the mocking payoffs are so pedagogically powerful), saying:
consumers would likely experience initial-interest confusion upon seeing a SunFrog URL containing Harley-Davidson’s marks, wherever they may be located within the URL. Those consumers would then be more likely to browse SunFrog’s offerings regardless of whether they realized that the products were not genuine Harley-Davidson goods.
Ugh. First, “initial interest confusion.” No. Just no. NEVER.
Second, this case runs directly contrary to other cases (including the cited a2z and Patmont cases) that have held a trademark in the post-domain URL path doesn’t constitute trademark infringement. To reach a contrary result, the court analogizes trademarks in post-domain URLs to metatags, even though post-domain trademark references share basically zero common technological attributes with keyword metatags–at all. Furthermore, as noted earlier, the court’s treatment doesn’t distinguish between counterfeits and parodies or criticism, so there could be circumstances where the Harley marks may be appropriate in the post-domain URL. The result is that the court introduces a conflict with the unbroken a2z/Patmont line of cases based on technological fictions. Blech.
In a footnote, the court discusses the “innocent infringer” limitation on remedies for publishers (15 USC 1114(2)). Mark Lemley has extolled the virtue of this provision, but I’ve always been skeptical that it has much utility at all. There is limited and not-encouraging caselaw interpreting it. 1114(2) only restricts past damages, not an injunction against future activity, so the court says the 1114(2) defense is irrelevant in this case without reaching the harder issue of whether SunFrog had the requisite “innocence.”
Among other restrictions, the injunction bans SunFrog from displaying/using certain Harley marks, the following logos, and any “confusingly similar” marks:
It also bans SunFrog from using the Harley marks in domain names and “keywords” (paging the FTC regarding the competitive effects of keyword restrictions). The injunction makes no allowances for parodies, criticism, other fair uses or other limitations on Harley’s trademark rights.
So how will SunFrog implement this injunction when processing user submissions? It can set up keyword filters on the word marks. Maybe it has the technology to auto-filter images from user uploads. But because the injunction extends to “confusingly similar” marks and logos, to me it seems like the only 100% effective way to implement the injunction would be manual prescreens of all user uploads.
>What implications does this ruling have for other print-on-demand or online marketplace websites? If the opinion is just an outlier, not much. But if this case presages a greater judicial intolerance for online marketplace facilitation of user “counterfeiting,” this ruling is bad, bad news for both industries.
* DMCA Safe Harbor Doesn’t Protect Zazzle’s Printing of Physical Items–Greg Young Publishing v. Zazzle
* Amazon Defeats Publicity Rights Lawsuit Over ‘A Gronking To Remember’ Book Cover
* CafePress May Not Qualify For 512 Safe Harbor – Gardner v. CafePress
* Cafepress Suffers Potentially Significant Trademark Loss for Users’ Uploaded Designs
* Life May Be “Rad,” But This Trademark Lawsuit Isn’t–Williams v. CafePress.com
* Griper Selling Anti-Walmart Items Through CafePress Doesn’t Infringe or Dilute–Smith v. Wal-Mart
* Print-on-Demand “Publisher” Isn’t Liable for Book Contents–Sandler v. Calcagni
* CaféPress Denied 230 Motion to Dismiss–Curran v. Amazon
Source: Eric Goldman Legal