If you were to run out into a busy street and remove all your clothing, you’d get attention fast. But it could wreck your reputation, especially online where it would likely soon go viral as people would get out their Web-enabled phone cameras.
Ah, but add a twist to the above action and it might actually serve as a way to improve a bad reputation.
How so? Let’s say you’ve got a friend, a client or even yourself who has done something really naughty that gets your name sprinkled all over the search engines with a bad rap. Not just a little embarrassing, but really bad – like maybe a conviction for drunk driving or securities fraud. Despicable behavior, for sure, but not deserving of a lifetime of bad karma that the Internet might deliver to you.
What should you do, therefore?
Well, combine nuttiness with a dose of bravery and add a twist of altruism, that’s what. Because, you see, you need to grab attention, which takes guts and extreme action, and then it must intentionally benefit someone, so that it doesn’t look useless and crazy.
A specific example of this guerrilla reputation management strategy (guerrilla ORM) is as follows.
Get a set of white underwear. Dye it flesh color (whatever lovely shade your skin may be). Drink 2 glasses of red wine (that’s where you’ll get the courage from). Enlist your friend to videotape you running down the street. Upload the video on YouTube and add a description that reads, “I was dared to walk naked down the street, which I agreed to do if it would support XYZ charity [a good and relevant one, for example, would benefit skin cancer research]. If I made you laugh while watching this video of me, please donate to this good cause at the following official website …”. For extra points, do your thing in front of either a major media company or university. That way you’re also likely to end up referenced on their website, which search engines will view as having high authority and rank it highly.
Admittedly, this extreme kind of trick may not be appropriate for everyone. For people with seemingly intractably bad online reputations, however, it is indeed a valid way to *quickly* flood out bad search results for a name. The point is that you can’t fight such situations timidly.
Kinda makes you wonder what New York’s famous ‘Naked Cowboy’ may have done in his past that we may all be overlooking. If it’s bad, it’s probably buried on page 10 of Google SERPs, thus proving that he’s not as crazy as some likely think he is.