Posted February 22nd, 2007 @ 01:47pm by Erik J. Barzeski
A few minutes ago, I received an email from "Dave S" of "ReputationDefender, Inc." In short, the email requested that I remove a comment by Julian on a very old entry. I was asked to make this change because "he considers his comments to be outdated" and that complying would "go a long way to help make the Internet a more civil place."
As someone who wishes he could "undo" a few of the things he's done publicly, I wish that fixing one's reputation was as simple as asking nicely in the name of civility. It just doesn't work that way, folks.
What's funny is that this isn't even a case of a damaged reputation: the comment is nearly three years old. Clearly people researching Julian will see that his comment is "outdated." I responded by saying:
No thanks. He said it, the comment and post are dated, and it will stand. I think "honesty" is more valuable than whatever gains may be made - or presumed to be made - to make the Internet "more civil."
I may change my mind - and I may certainly feel differently if the person had actually said something that made them look bad - but for now, I'm standing on principle.
The original email, with Julian's "Lastname" removed, goes as follows:
2023 Cherokee Parkway
Louisville, KY 40204
February 22, 2007
Dear Mr. Barzeski,
We are writing to you on behalf of Julian Lastname. He has asked us to
contact you to see if you will consider removing the content posted by
Please allow us to introduce ourselves. We are ReputationDefender,
Inc., a company dedicated to helping our clients preserve their good
name on the Internet. Our founders and employees are all regular
Internet users. Like our clients, and perhaps like you, we think the
Internet is sometimes unnecessarily hurtful to the privacy and
reputations of everyday people. Even content that is meant to be
informative can sometimes have a significant and negative impact on
someone's job prospects, student applications, and personal life. We
invite you to learn more about who we are, at
When our clients sign up with our service, we undertake deep research
about them on the Internet to see what the Web is saying about them. We
find sites where they are discussed, and we ask our clients how they
feel about those sites. Sometimes our clients express strong
reservations about the content on particular websites. They may feel
hurt, ashamed, or "invaded" by the content about them on those sites.
As you may know, more and more prospective employers, universities, and
newfound friends and romantic interests undertake Internet research, and
the material they find can strongly impact their impressions of the
people they are getting to know. When people apply for jobs, apply for
college or graduate school, apply for loans, begin dating, or seek to do
any number of other things with their lives, hurtful content about them
on the Internet can have a negative impact on their opportunities. At
some point or another, most of us say things about ourselves or our
friends and acquaintances we later regret. We're all human, and we all
We are writing to you today because our client, Julian Lastname, has told
us that he would like the content about him on your website to be
removed as he considers his comments to be outdated. Would you be
willing to remove or alter the content? It would mean so much to Mr.
Lastname, and to us. Considerate actions such as these will go a long way
to help make the Internet a more civil place.
Thank you very much for your consideration. We are mindful that matters
like these can be sensitive. We appreciate your time.
Please let us know if you have removed or changed the content on this
site by sending an e-mail to: [removed]. If another
individual would be more appropriate to contact on this matter, we'd be
grateful if you could forward this message to him or her.
ReputationDefender Service Team