By now you’ve probably heard the story about Lois Feldman. If not, here’s a quick recap:
Lois was arrested for doing her Humpty Hump (of Digital Underground fame) Burger King bathroom impression in the stall of a public bathroom at a college football game recently. That’s pretty embarrasing, especially in today’s internet age.
But you know what’s really embarrassing?
She’s a married mother of three…and it wasn’t with her husband…who was waiting in his seat watching the game during the Biblical get to know you. I had to read the original story three times just to make sure I read it correctly.
Obviously this woman’s life has taken a tilt for the worse. She’s lost her job, I’m sure her kids are getting an earful at school, and the only thing saving it from turning into a country song is that her husband hasn’t left her. Well, that and maybe her dog hasn’t been shot, although I heard he likes to go clubbing with Plaxico Burress (who has the slimiest agent of all time not named Scott Boras).
So in a sense, I feel bad for her – especially because her tryst partner hasn’t taken as much heat. Certainly a lot of that’s good old fashioned sexism, although the fact that he doesn’t have three kids and isn’t trying to make outlandish accusations to absolve himself of guilt surely play into it, too. I’m in no position to throw stones at anyone and just a few years ago, this story would have never made it into mainstream pop culture.
But you know for whom I really feel? Lois Feldman, PhD. This is a woman who makes a living as a speaker based on her good name. Her name is her brand. Her name is her Web site. And now when people search for Lois Feldman, they’re going to see posts promising pictures of the Lois Feldman who blacked out and woke up in custody of a police officer who stopped her public intercourse in front of a cheering crowd.
And you’d better believe those photoss are coming – look at the wedding and holiday pics that are already starting to come out of the woodwork.
That’s why we offer both recommendations and active search engine / reputation management for a range of corporations. Imagine these possibilities that aren’t as extreme, but still damaging nonetheless:
- You’re an attorney and whenever anyone Googles your name, the cases you’ve lost come up first.
- Someone smeared your company with completely unfounded rumors, which show up direclty before or after your url on Yahoo!
- Someone reported one of your sales folks to the Bad Business Bureau, whose report now shows up when someone searches for your VP of Client Relations who was mentioned in one of his letters. Worse – neither she nor anyone else in your company even knew about the report to respond.
And keep in mind – just ask any traditional PR vet – these things are a lot easier to respond to when you’ve prepared for them ahead of time, which CAN be done.
Obviously, I’ve added a sales pitch to let folks know we offer these services, but I also want everyone to start thinking about these issues now when everything’s easier to deal with. Before someone with your name hijacks a plane of kittens and flies into the mouth of an active volcano.