A couple of years back, a friend, who was a management student then, needed to interview some people for a dissertation. She asked me to air my opinions about the city we live in. I agreed, with the understanding that whatever I told her would be between me, her and her college staff.
A few months back, I google my name and find a long rant with racist undertones posted on some essay writing site. The title of the essay "An interview with Mr. [my name]" - Whoa!
Now - a) I'm a Zoroastrianw
(apparently, there are more elephants in the world than people belonging to my community) and
b) Even within my community I have a rather uncommon surname.
This makes my name totally unique. I have yet to meet another person who shares my name for the simple reason that he doesn't exist. If you search Google for my name you KNOW that all the results refer to me. (On a tangent, is it wiser to give our kids generic names in the intertube age?)
Some of the stuff posted in the essay, I remember saying, some genuinely doesn't sound like stuff I'd ever say. The end result is, I come across as a half-witted racist. The me-being-half-witted bit has occasionaly been debated by my friends and associates, but I definitely don't want anyone who ever googles my name to end up seeing the article.
So, I do a whois and get the administrative contact's email (a UK based SEO company). I tell him there's libelous material on the site, my name is being used in an interview I never gave (a white lie, IMO, which I use since I don't want to get into a bickering match) and could he please pull it down?
He puts me onto a lady, she's really co-operative and gets the tech staff to pull the links down, no questions asked. I'm left feeling impressed and grateful.
A month later, I google my name and Bingo! 3 hits to the same site with the full essay visible. I mail her again and am met with silence. I wait for around 10 days and mail her one more time... again, silence. I mail the admin contact who had put me on to her... silence.
Suddenly, a wild idea appears...
I sent them both the following mail today (it's a little melodramatic but if you've read this far you're obviously immune to that kind of stuff)
Hi R and J,
I had approached you both a couple of months back reg. an article that used my name in an interview I had never given.
You R, put me on to J with whom I had a very amicable interaction - she helped take down the article.
A few days later the same article appeared again on the site.
I have mailed you, J twice and R once regarding this. Not only is the article still up, neither of you have bothered to even revert back to me.
I'm not going to BS you guys, I don't have the time or the resources to take legal action to get this piece that hurts my reputation taken down. I think it is callous and cruel to not help someone in my postion. And it is arrogant to not even take a minute to revert back.
So let me make this a tad more personal and ask you, R [full name] and J [full name] this. How would you like it if some aggrieved party with enough technical understanding about the working of the internet took it into their heads to sully your reputations? Would you be as silent and unconcerned then?
Thanks for your time.
(Feel free to Google my name if you'd like to know more about me. There are a couple of interesting links you might find.
So I get the nicest possible email, (within the hour!) from the lady who's already taken every possible link she can find, down. She goes on to explain that the techs had reconnected the old db and that caused all the problems. She offers more help if I need it.
Needless to say, I'm pleased with the outcome - and TBH, quite amused at the prompt reaction the mail got. I've experienced this IRL too, people hide behind a corporate facade but the minute you target them personally and their own wellbeing is at stake they become way more cooperative.