News Column

Michael Zammuto: Clearing Negative Images From Search the Right Way

Feb 19 2013 12:00AM



PHILADELPHIA, PA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/19/13 -- In a recent article for, writer Charly Mercer asked whether it was safe for people to post personal photos to Facebook. While many Facebook users will note that sharing photos is one of the best components of the social networking site, Mercer provides several good arguments against the common practice. Although it is true that many unsavory photos are publicized through the social network giant, Facebook is not the only source of negative online images. According to Michael Zammuto, Reputation Changer COO and online reputation management expert, individuals who desire to rid themselves of negative online image results need to do much more than delete their Facebook photos.

There's no denying the fact that managing social media assets is at the top of the list when it comes to clearing negative images. While the pictures of one's college years should certainly be saved, allowing them to remain in the public sphere via social networking sites is risky. Numerous statistics have found that today's employers conduct a social background check prior to hiring a new employee. Not surprisingly, few employers choose to hire individuals whose hands seem to be permanently glued to keg cups.

It should also be noted that privacy settings offer little to no safety for those who wish to protect their images, as these settings still allow for 'friends' to lift photos from a given profile. The surest bet is to save all compromising photos to a computer, and then remove them from the site entirely.

But removing negative images from social sites is just the beginning.

According to Michael Zammuto, negative images often come from more than one source. "It's not uncommon to see negative images published on sites over which an individual has no control. Reputation Changer regularly receives calls from prospective clients who want to remove mug-shots and other public records from the first few pages of Google. While individuals can easily remove negative images from their own Facebook profiles, it's an entirely different matter when an image is published on somebody else's website or blog."

Like every other aspect of online reputation management, getting rid of negative images is more a matter of suppression than it is a matter of actual removal. Getting a site admin to remove a specific post is a difficult, if not impossible, process. So rather than trying to have a photo removed, individuals should try to push the photo to the back pages of the search engines where it is far less likely to be seen.

Michael Zammuto notes that quality content is the best resource for individuals who wish to suppress any negative listing. "If you make the positive content more engaging than the negative content, you'll start to see negative listings drop from the first page. In the case of images, suppressing negatives requires the publication of various positive photos." For this reason, individuals may want to look into creating profiles on image sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram.

It's also a good idea for people to create several blogs on which they can publish photos. When posting a photo to a blog, it is wise to always make sure that the image is tagged. Photo tags allow search engine algorithms to identify relevant posts for any given search query. Many blogging platforms, such as Wordpress, allow users to easily apply ALT Tags to pictures. These tags should be an exact match of the individual's name.

The COO of the web's leading online reputation management firm reminds people that a proactive approach is the best defense against a bad online image. Individuals, especially those of younger generations who are more actively posting images online, are encouraged to think before they publish a certain photo on the internet.


Michael Zammuto Reputation Changer President regularly bears witness to the problems that can arise from embarrassing online photos. Zammuto is a strong advocate for people who wish to tell their own stories online, as opposed to allowing others to tell that story for them.

Source: Marketwire

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