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Being Attacked Online? Online Reputation Expert Shares How You Can Defend Yourself Online reputation management expert Anthony Will shares recommendations and strategies for how to overcome an online attack on your reputation

By Hardik Kundu

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Anthony Will

No one is immune from the possibility of an online attack. Whether you are a business or an individual, someone out there may try and damage your reputation online. It can be incredibly destructive—both financially and emotionally—and leave you feeling helpless. However, in times like these, it's crucial to remain calm and understand that there will always be a strategy and solution for removing or mitigating the damage of an online attack.

As one of the leading reputation management companies in the United States, Reputation Resolutions has nearly a decade of experience helping individuals and businesses respond promptly, decisively, and effectively when they're being attacked online.

The company has created a detailed process for online attacks, starting with an in-depth analysis of the situation. Anthony Will, the CEO and co-founder of Reputation Resolutions, says this starts with asking questions such as, "Where is the negative content hosted, what is the scope of the online attack, do you know who is attacking you online, how visible is the online attack in Google search results, is there a risk of on-going or future attacks?" Once you find the answers to these initial questions, the next step is to discuss all options to either completely remove or suppress (hide) the damaging content published by the attacker.

If you know who is behind the attack, you can start to take steps to defend yourself. For example, if the attacker is a disgruntled customer or employee, talk to them to see if there's anything you can do to resolve the issue. Sometimes, simply acknowledging their concerns and trying to make things right can be enough to diffuse the situation. However, you may need to explore other options if the person is unresponsive or unwilling to work with you. There will also be situations where considering talking to the culprit of the online attack is not an option.

If you believe the online attack is coming from a competitor, it's important not to stoop to their level by engaging in a public battle. This strategy will only reflect poorly on your business and could damage your reputation further. Instead, try reaching out to the competitor privately to see if there's anything you can do to resolve the issue. A simple conversation is often all it takes to avoid a potential online war. But, if talking doesn't dissuade them, seek professional help.

In addition, review sites and blogging platforms are often used to facilitate attacks against a person or company's reputation. "If the online attack has been published on a review site or blogging platform, the good news is that most of these sites will have content policies and guidelines. If the negative content published about you or your company contains content violations, there is a good chance you can get the online attack removed," Anthony Will says. "If an online attack is published on a news site (for example, a hit piece), those situations will be more complex. But, there will always be options available to address those types of attacks."

Removing negative content from the internet is the primary focus of what Reputation Resolutions does for its clients. There are times, though, when this simply can't be done for one reason or another.

In these situations, the next best solution is to suppress the content. The goal, in other words, is to push that content further down in search results so most people will never even find it.

"The issue with online attacks is that oftentimes the negative content ranks highly in Google search results, which causes significant reputation harm," Anthony Will explains. "So, the visibility of the negative content is the problem. It's not necessarily the fact that it exists."

There are many different strategies and angles that can be taken to suppress negative content. The specific methodology that's chosen will depend on various factors. No one deserves to be attacked online, but unfortunately, it's becoming more and more common. If you find yourself in this situation, remember not to panic. Instead, take some time to assess the situation, and seek help if needed.


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