Firms Hired To Cajole Websites Into Annihilating Their Own Content

We’re in a WSJ article today that touches upon our encounter with Reputation Defender, a company clients hire to go around sending turgid pleas to mean websites for posting factual information already reported in mainstream media publications:

ReputationDefender also sent a takedown request to Consumerist, a Gawker Media blog that had written about a man who was briefly jailed for harassment after repeatedly calling online travel agent Inc. for a refund. The letter asked the blog to remove or alter the archived post, saying it was “outdated and disturbing” to its client. Consumerist editor Ben Popken blasted the request with a profanely titled entry, calling it an attempt at censorship. “It’s not like we’re spreading libel,” he said. “They were trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

ReputationDefender’s Mr. Fertik said the company is no longer sending letters to irreverent blogs like Consumerist, which may be more likely to mock the company’s efforts. “We are no longer taking those kinds of risks with those kinds of outlets,” he said.

Always irreverent, never irrelevant, that’s our motto. — BEN POPKEN

Firms Tidy Up Clients’ Bad Online Reputations [WSJ]

Ronnie Segev & ReputationDefender Can Eat A Dick
Priceline Has Customer Arrested for Diligent Refund Attempt


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    The best way to defend your reputation is to not do stupid things in the first place.

  2. tentimesodds says:

    Reputation Defender has successfully destroyed the reputations of several of its clients, by pursuing agenda that keep unsavory truths in the limelight. They’re a disaster.

  3. Kimli says:

    Wait, there’s mocking? On the INTERNET? I demand a refund; I only signed up for positive internet experiences like porn and .. um .. well, just the porn.

    I wonder if Reputation Defender can repair the damage I’ve done to my own online rep?

  4. bedofnails says:

    After reading the article, sounds to me as though this is a group of recent law graduates attempting to put some of that newly gained legal language to misappropriate usage – probably by threatening individuals to remove informations with “legal action”.

    I wonder if this is the “counsel” DS-MAX uses.

  5. royal72 says:

    hey ben, is it possible to keep a running tab on which companies reputationdefender works with?

  6. ElizabethD says:

    Ben, we love it when you blast.

  7. adamondi says:

    I love that these turd burglars couldn’t figure out that a site dripping with as much sarcasm as the Consumerist would instantly make fun of any attempt at bullying.

    Perhaps these guys should actually read the sites they are trying to bully to predict whether their empty legal threats will be more effective than a marshmallow shooter in a gun fight.

  8. acambras says:


    My new favorite phrase is “turd burglars.”

  9. ninjapoodles says:

    I just like that the title of this post appears to be written in Engrish.

  10. brooklynbs says:

    @ninjapoodles: I think the copy editor needs his/her reputation defended.

  11. coss3n says:

    If you ask me, it’s not a takedown notice if it doesn’t mention the DMCA.

  12. Crazytree says:

    @AlteredBeast: your comment assumes, incorrectly, that in every consumer-retailer dispute… the consumer is 100% without fault.

  13. homerjay says:

    “ReputationDefender’s Mr. Fertik said the company is no longer sending letters to irreverent blogs like Consumerist, which may be more likely to mock the company’s efforts. “

    Allow me to translate: We will take your money and then send a crappily worded email to the web sites we know are easy to work with and won’t scare us or make us cry. For any others, you’re on your own.

  14. tadowguy says:

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper and better for the company just to not be assholes to their customers in the first place?

  15. homerjay says:

    Oh! Lordy…..

    Yeah, not a chance…

  16. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @AlteredBeast: Exactly. Or if you do something really stupid, use an alias…or the name of somebody you really hate.

  17. AlexPDL says:

    Wow this is kinda sad really. These “reputation defenders” seem to be total ametures…seriously… do they really think a nice letter gets them anywhere? At the end of the day if someone wants to really “fix” their reputation they need a PR firm… someone with real experience, relationships, and tact. Not some dweebs in KY writing form letters. How dumb!

  18. Havok154 says:

    As a company, you should strive at not having anything bad enough to be posted on here. If for some reason they mess up really bad, do the right thing and apologize. DO NOT send lawyers or other people after the place calling you out, all that ends up doing is ruining your companies rep even more, making us not want to do business with you at all.

  19. As a Journalist, an Editor-In-Chief, and an owner of a press agency, I’ve got 3 words for you…

    Bring It On

  20. SexCpotatoes says:

    @AlexPDL: “Not some dweebs in KY writing form letters. How dumb!”

    dweebs in KY jelly? gross!

  21. methane says:


  22. methane says:

    Whenever a company sends pleas for clemency it’s like the company is actively and willingly strapping itself to the Consumerist Whipping Post. Make sure that leather’s tight!

  23. Perhaps they should stick to helping out identity theft victims and individuals whose privacy is at stake. (This is assuming those examples in the article were truthful).