Reputation Defenders

How to Delete Something from the Internet?

How to Delete Something from the Internet?
Steven Maddocks

13 min

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How to Delete Something from the Internet

If you want something removed from Google, there are five ways to do it. These include contacting Google directly, getting a court order, suing someone, asking for help from a third party, or using automated tools. If you believe someone else posted defamatory comments about you online, you could sue that person under defamation law. You could also try to get a court order requiring Google to take down those comments. However, if you need to know where the comments are located, it could cost thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer to get such a court order. And even if you win, it won't make the problem disappear.

You could attempt to get a court order to force Google to remove a specific comment. But since Google doesn't host or store the comments, it can't simply pull them off the site. In addition, courts typically require evidence that the comments are illegal or harmful. You're likely to succeed if you're willing to pay lawyers to review the comments and provide proof that they violate the law.

You see harmful search result.

Unfortunately, someone could write content that ends up ruining your whole day, but you can't just shrug it off because they've moved on with their lives. You can try to remove things from the web that are harmful to you.

Here are seven ways to remove things from Google.

If you want to get something taken down from Google, there are seven ways to do it. Although some people choose that route, you don't necessarily need legal representation. Here are the seven options.

  1. Contacting Google directly. This is probably the easiest way to remove something from Google because it doesn't require much effort. Contact Google via email, and explain what happened. They'll usually take care of the issue fairly quickly.
  2. Using Google's webmaster tools. If you want to get something off Google's index, try using Google Webmaster Tools. From here, you can submit a sitemap to Google, view crawl errors, and see how many times your site has been indexed.
  3. Sending a DMCA takedown notice. A copyright infringement claim is one of the most effective ways to get something removed from the internet. To file a DMCA complaint, you must use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
  4. Using "removal requests." These come from Google itself and allow you to request specific URLs be removed from Google Search Results.
  5. Using Google's "Removals Report." This tool allows you to report spam sites, malicious domains, and even entire countries.
  6. Using Google's "Site Verification Tool." This lets you verify ownership of a domain name.
  7. Getting a court order. If you've exhausted the above methods, consider getting a court order to remove something from search engines.

Here are some quick statistics on damaging content.

You might only be happy if your brand has been positively affected by poor searches. However, according to statistics, 65 percent of people trust online searches for research purposes. So when something negative appears in these searches, most people and businesses would rather know how to eliminate it than ignore it.

Here are some more interesting stats on search engine ranking and reviews:

  • Only 5% of web surfers read beyond the first page of results from a search engine.
  • Consumers trust online review sites just as much as friends' recommendations.
  • Sixty percent of consumers report that negative online review has caused them not to want to use a particular business.
  • More than half (49%) of US shoppers say they would be willing to leave a review for a company if they received a good experience.

Whatever people see online about a business, whether positive or negative, is important. Whether the information is true or not isn't as important as people believing it.

If one bad review can ruin a brand, imagine how many good reviews could help it!

Can Google remove information about a site from its index?

Google cannot delete information from a web page. But once it's been removed from Google Search, it'll be gone forever. "We don't want to take down information that people find useful," explains Matt Cutts, head of the Webspam team at Google. "But we want to ensure there are no false positives." So while Google can't delete information from a site, it does remove listings from its search results within three days.

How to Delete the original post

If you're thinking about deleting some content, here are the steps we recommend.

  1. Contact the site owner directly via email or social media. If you need to learn how to contact the site owner, ask someone else who does.
  2. Explain why you want the content removed.
  3. Be polite. Don't threaten legal action. You'll probably never hear back.
  4. Wait. At least wait a few days. Some owners will take down content immediately upon request. Others will respond later.
  5. Keep trying. Sometimes, even weeks later, you'll still need a response.
  6. Give up. Delete it yourself.

Content removal incentives

Sometimes you don't want people to see certain things. Maybe it's embarrassing or offensive or just plain old wrong. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of ways to ensure those posts disappear from the internet.

We've made interesting offers to get people to delete negative reviews, comments, blog posts, articles, videos, images, etc. We've even offered to pay them to do it. And we're not alone; many companies offer similar incentives.

Here are some examples:

  • A charity in the client's name received $10,000 to remove a negative review about one of their fundraising events.
  • An ad agency paid $1,500 to an individual blogger to remove a post about the agency's work.
  • An insurance company gave $2,500 to a customer to remove a negative comment he posted about his policy.
  • A law firm paid $5,000 to a former employee to remove a negative blog post she wrote about her experience working there.

Think about your approach

If you're thinking about sending a DMCA takedown notice, it might be best to take some time to think about how you'd like to handle the situation. There are many factors to consider, including whether you've violated copyright law, the potential impact of the removal on the author, and whether or not you've already tried to resolve the issue directly with the person in question.

The easiest thing to do is ignore the problem and hope it goes away. However, there are plenty of reasons for better options than this. For example, if you send a takedown notice and the author responds within 14 days, the information will automatically be removed from the site. This could cause problems, especially if the author decides to publish the same material elsewhere.

On the flip side, if you resolve the matter directly with the author, you'll likely find that they will either refuse to cooperate or say that the content belongs to them. If the author does agree to remove the content, chances are good that you won't see anything happen for several weeks. Even after the content is removed, you may still receive a notification that they removed it.

So while ignoring the problem can be easy, it can also lead to major headaches later. On the other hand, taking the time to understand the nuances of the situation and carefully crafting your request can help you avoid those issues altogether.

Motivating someone to act

To motivate someone to do something, appeal to their altruism. People are often motivated by helping others. In fact, according to research conducted by Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, people are most likely to help those who are similar to themselves. This is called the similarity effect.

In addition, studies show that people are more willing to forgive others when they believe that the person did something out of selfless motives. For example, if you ask someone to write a letter of recommendation for you, they may feel obligated to do it because it helps them out. However, if you ask them to write it because you're doing well in school, they may be more inclined to say yes.

Another way to encourage someone to behave better is to make her think she'll benefit. If you tell her that you don't like what she posted about you online, she may decide to edit it because she wants to keep good relations with you.

However, if you tell her that she'll gain social status points by writing a positive review about you, she'll probably write a glowing one.

When asking someone to take down content, be aware of potential consequences.

The internet is full of horror stories about lawyers sending nasty letters demanding that web admins take down certain content. But what happens next can go very wrong. A lawyer sends such a letter, and the person they sent it to takes action. In doing so, however, they refresh the content. People see the changes and react negatively. They post comments on social media, where others respond, adding fuel to the fire. Eventually, Google noticed the change and increased negative content in the rankings.

You should only send out a request like this with some backup plan. If you do, you risk losing control over your brand online.

Content removed from the publisher.

If the source refuses to take down the content, or if you don't believe it's a good idea to ask, you should contact the website owner where the content resides to request its removal.

It only sometimes works for personal blogs because web admins, publishers, editors, and authors are often all the same people. However, it might work for medium-sized sites like community newspapers or local news websites.

For example, if someone writes an email to you but doesn't send it directly, they may ask their editor to send it to them.

How to find out who owns a domain name so you can request its removal from Google.

To find the owner of a website, use a Whois Tool like Whois.net. A Whois record can tell you basic things about a website, such as registrant contact information, administrative contacts, technical contacts, legal contacts, and more.

A Whois record looks like this:

You can also check the Contact us page of the website and look up employees of the companies that own the website using LinkedIn.com. Companies are listed under the "Company" section on LinkedIn.

You can contact the registrar directly to know the person behind the website. Many registrars offer customer support via email. Some registrars even provide live chat support.

When the publishers don't want to remove the content.

If the owners of the sites where the information appears don't want to take down the content, then contact them and request they do so.

Remove the search phrase (from the URL) from the web pages.

If your company name appears in the title tag, description tag, or anywhere else on the webpage, then the web admins can change the text so your company name doesn't appear anymore.

Here is an example using the "keyword replacement" technique.

Suppose you owned a company named Enron. A local newspaper published a news article with the headline "CEO Caught Juggling Kitten," which was misleading. You could ask the newspaper to modify its headline to be accurate.

The blog post's author would delete the paragraph containing the mention of the company but would leave the rest of the content intact. In doing so, he'd make his audience happy and keep his site rankings high. He wouldn't lose any traffic to competitors because people searching for his product would find what they're looking for.

Dropping into search, but not disappearing.

If the web page disappears, it could mean that some of its content has been removed by the owner, and there might even be penalties if Google finds out that you're using black hat techniques to get high rankings. However, people searching for your brand will still see it in their SERP (or organic listings) if it remains. It just won't appear at the top anymore.

If the article has been published for a long time and isn't generating any traffic or revenue for the author, they might consider making a small change to get some new traffic and revenue.

Spoiler alert: In most cases, editors don't write articles for free because they're nice people.

How to Make Your Page Invisible To Google

If Google doesn't index a webpage, ask the owner to add a "NOINDEX" meta element to the head section of the HTML code for the webpage. It's usually best if they do it themselves.

It takes just one minute for a web admin to add a no-index meta element to a web page. However, it takes work to get them to decide to do so.

The good news for publishers, articles remain online. But Google ignores them and drops them from searches. Other major web crawlers do too. Your brand will still exist on the page, but no index tags tell the bots to ignore your site forever. Within a few weeks or months, the page disappears entirely from both Google and Bing.

This is what a NOINDEX tag looks:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

What is the NOINDEX tag for?

Place the noindex meta element before the closing body tags. For instance, if the document is written in XHTML 1.0 Strict, then the following would work: name= "robots" content= "noindex">

The Google removal request

Some search engines may remove certain types of content from their results pages. Here are some common ones:

You must comply if you identify theft or financial harm as reasons to remove someone from your service.

Over the past few months, we've received numerous requests to get certain websites taken down because of Terms of Services violations. These include sites that contain sensitive personal info like bank accounts and social security numbers or any site that contains illegal content, such as child pornography. To prevent these types of situations, we now require all new domains to be reviewed by our team before launching them. If any issues are found during the review process, we will request that the domain be taken down immediately.

If the site charges for removing content, Google may remove it.

If a site posts something negative about you and requires payment to take down the post, Google may delete it for you.

This doesn't apply to review sites. This removes posts from search engine indexing. Use this if your site is about helping people find good products, services, and information. You can also add keywords to help improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For example, if your website helps people get better jobs, you might include the word "jobs" in your title tags.

You may sometimes be able to remove sexually explicit content from search result pages.

If sexually explicit content appears on your site without your permission, Google may remove it from its indexes. To qualify for removal, it must meet these criteria:

  • You are naked or exposed straightforwardly without your consent.
  • You're underage
  • You meant for the content to be private, and the images were made public without your consent (e g "revenge pornography").
  • You did not permit the image to be used publicly, and the image was made public without your permission.

Reasons why Google might remove content from its index

Google and Bing will remove copyrighted information. This fall under the "legal deletions" area. It's considered a "DMCA" deletion. Google will request which service you want information deleted from, such as Google Web searches, Blogger, YouTube, etc.

Examples of types of posts that may be removed include...

European citizens get the right to be forgotten; others don't

Google announced it would comply with requests from EU data protection regulators to remove personal information from some searches. The move follows a ruling earlier this month ordering Google to delete search results linking to a Spanish man named Antonio Salinas, who had sued Spain over his arrest and conviction for killing another person during a robbery attempt. Google complied with that request, but now it must do the same for anyone else who asks.

The decision affects people in 28 countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. But Google says it won't apply the change to people outside those countries unless they are covered under EU regulations. Google already removes certain types of information from searches worldwide, such as criminal records and bankruptcies.

But the move could affect millions of Europeans. In addition to the case of Mr. Salinas, Google says it received about 30,000 requests per week from people asking to have personal information removed. A spokesman told Reuters that the average removal request is based on "a single piece of information." People can ask Google to reconsider its decision, but they cannot appeal against it.

For copyright infringement, use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), decreed in 1998, allows people to protect copyrighted material online. This includes music, movies, games, software, books, photos, etc. While it sounds great, there are several things you must know about how it works. Here are five ways to make sure that your takedown requests are successful.

1. Know Your Rights

First, you must understand what you can and cannot do under the law. You could unintentionally infringe on someone else's copyright if you don't. For example, YouTube videos are protected by fair use laws. However, you could be liable if you post a video without permission. You might think posting a link to a song on Facebook is fair use, but it doesn't.

2. Make Sure You Have All The Details Right

You'll want to ensure you have all the information necessary to file a proper claim. There's no room for error here. For instance, if you're claiming someone posted a movie illegally, you'll need to include the URL where the infringing copy is hosted. If you're claiming that someone uploaded a photo, you'll need to provide the exact location of the image.

3. Be Prepared To Provide Evidence

In addition to providing proof that you own the copyright, you'll need to prove that the person you're filing against actually committed the act. In most cases, this means providing screenshots of the offending posts. You'll also need to provide evidence that you attempted to contact the poster multiple times via email and phone.

Bringing In The Professionals

To clean up your online reputation, consider hiring a professional to help. Consider how much it costs to hire someone to do this work. A good place to start is with a Reputation Management Company.

A Reputation Management Company specializes in helping people deal with negative search results, fake reviews, and comments posted online. A Reputation Management Company works closely with businesses to understand where their strengths lie and how to best respond to criticism. A Reputation Management Company offers legal assistance, which can come in handy if you run afoul of copyright law.

Updated

November 18, 2022

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