I Am About To Get My First Cake Ever
Anyone who knows me knows that I have some dietary restrictions. This is a whole other topic which I am saving for my TED talk (yep, that’s a goal of mine), but given these restrictions, on my birthday, I have never recieved a cake at work. I mean, one time I did. They swore that it was Kosher but it wasn’t. It’s the thought that counts though, right? 🙂
Back to the cake.
This year, after moving to Israel, for the first time in my professional career, I was about to get a cake at work. I knew this because everyone gets a a cake.
There I am, in a meeting. Strategizing. Planning. And I forgot all about the cake. And then, right on que, the entire team barges in the the conference room to give me my cake. At last! A cake.
But, they also has another surprise for me loaded on the laptop. The domain aaronfriedman.com had been populated with less than flattering bits of information about me.
Have a look:
At first, I was really excited. “How on earth did you convince that guy to sell you the domain. This is the best birthday present EVER!”
But then the sad reality hit me that they didn’t actually buy it. All they did was convince the owner to change the information which had more or less been static for years. Trust me. I know. I monitor it.
A Taste of My Own Medicine Almost Screwed Me
This all started in the first place because my personal belief is that everyone should control their online reputation. Not such a crazy idea, right? Well, when it was discovered that individuals on the team chose to not own the domain of their name, they were slowly acquired, one by one, to teach lessons to the team. For starters, Ari Roth now has a website. (*Full disclosure, I do not own any of our colleagues websites, but I do wholeheartedly support the cause. I imagine one day, he will take it over, build the site real strong, and then this link will be awesome for him). I don’t get it. How can it be you work in internet marketing and don’t even care about this!?!? I for one have spent years working on branding myself a certain way online. Since I couldn’t own the domain of my name, I decided to brand something else. That was were Digital Highrise came from.
But it worked. And I rank for my name. It took time and hard work, but see the SERP for yourself:
Screwing With Other People’s Brand Online is NOT Cool
Don’t get me wrong. I am one for a good prank. The problem with my colleagues prank was simply a control issue. I am not saying an old exact match domain, is going to win for those searches, at least it won’t in Google. Bing is another story and honestly, I am embarrassed for their algorithm based on those results. But having information on the internet, even as a joke, who knows what that can do or show up for. No less on a domain you don’t control.
For cryin out loud, this domain was just sitting there completely dormant, and still it. This other Aaron Friedman domain squatter could have held the information on there and bribed me. “If you want it, buy the domain from me. FOR TEN MILLION DOLLARS!” He could have tormented me for the rest of my digital life!
Getting It Taken Down Could Be a Disaster
I did everything I could. And I am not going to go into the big details, but needless to say, the fate of getting this taken down was in the hands of my team alone. There was no valid whois record for this guy, no email address listed. It was bad. The only contact information I ended up finding was by using the waybackmachine and he didn’t respond.
All’s Well That Ends Well
Turns out, this guy has a soul, and decided to change it back. He did reject my offer to buy the domain but that is a separate topic.
I hope we all learned a little lesson from this escapade. Don’t screw with someone’s brand online, unless you have 100% control. It’s just plain not nice and you might not get as lucky as I did.
Don’t F#*k with other people’s brand online… It’s not nice. (tweet that line —-> Tweet)