How to Protect My Online Reputation – An Easy Guide

The Reputation Shock

A 60 years old English entrepreneur who spent his entire working life building up his reputation as a serious, noticeable business man has woken up one morning to find himself staring at his computer screen with disbelief. A life-long customer referred him to the search results against his store chain as they appeared on the first page of the Google search engine. Page after page, result after result – website visitors were being discouraged from shopping at any of his stores. The chain’s customer services was described as appalling and the business practices as dishonest. 35 years of solid rock reputation have been tarnished literally over night. Lie after lie, allegation after allegation. 3,4,5 different websites all of which seemed to have been devoted to ruining him company and his reputation.

Scores of internet surfers appeared to have left their comments on each of the tarnishing websites. The stories were very damaging and were likely to catch the attention of the off line media with possibilities of articles appearing in national newspapers. This was the point where the veteran business man suddenly had woken up to the fact that the world has changed and that negative comments by whoever it might be could destroy life-time work almost overnight.

This very successful, somewhat old fashion business man used to be in control during his entire business life. Now it appears he wasn’t any longer. So he called his trusted lawyer for the past 25 years who admitted, this was a new territory for him too. “The normal legal tools” the solicitor said “might not work in this case”. “In fact the normal legal tools might actually exacerbate the situation further”, he lawyer added. “This is the unknown land” he told his client, “We need to tread carefully”.

Watch Your Back!

A client of my Internet law firm, a small international book publishing company had woken up one morning to discover that she had no reputation or business left. A competitor in what is already a tough market had been conducting a negative campaign about her company for a few months now with the aim of getting her out of business.

This case ended up in the High Court where despite what the Judge said, my client was left with a tarnished reputation which had in effect blocked any subsequent attempt by her to get back into the same line of business.

So What Does This Mean To You?

On average they say, 1 in 5 happy customers will put a good word about you to one friend or one relative, perhaps earning you business this way. 1 unhappy customer on the other hand will tell between 5-10 people about his bad experience which means that bad news travel much faster than good news. No matter how much effort you put into good PR with your clients and employees, one bad experience can ruin the whole lot. Can you do anything about this? Sure! This is what you need to do: As a starting point, follow these 3 steps. They will reduce the risk of online damage to your reputation.

They are general good business practices too so don’t delay and start implementing now. The 3 steps that you need to take are:

Preventing

Listening

Influencing

Preventing:

Learn to treasure complaints. You don’t need an internet lawyer to tell you how important it is for you to respond to complaints quickly and to avoid procrastination. Follow each complaint through with a view of satisfying your customer’s anger and frustrations. It is a fact of life that complaints stay in the family for a very short time and if not resolved promptly, there is a risk that any griavance could end up being exposed to the entire world. Don’t ever be defensive. If you are in the wrong, simply admit to it and make amends.

Initially, all that your unsatisfied customer desires, is for you to put things right. Later on your customer’s goals might change, and revenge could become their new desire. By this time, you might have lost control over the whole situation which leaves you valuable to online attacks on your reputation.

Listening:

Read and hear what your customers are saying about you. Search the internet for your company’s name and brand using the normal Google search engine as well as Google Blog Search or any other free search tools that are available online. This will reveal to you many of the blogs and discussion groups where your company’s name has been mentioned. This is what your customers will see when they search for your company. Hopefully you will not find anything alarming and in such case you should continue monitoring these websites and discussion groups.

But if you do find unpleasant comments, this is still not the end of the world and there is plenty that you can do to repair the damage.

Influencing:

You can actually influence what your customers see when they search for your company online. Try to get involved in online discussions and post articles and comments online using various methods such as blogs, discussion groups websites and more. Whenever you find negative comments about your company, join the discussion by introducing yourself and try to put things right. Don’t simply stay away and hope that this will just disappear because it won’t. If you feel that the situation is getting slightly out of control, get expert advice on internet law. Internet lawyers provide constant monitoring of your reputation and offer can give you good practical advice on how to form a strategy to combat online attacks on your reputation and how to protect your online reputation through the courts of law.

There are other companies out there that provide tools which aim to remove unkind web pages from the first page of Google Search but using those companies must be your very last resort because they are not cheap and in some cases tend to require long term monitoring and management.

An internet law expert also can help you manage your online reputation by using verious legal tools which have proved time and time again to be extremely effective.

The Ins and Outs Of Real Estate Law

Are you looking for more information on real estate law? If so, you have come to the right place. Throughout this article we will speak about what real estate law is, as well as what a real estate lawyer can do for you.

Let’s begin our discussion by defining real estate law. This is a very broad legal area that covers both federal and state statutes, as well as common law, and deals with any legal issues surrounding real estate and property. Some areas that this law cover are the rights of homeowners, renters, and tenants, property rights and interests, buying and selling property, and landlord and rental properties. Many laws differ from state to state, making real estate law quite complex.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, a lawyer is important to your quest. While a realtor will be the one to help you find the right house or the right buyer of your house, a lawyer will review any offers and contracts to make sure that your rights are being protected and that all of your duties are clearly outlined and defined.

How can a lawyer help if you are buying a new home? If you are buying a new home a lawyer can help you to understand your contract to ensure that you are comfortable with everything outlined within it. They will also help to prepare and register all legal documents, a task that can be very time consuming if one tries to do it on their own. A lawyer will also clarify the terms of your mortgage and help assist with your banking mortgage. They will also read over all closing papers, arrange for insurance protection, and ensure that you receive a valid registered ownership.

Not only can a lawyer help you in purchasing a new home, they can also help you to sell your home. When selling your home, a real estate lawyer will help you to prepare the sale agreement, as well as the deed and power of attorney. They will also attend to the closing papers, arrange for transfers of security deposits, and arrange for insurance certificates. Most importantly, a real estate lawyer will help you during each process of selling your home and deal with any issues as they arise.

If you are interested in buying or selling your home it is important that you contact a lawyer to help you through the process. Lawyers can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500 (on average) but are well worth the cost as they save you a lot of time and stress. Search for a real estate lawyer today and ensure that, whether buying or selling a home, all of your rights are protected.

Success at a Real Estate Auction – The Key Might Be in How the Auction Is Promoted

To set about auctioning an asset as weighty as someone’s home is not a task to be taken lightly. It can be a huge responsibility: it is someone’s home, the investment of someone’s lifetime. To be carried off in the best way possible, a real estate auction needs a well thought-out promotional campaign that can win as many eyeballs as possible. This usually requires promoting on a scale that would dwarf the sale price of any average private home. The secret to a successful real estate auction then is creativity.

Clearly, the widest net one can cast comes with a marketing campaign on television. It can be expensive, certainly, and so, it can’t be a part of a strategy to get the widest publicity all by itself. One will need to pursue other media to support the effect a television strategy achieves – other media such as print. Taking out classified ads to run in the kind of markets you believe would have an interest in your real estate auction would be the best choice to make for the money. If you believe that buyers across the state or the entire nation could be interested, those are the kinds of papers and magazines you should advertise it. The mistake many novice players in the real estate auction market make would be to neglect the lucrative opportunities present in an international audience though. There are so many people who miss out on this audience through a lack of adequate comprehension of the possibilities present here. Every auction company retained in a real estate auction needs to offer property owners the option to advertise on their website too.

Whatever advertising is done ahead of a real estate auction, everyone needs to be aware of how no one can ever be interested enough unless they are given a good look at the property information packet for the auction in question. This is a brochure prepared with a detailed description of the place going under the hammer – pictures, home inspection reports, financing options possible, information about the title and how it will be transferred.

An important reason that people might choose to participate in auctions is the chance to make a killing. This possibility, slim as it might be, always imbues an auction with an air of intrigue and suspense that could often work to sellers’ advantage. The first thing that sets the stage for this is the fact that once an auction for a property is announced, one has to wait for the appointed date. The fact that there is waiting involved separates the non-serious players from the real ones. All of which leads s up to an intense time at the auction itself. On average, the amount of time any parcel of property stys up for bidding before it gets lapped up is about 15 minutes. And that is a high that many property buyers can’t resist.

The Registered Agent and His Crucial Role in LLCs

Just like other business entities that require crucial organizational working positions to operate, a limited liability company in this State also has this prerequisite that must strictly be complied with: the employment of a registered agent. Who is a registered agent and why is he considered a necessity in LLCs?

It is needed starting from the formation of the business. Basically, registered agents are an LLC’s representative in matters between the company and the state. The updates, documents, and important matters shall be conveyed to such agent by the office of the Secretary of the State. Furthermore, this agent also acts as an organizer for the compliance with state requirements and their deadlines, such as in the case of the filing of an annual report.

The most important role that he actually plays is being the legal representative of the LLC. He not only assures the legitimacy of the business but also acts as the company’s counsel in case of legal disputes.

To be qualified as a registered agent for an LLC, it is necessary that the individual is a resident of the state or if it is an entity, that such shall have been authorized by the state to operate its business. Failure to observe these necessities will render one ineligible for the position.

The information regarding the registered agent of an LLC is included in the filing of the Articles of Organization. Together with his name, the address shall also be indicated in this document. A post office box address or private rented mailboxes are not allowed, a physical address is sternly required. The reason behind this is that the address is considered to be public information and should be easily accessible. Also, it is strictly expected that this agent be present in this address during business hours in case of an important document delivery. In legal disputes, the mere delivery of a notice or letter by an authorized courier to the registered agent’s office address is sufficient legal proof that the LLC has been notified.

Although it has been established that the role this agent plays is crucial, his designation is not at all irrevocable. The State rules admit cases wherein the situation calls for a change of a registered agent. This change can easily be done by filing a form with the Secretary of State and paying the necessary fees.

Having registered agents is a requirement to the formation of limited liability companies. This can easily be complied with because of the numerous options an LLC owner has when he taps different organizations that provide such assistance. However, it is still encouraged that one employs an already trusted agent to do this job.

What Are the Grounds For Divorce in the State of Illinois?

In the state of Illinois, there are 11 grounds for divorce. Grounds 2-11 require proof that the non-moving party (your spouse), without cause or provocation from you, was at fault because of one of these reasons.

  1. Irreconcilable Differences: this is also known as “no-fault,” and is the only grounds for divorce that does not require the moving party to prove his or her spouse is at fault for the marital breakup.
  2. Spouse was already married when marriage transpired.
  3. Spouse committed adultery after you were married.
  4. Spouse has infected you with a sexually transmitted disease.
  5. Spouse was naturally impotent at the time of the marriage, and continues to be naturally impotent.
  6. Spouse willfully deserted or chooses to be absent for one year.
  7. Spouse is habitually drunk for the duration of 2 years.
  8. Spouse is guilty of gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the duration of 2 years.
  9. Spouse has been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime.
  10. Spouse has used extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty toward you.
  11. Spouse has made attempts to end your life by poison or other means showing malice.

As the moving party in the divorce you bear the burden of proof. This means you must be prepared to provide proof that your spouse committed one of Illinois’ eleven grounds for divorce. Ask your lawyer about what that proof must or may consist of.

When children are involved in the divorce it is advised to hire a child custody or family law attorney and mediator. They specialize in divorces that involve children and can help you make the divorce less negative for your kids.

Insanity, P90x & Slim In 6 – The High Cost Of Piracy

The urge to buy or download pirated copies of expensive workout products is strong. If you have the technical savvy, or have found somebody online who’s willing to sell you a knocked off copy for half price, then what’s not to like? Get the quality goods, save cash, workout and get the body you want, all without breaking the bank. Smart? Actually, no, and not just because we retail these products. Read on to discover some very real dangers involved with these activities, and then ask yourself-is it really worth it?

One of the biggest temptations out there right now is to buy a burned copy of your favorite workout from a Chinese vendor. They’ll sell them to you for almost half price, and promise you that you’ll get everything you need in the box. Not true. We’ve had a number of people contact us here at EFR asking if we can sell them the workout calendar, or the nutrition guide, or any other key component of the workout that didn’t come with the DVD’s,. Frequently the DVD’s themselves don’t play. We know this for a fact: we ordered a sample from two Chinese vendors out of curiosity. One never arrived, and the second had three DVD’s that wouldn’t play.

What’s even more dangerous is that you’re giving unscrupulous people your credit card information. If you haven’t heard, identity theft is a growing crisis for banks and people who find their accounts wiped clean, and sending your financial information to people with no problem ripping off valuable products is a bad, bad move. Many of these illegal vendors are involved a wider array of criminal activity, and selling your credit card information is probably the least of it. So-ask yourself before you buy knock off products online for ridiculously cheap prices-is the high chance of identity theft and incomplete or missing products worth the money you’ll save?

Another avenue that people take is to download these workouts from the internet for free. Of course, you’ve probably already heard about all the viruses out there, and how they’re embedded in these popular products. How millions and millions of computers are now enslaved as ‘zombies’ to hackers who use their combined processing power and online capabilities to attack big, secure targets. This isn’t alarmist talk-google any of the terms I just mentioned, and you’ll pull up a number of reports from CNN, the NYTimes, etc. Downloading large, popular programs is a fast track way to infect your computer. Further, these downloads don’t come with all the required materials. No Nutrition Guide, no workout calendar, none of the other supplemental and vital information that comes with the authentic package.

Of course, the greatest damage won’t be done to you, your identity or computer-it’s being done daily by thousands of people who engage in these practices to Beachbody itself. Now, I’m not trying to make you feel sorry for them, but simply point out a fact. If they lose enough money to piracy, they’ll stop becoming profitable, or as profitable, and will stop making these amazing products. We’ve already heard from them as to how much they’re being hurt financially by all this piracy, and it seems like it will only get worse.

And finally, think about the message these fitness programs promote: P90X, INSANITY, all of them urge you to discover a new form of integrity, of self-respect, to reach deep into yourself and become a new, better you that is proud of not only their body but the determination, courage and effort it took them to get there. How can you begin such a journey if it starts based in theft and ripping off the very trainers and people who are seeking to help you realize your goals?

Piracy. We’re warned against doing it so much that we tend to tune those warnings out, and hear instead, ‘Blah blah blah’. But piracy has very tangible, real consequences, as the hundreds of thousands of people who experience identity theft can attest, or the ruined computers and the help they give hackers show, or the general disrespect to both yourself and these incredibly trainers that stems from ripping them off despite all their hard work. If you’re tempted to steal a copy of these workouts-don’t. Start this journey with integrity, because trust me, it’s truly, truly worth it.

Surviving a Traffic Stop

Being pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful experience. Although life is full of such experiences, unlike many other stressful experiences, a traffic stop has the potential to end in a loss of money, liberty or even life. No two traffic stops are entirely identical. Therefore, the advisable course of conduct will vary depending on the situation. However, there are some general rules which can be helpful in many situations.

The best piece of advice one can offer is to avoid being pulled over in the first place. A traffic stop offers nothing to be gained. The best case scenario for the driver is to leave as if the stop never occurred losing only some time.

On the other hand, the downside can be disastrous. Vehicle equipment violations such as expired tags or an unlit taillight equate to a neon sign on your car inviting an officer to pull you over. Remember, the police can legally justify a traffic stop based on an equipment violation even if the police officer subjectively intended to investigate some unrelated issue. Moving violations such as speeding or failing to use turn signals also serve to legally justify a traffic stop. Avoid giving the police a free pass to pull you over.

Notwithstanding your best efforts, you may nonetheless find yourself being pulled over by the police. Needless to say, do not attempt to flee as this will earn you a felony charge as well as a very excited and unfriendly police officer at the end of the chase. Your main goal should be to survive the traffic stop with your life and liberty intact.

A traffic stop is a terrible time to be testing out new legal theories or arguing about constitutional law. You can resolve any disputes with the police officer in court at a later date.

The law is well settled that a police officer can order both the driver and any passengers out of the vehicle at a traffic stop. However, do not exit the vehicle until the police officer orders you to do so. If you are fortunate enough to have a passenger at your traffic stop, you should ask the passenger to carefully observe all events. Your passenger may be an important witness if events during the traffic stop deteriorate.

Although there are many different varieties of police officers, you should expect a police officer who is nervous and possibly excited. Do not give the police officer reasons to be suspicious. Do not engage in any quick or covert movements. You should place both of your hands in plain view on the steering wheel.

If there ever exists a good time to socialize with a police officer, a traffic stop is not one of them. You should attempt to end the traffic stop as quickly as possible. You have no constitutional right to a friendly or courteous police officer. Do not demand to know the reason for the traffic stop. Remain calm, polite and respectful at all times even if you have to fake it. You should immediately produce your license, vehicle registration and auto insurance upon request. Plan ahead by storing these items in an easily accessible place so you are not fumbling around trying to find them in front of the police officer. Such conduct is often interpreted as alcohol or drug impairment.

Use your common sense. You should quickly assess the police officer. There are some excellent public servant type police officers who I often refer to as “peace officers”. On the other hand, there are those who revel in the overwhelming amount of power afforded to police officers who I refer to as “law enforcement officers.” You must use extraordinary caution when dealing with the law enforcement officer as things can escalate very quickly.

Most police officers are honest; some are not. Unless you personally know the police officer, you should not assume you are interacting with an honest person. Because we live in a time when mere possession can be a serious crime, a dishonest police officer can rather easily cause an innocent person to be charged with serious felony offenses.

Constitutional rights exist, at least in theory, to protect the innocent. Do not give your rights away. If this is not obvious to you by now, please see my article entitled, “Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy”. I always advise against consenting to any search or talking to a police officer. During a traffic stop, you should communicate your refusals especially politely. Always keep your main goal in mind at a traffic stop.

If you simply cannot resist the urge to talk to a police officer, I suggest you read the back of my business card. This is a good way to document exactly what you said to the police officer. Do not simply hand the card to the officer. Remember, nobody can invoke your rights but you.

As a general rule, you should not volunteer information or answer any questions about having a weapon. Said another way, do not open a potential can of worms. However, if the police officer is about to discover the presence of a weapon, you should inform the police officer about all details of the weapon so as to avoid an accident. Also, if you have a concealed weapons permit, you must produce the permit upon the officer’s request.

If you are asked to sign an affidavit of service, sign it. Failure to sign an affidavit of service will likely result in an unnecessary arrest. In such a case, the officer had discretion to arrest you, but decided against it. You cannot waive your right to trial at a traffic stop. Even if you disagree with the charge, being arrested for failure to sign an affidavit of service will not strengthen your case.

If you are arrested, do not resist. Resisting even an unlawful arrest can earn you a felony charge. Expect a search of your vehicle and your person upon arrest. You should request to call an attorney immediately. If you are given a choice, do not opt to have your vehicle towed. You should expect to see a judge within twenty four hours, and you should try to arrange for an attorney at that hearing.

Traffic stops are not pleasant. However, handled with the right amount of tact, many traffic stops will result in nothing more than a waste of your time. Even for the more significant traffic stops, fighting it out in court is always a better choice than haggling with a police officer who has the power, and maybe the inclination, to arrest you.

Eminent Domain and the Government’s Right To Take Property

It is important to understand that the power of eminent domain is not totally unlimited – there are cases in which the right to take can be challenged. The challenge arises when the basic eminent domain requirements for the taking are not satisfied. In order to take property from an individual property owner, a governmental entity must satisfy two requirements. One, the property must be used for public use, as defined in the federal constitution; and two, the property owner must be paid just compensation. There is also the issue of necessity, which is a sub class of public use. Necessity is the test that determines the amount of property needed to adequately undertake the public purpose. Notably: failure for the taking to fulfill the definition of public use could be a basis for stopping the taking of the property.

Public use, blighted property and the necessity requirement

In recent years, governmental entities have attempted to acquire property for redevelopment and revitalization projects by deeming entire areas and neighborhoods as “blighted” in order to satisfy the definition of public use. The term blight was first addressed in eminent domain law back in the 1950’s. This term referred to a deteriorating neighborhood or property – essentially meaning that the area did not serve its intended purpose within the community.

Today, much of the controversy concerning the public use definition stems from the concept of “blighted” property. This poses the ultimate question, “Is the property actually blighted”.

The term blight has created a perpetual battle ground in eminent domain law, where the heart of the battle is fought between property owners, who feel their property is not blighted, and condemning authorities. Governmental entities will overuse their power to exercise eminent domain and attempt to deem a lower grade neighborhood as blighted in order to acquire the property and have the area redeveloped in order to increase their tax base. Even though the area may not be technically blighted, governments will objectively call it that to settle the public use definition. In some states, but not all, the definition of blight lacks clarity making it easier for governments to misuse this designation in order to exercise their eminent domain authority. As a result, this area of eminent domain law is still very unsettled and interpreted differently by different states.

The case of Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut most notably questioned the definition of “public use”, and whether or not property could be acquired through eminent domain for the sole purpose of economic gain, even if the property was not blighted. The case was heard at the US Supreme Court who ruled in a contentious 5-4 decision in favor of the city and ultimately granted each state the power for crafting language in their statutes and constitutions specific to public use, the blight definition and whether or not eminent domain could be used for the sole purpose of economic gain.

As far as the right to take is concerned, there is a necessity requirement. In many cases, the issue of necessity does not arise. Under certain circumstances, however, a governmental body may reach too far in terms of the property it is condemning. Although this claim would likely not prevent the project from occurring, it would force the condemning authority to reevaluate the amount of property necessary to fulfill the public purpose and therefore limit the amount of land they can acquire.

Can I prevent the Government from Taking My Land?

As a property owner, you have the right to challenge the government’s authority of eminent domain and this is the only way to stop the taking from occurring. Although this course of action is not recommended in most eminent domain cases, there are issues that arise that will justify this type of claim, such as the failure of the government to provide a proper public use; or failure of the property to meet with blight criteria as outlined in state statutes or constitution.

Leasehold Law Issues – Look to Your Solicitor

When looking to buy a property; whether it be a flat or house, the complexities of the leasehold and the law attributed to it can become very daunting to an inexperienced buyer. This article looks to explain the leasehold law and give a few pointers to new buyers about where to look for help.

In the UK about 3 million people live in leasehold houses and flats, however even if they have a mortgage they do not theoretically ever own the property. This makes the leasehold industry a tricky business with many leaseholders charging thousands of pounds to extend leases that are below 80 years. Mr Marsh from the Law Society said: “Some landlords are using the complexities of the legislation and the innocence and gullibility of flat owners to their own advantage and I’m anxious that flat owners know what their rights are.”

It is important to inform the public that if they are in this situation and feel they are being requested to overpay for a lease extension that they can take their case to a legally binding tribunal. However, before taking this step it is necessary to research the industry and attempt to negotiate between parties. A local solicitor is the ideal port of call as they can help you with any leasehold problems. There are solicitors all over the UK offering services from leasehold Dorset to leasehold Leeds help and advice. When entering a property sale it is necessary to have a solicitor to help you with contracts and so that you can be given legal advice that will protect you from overpaying for a property.

Related leasehold Bournemouth businesses have seen a rise in issues relating to leaseholds for new buyers. This could be due to a number of reasons but one suggestion is that an increasing number of University students are staying down in Bournemouth after graduating to live permanently. These graduates eventually look to buy and being first time buyers encounter issues with leasehold law and in turn seek the advice of a Solicitor Dorset.

Overall, the best advice is to make sure you understand that if you buy a leasehold property, you will never technically own it. The ideal property is a freehold property whereby that property is automatically yours – however these are harder to find and can increase the price of a property. If you are still unsure about leaseholds visit your local solicitor or estate agents who will be able to help you further.

Ensuring the Legality of Firing an Employee

Firing an employee is not one of those things managers and business owners look forward to when it comes to handling a business. Although it is very possible to fire an employee for all kinds of reasons, it still stands that in order to prevent lawsuits being filed against the company and in order to keep the integrity of both the company and of the employer, proper termination procedures should be looked into and observed.

First of all, the employer has to firmly discern why this kind of action should be taken. This is essential as firing someone should not come as an easy decision. With firm action and the right way to go about it, it becomes easier to handle the termination efficiently, thus avoiding the difficulty that some businesses face when having to deal with a wronged former employee.

Thus, the employer must provide a reason as to why exactly the employee’s contract needs to be terminated. Usually, this is the case when the employee has done something critical to endanger the company and its reputation or continues to perform poorly despite repeated warnings regarding his or her performance. By putting thought into the reason behind termination, it is easier to get them to understand why it is being done.

Aside from that, during the termination meeting itself, it pays to have a co-worker, usually someone from HR, to act as a witness. Throughout the meeting, the employee must be shown respect and compassion. This way, firing an employee is easier and can end on a positive note.

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