A client approached me recently with a dilemma. They had repeatedly been refused employment due to a driving offence listing which came up when people googled their name. Firstly we contacted Google via their “Search removal request under data protection law in Europe” form. Google did not however agree to remove the search results despite valid arguments, which surprised me!
So the task then was to contact the newspapers which had listed the offence and kindly ask them to remove the relevant articles. The issue being is that newspapers are often reluctant to delete their own work! The first publication was easy to deal with. I researched the best people I could contact and came across a friendly young online editor who was just back from their holidays, so must have been in a good mood. They kindly removed the offending web page. A few hours later after I requested Google to remove the dead page from its index the listing was gone – easy peasy!
The second publication were a lot more difficult to deal with, despite being a local town paper. The editor we had approached was a different breed of journalist! You know the type hard-nosed, unflinching. After a persistent barrage of emails and pleas, he suggested they could edit the offending article correcting some mistakes which had been published. Finally we contacted the group managing editor who agreed to remove the article from the webpage. After pointing links to the page and asking Google to re-index it, the offending listing disappeared. However this did take a number of days. We are now going to build up positive listings for the client, to help with future employer referencing and name googling.
The most important point learnt here is to thoroughly research the journos you plan to contact in order to make sure you can convince them to cooperate!