MyEx.com was a popular revenge porn site offering users free access to nude photos of unwitting individuals. These photos were posted by former lovers and generally included the victims’ real names, causing untold damage to their finances and personal lives.
The financial damage wasn’t just because people were fired, refused promotions and otherwise looked down upon for their private pictures posted against their will on this site. MyEx.com charged victims, in what has been described as a form of blackmail, between $499 to $2,800 to remove their photos, forcing them to pay or suffer the physical and emotional consequences.
This shutdown is a huge victory for privacy laws throughout the United States. The team at Internet Reputation has worked with thousands of clients, and many of these clients had been attacked via MyEx.com.
“MyEx.com uses reprehensible tactics to profit off of the intimate details of individuals’ private lives,” said Acting US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a statement during the operation to shut the site down. “People who were featured on this site suffered real harm, including the loss of money they paid to remove intimate images and personal information, loss of jobs, and being subject to threats and harassment.”
This represents progress for privacy, especially in the age of unavoidable transparency and the rising importance of a positive online reputation in the years to come.
Revenge Sites are Still Out There
With My Ex.com’s overwhelming popularity, many other revenge sites popped up in its wake. Though MyEx.com itself was removed, these sites still exist, and they use similar tactics.
When it was operational, MyEx.com used advertisements with lines such as “MyEx GET REVENGE!” and “Naked Pics of Your Ex,” according to an IBT press release from the middle of the battle in January. These same headlines can be found on revenge sites that are still operational and still destroying people’s lives.
These websites urge viewers on with buttons such as “Add Your Ex,” “Submit Pics and Stories of Your Ex,” and “Find Someone You Know.”
Protecting Yourself Against Revenge Sites
Breakups are terrible to go through and no one should have to deal with the added pain of finding their pictures on a revenge site. It’s hard enough to maintain a positive online reputation without people attacking you from within.
Anyone from hiring managers to family members can google a victim’s name and find revealing images on these sites within seconds.
The good news is you can protect yourself against such attacks. Proactive reputation management – in which you start your reputation management efforts before disaster strikes – is ideal, but many clients have already been attacked and don’t have this option. These clients are more in need of crisis management.
With crisis management, you’ll work with a team of Internet Reputation’s best to spot the keyword(s) (usually your name), target them and begin suppression/removal. The negative results on the front page will be replaced with positive information about you so people see only what they should.
This does more than protect your peace of mine – it protects your career and your identity.
According to the press release we referenced earlier, “the FTC said that some of the entries, which are submitted without the permission of the victims, include details such as names, addresses, details about the victim’s employer and social media account information that can be used to stalk or harass.”
That’s right. Revenge sites copying MyEx.com could be directing people to your Facebook profile, your home address, your employer’s phone number and more. This leaves you wide open to identity theft.
As the adage goes, the best defense is a good offense, and that’s exactly what online reputation management provides. Good reputation management builds a barrier around your name so anything that may be posted on revenge sites doesn’t immediately destroy your name. It gives you time to respond, before everyone sees the post and judges you unfairly.
The Bottom Line
Digital media is growing faster than federal law can keep up, and most privacy violations go unpunished online. There are some regulations in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act governing this sort of activity.
As it stands, the best way to protect yourself against attack online – via revenge sites or any other – is excellent online reputation management. We’re here to help.
If you’d like to discuss existing revenge site posts or protection against potential attack, please call us at 1-888-591-0930 to set up a free consultation or click here for additional information.
Protect your reputation online.