Confucius once said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” If only we all thought more like him, then the state of revenge sites on the Internet may not be where it is today. Unfortunately, sensational content continues to serve as clickbait for the booboisie, which has fueled the creation and growth of numerous online revenge forums. And we’re not talking about basic social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter either, which have sure seen their fair share of dramatic exchanges between users.
Now, not only are vengeful posts the prize in the cereal box of regular social media sites, but people now go on sites such as ShesaHomewrecker.com, Cheaterville.com and more to share stories of their unfaithful lovers, take a shot at another’s public image, browse racy content and even make some friends. These sites pull clicks; and by the laws of SEO relativity, they are able to stay at the top of search engines likes Google and Yahoo! with plenty of potential to destroy the online reputations of individuals.
The Venegeful Care Not
At this point, you may be thinking that these cheaters deserve the exposure and that there are no victims here. But think about the long term consequences when any sort of unflattering content hits the web. These things stick like a scarlet letter of modern days, hanging at the top of those search engine results like a cloud over one’s accomplishments. In many cases, it doesn’t matter what degree a person has or the contributions they have made to their work or communities, because first impressions matter. And if the first impression is a revenge site post, then it may be harder to not only find love in the future, but also work.
Still not convinced that this version of e-justice lacks due process? Let’s consider what happens on the back end of it all. If the content posted about the cheater is erotic or revealing in nature, then the real creep show begins. Not everyone is so lucky to find love, even if it sometimes ends in heartbreak. Some personalities are content with simply browsing these sites and becoming infatuated with their one-dimensional subjects. And if they already have the first and last name of the objects of their desire, what else could a simple Google search reveal? Perhaps an e-mail address? Phone number? Physical Address? Think harassment, think stalking, think so many reputation and general life issues that could completely ruin a person’s life for the unforeseeable future.
Revenge Porn Is Just One Part of a Voyeur's Online Diet
Take the Erin Andrews case as the latest example of unwanted, voyeuristic content going viral. The accomplished sportscaster’s world was turned upside down when she woke up one day to find out that a video of her undressing in a hotel room had gone viral and had already been viewed by millions of people. Having not consented to such a video, Andrews started to seek answers. She later found that when she had visited Nashville in 2008, a stalker had booked a hotel room night next to her so that he could set up a hidden surveillance camera that would eventually catch her undressing. In this case, there was no revenge or jilted ex involved, but rather a peeping Tom with a resume in stalking and spy cameras. So while this example may not offer insight into revenge websites particularly, the roughly 17 million views that had hit before Andrews even learned of the video offers a glimpse into the amount of Internet users around the world that seek this type of content on a regular basis, which is not a very settling statistic.
The $55 million settlement that followed would end up being the only positive that comes out of this traumatic experience for Andrews, but not every person who becomes a victim of the Internet gets a settlement. Instead, some people lose money in both legal pursuits as well as the attempts they make to have such content wiped off the web.
In other words, not every case of online harassment contains a celebrity and an internationally-recognized hotel chain.
In many cases of malicious Internet content, the victims have less circumstances to leverage. The Huffington Post wrote a piece that touched on some of the circumstances that drive many legal disputes of this nature:
“The first issue is whether or not the non-consensual publication of the images was a crime, and whether it should be reported to the police. The answer is very much location and fact-specific. Initially, it must be determined which state's law applies. At the moment there is no specific statute criminalizing revenge porn in New York; conversely, New Jersey is one of only two states that has enacted a statute criminalizing this specific behavior. Other states, including New York, have existing statutes which would possibly address some types of behavior depending on the individual facts.”
The article also goes on to talk about the steps that victims of this type of content should take in order to resolve these nightmarish situations, with the first step being working to get the content removed. This can be tricky at times, as some sites encourage these types of publications and are not so willing to just remove them from their sites. Going about this can be a daunting and even expensive task, which is why victims of the Internet should make sure that they are investing their time and money into the most effective solutions.
How We Can Help
InternetReputation.com offers comprehensive online reputation management packages and solutions that help extinguish these situations in the most effective way possible. Not only does our legal team go after the sites directly to have the content potentially removed, but we also implement suppression techniques that get the content knocked down on the search engines. This dual-pronged approach offers the security that even if some sites outright refuse to remove the content, our suppression techniques will still make the content very difficult to find. Your reputation is our top priority, and we will help you defend yourself online.