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BizIPEsq.
BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience:  I am a business attorney. I represent individuals and companies with all business related matters.
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I have an online identity problem which is affecting my ability

Resolved Question:

I have an online identity problem which is affecting my ability to get any kind of job.

Years ago, I wrote political articles and I am constantly being tracked and targeted by all the search engines. My articles come up on the first pages, and I am listed on ZoomInfo with a cached version of my old website and articles, which go back to 1997. No matter what I have done, I cannot get these articles removed from the websites and so when I apply for a job, they are initially very interested. Then, they don't get back to me. When I call them, suddenly they changed their mind, and their attitude toward me is completely different. I am figuring they are checking my name on the search engines and if they don't agree with my views, that's it.

This has been going on for a long time. This is a very serious situation and I need assistance. And I have requested that my name be removed from many of these websites and landing pages and they don't do it. It seems it's legal to destroy a person's life. I never knew when I wrote those articles that they would be up there forever. I haven't written a political piece in 4 years, and yet that appears on the first pages of Google and the other search engines whereas other work I've done does not.

What I would like to do is use a pen name and register it with PayPal, get paid via PayPal so my pen name is XXXXX XXXXX appears to the public, and use that pen name on my resume and any other documents, including job applications. My only other option is to legally change my name. That would be a tremendous hardship, not to mention all the legal documents, bank records, driver's license, and everything else that would need to be changed.

Please help with this. The name I use on this site is not even my real name; I try not to use my real name anywhere.

I can't afford to pay for reputation management software. What are my options? Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  BizIPEsq. replied 1 year ago.

BizIPEsq. :

Hello, I will be assisting you

BizIPEsq. :

This is really bad! Let me suggest some actions you can do

Customer:

Hi are you still there? Please help

Customer:

I know it is bad. What actions can I do. Is using a pen name that is totally different from my real name an option?

BizIPEsq. :

1) you can submit a request to remove yourself from search engines. Legally, the search engines are not obligated to fulfill your request and sometimes technically it is not possible but you should try it nonetheless. This is a link to Google's removal request tool. Here is a link to Bing's removal request tool

BizIPEsq. :

2) you can indeed use a pen name!

Customer:

If I use a pen name, my plan is to open up an account with PayPal and do all my business via their website, including taking payments for my research business (I am a librarian and independent information broker).

BizIPEsq. :

3) in the alternative you can change your legal name. In New York changing your name is XXXXX XXXXX difficult process. A colleague of mine in New York would be able to help you with that

Customer:

So what I also may do is establish an LLC for a business entity name. And on the site, where I have the "About Me" page I would use a pen name. Is any of this legal? I am certainly not trying to circumvent the law.

Customer:

All I want it the freedom to get a job.

Customer:

I was contacted by at least 6 companies that wanted to hire me as a writer/researcher. Then suddenly, the HR people changed their minds.

BizIPEsq. :

4) You can use a service to "bury" your old references. They do by creating massive amount of new content that gets very high search results. Basically it will not remove the old content but such content will be very difficult to find because of all the other content that would be created

Customer:

When I called one of them, he was cold and indifferent and refused to even comment on my submission. It makes no sense. Also, I know other writers and they are not appearing on ZoomInfo or Spokeo, or any of the other sites.

BizIPEsq. :

5) you may in fact do business as an LLC. although that will not change the fundamental problem you have

Customer:

Yes, I know about those services but they are costly and I would have to do it continuously. You said you know of a lawyer in NYC who deals with name changes, so I would like to have his number if that is ok.

BizIPEsq. :

I don't have his number but you can reach him by writing toXXX@XXXXXX.XXX

Customer:

Some of the websites where my old work appears include everything about me, even contributions I've made to candidates, my photos, everything. It is horrible. I never thought this would follow me forever. And the site is a "dead" link, meaning it's just up there permanently. They cached all my articles, bio, everything that appeared on my website. My website has been down for 5 years.

Customer:

Are you still there?

BizIPEsq. :

I am still here. waiting for your feedback

Customer:

Oh ok! I have the address now. I will write to him.

Customer:

And I will need a copy of this chat for the links to Google and Bing, but I am not convinced they will take my work down permanently.

BizIPEsq. :

one other idea is to send a DMCA take down request to the server operators of those dead-end sites since it seems that they simply misappropriated your copyrights

Customer:

I just went to the Google link.

Customer:

What is a DMCA?

BizIPEsq. :

Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The law allows any copyright holder to demand the take down of their copyrighted materials that was posted without permission

BizIPEsq. :

most of the time it is used to take down videos on sites like youtube but it can also be used to take down other content as well

Customer:

Isn't it easier just to use a pen name in the end? I can try these other approaches but eventually articles can suddenly appear on page 1. No matter how hard I try.

Customer:

I like the idea of a different name. I would not be misrepresenting myself, or doing anything illegal. It's just at least this way, I can apply for jobs and not be tracked and targeted by the search engines. This can be very bad if you are seeking a job.

BizIPEsq. :

a pen name will not eliminate the existing content

BizIPEsq. :

it will help with future work

Customer:

But with a pen name that is completely different than my real name, it can't be linked to my real name on the search engines. Isn't that true?

Customer:

I won't be doing anything like the existing content. I am not writing political articles anymore, because of all these issues.

BizIPEsq. :

that is true. For future writing pieces definitely use a pen name

Customer:

Is it legal to start a business using a pen name. Let's say I want to start a business that is interior decorating, and I want to be paid under a different name. Is it legal to do so, as long as I do not misrepresent my service?

BizIPEsq. :

and I agree about changing your name. It would be a very effective solution. You can go back to a maiden name or your mother's last name and that would be a very good "cover story" if you are ever asked

Customer:

I can't use my maiden name, because I used both my maiden AND married name in my writing. I actually was very naive and foolish, and had no idea what I was doing back then. I wish I could undo it all.

BizIPEsq. :

you can work under what is known as fictitious name that you register with your local county clerk's office

Customer:

That sounds like a very good idea. In other words, I can set up a fictitious name without actually changing my name legally? And how do I find out where my County Clerk's office is?

BizIPEsq. :

then you can combine the two names to one unique name and that would be a plausible reason for doing it

BizIPEsq. :

what county are you in?

Customer:

I'd rather not say on this chat. I just realized I know what to do. I will check by my county. I know where the clerk's office is, downtown.

BizIPEsq. :

terrific!

BizIPEsq. :

I am glad I was able to help you out

Customer:

So to summarize it all, what do you think is the best option? Of everything in this chat?

Customer:

Should I contact the lawyer you recommended? Or should I just register a fictitious name, or write to the search engines and do the DMCA? Should I do all of this?

BizIPEsq. :

the most permanent one would be to change your name. The next best thing would be to register a fictitious name

Customer:

Ok! Sounds good. Can I have a copy of this chat in my JustAnswer account?

Customer:

I'll need it for the links you provided, and I wanted a record so I can review it in one piece.

Customer:

Instead of just a rolling window.

BizIPEsq. :

I don;t believe there's a save feature but you can select all the text in the chat and copy and paste it to another window

Customer:

Ok! Doing that now.

BizIPEsq. :

Great. Please rate my service

Customer:

I pasted it in Word, I think I have it.

Customer:

Will do! Thank you so much.

BizIPEsq. :

you are welcome

BizIPEsq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 996
Experience: I am a business attorney. I represent individuals and companies with all business related matters.
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