Fabricated Online Reputation- A Challenge for Background Screening?

While larger organisations have been using online reputation managers (ORM) for years now, ORM heads say they are now being approached by individuals from across Indian metros who want the worldwide web wiped clear of unflattering information. “From company CEOs caught in sexual harassment suits to middle-level managers wanted for fraud to NRI brides-to-be, a whole host of individuals are seeking our services,” said Sathish Isaac, co-founder of Chennai-based Virtual Social Media, which handles reputation management cases.

– The Times of India, 8th September 2013

Online Reputation Management (ORM) is getting bigger every year. This is a legal way of covering up the grey information present about an entity in the virtual world. In other words, it is all about leveraging on the fact that 90% of web searches conclude at the first page itself. Reputation managers’ work with their HTML tags and SEO techniques to push the negative and scandalous virtual clutter to the subsequent pages. So, the good stays good and the ugly gets a makeover!

Does this make it hard for a company to trace the murky past of its prospective corporate partner? Does doctored online reputation increase chances for an organisation to end up making a wrong hire at senior levels? ORM is not limited to being a magic tool for collaborating firms or for top and senior executives. Of late, a number of NRI brides-to-be are seeking such services because they are being blackmailed by people who had posed as potential bridegrooms on matrimonial sites.

Does ORM render background check on a prospective matrimonial match ineffective? Can this be tackled by a complete due diligence of the prospective leader and of the prospective business partner?