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    Boston Globe: For a fee, digital dirt can be buried

    The Boston Globe takes a look at “reputation managers” — people who work to improve their clients’ Internet reputation.

    Such services not only exist, but are becoming increasingly popular with people who seek to hide negative online news stories, bury personal information on networking websites, or simply boost the visibility of their personal profiles.

    Kirsten Dixson is a personal branding strategist and online reputation manager in Exeter, N.H. She charges between $2,000 and $10,000 for her services, noting, “Your online reputation has a lot to do with your personal brand.’’

    Dixson compares one’s online reputation to a credit score — something to monitor and improve. She says “digital dirt’’ — anything that isn’t relevant to how someone wants to be known on the Web — can hurt people. [...]

    Michael Fertik knows all about how online searches can damage reputations. The 2005 Harvard Law School graduate founded ReputationDefender four years ago because he didn’t like how young people’s online behavior could be permanently recorded on the Internet and haunt them later.

    “People were losing control of their digital selves, and there was something fundamentally un-American about that,’’ said Fertik, 31. “I don’t think the random product of a Google machine needs to define your life.’’

    For a fee that ranges between $10 a month and $1,000 a year, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company works to counteract negative reviews, comments, or blog entries for clients.

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