The revenge porn website that encouraged people to send in nude photos of ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends along with their personal information including their names, locations and other identifying data, has effectively been shut down by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Nevada.

The complaint filed in federal court named EMP Media Inc., Aniello “Neil” Infante, Shad “John” Applegate (a.k.a. “Shad Cottelli”), and one or more unknown parties doing business as “Yeicox Limited”. The FTC alleged that the operators’ practices were unfair acts or deceptive practices violating the FTC Act. Further, the State of Nevada alleged that the defendants’ conduct constituted deceptive trade practices under state law. Read the rest of this entry »

Martin Luther King Jr Day gun advertisementThis Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, a gun store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, thought it would be a good idea to advertise a sale tied into the them of the holiday. The Los Ranchos Gun Shop is offering 10% off of accessories with the purchase of a gun today. It’s not unusual for retail stores to offer sales to people when they’re off for the holidays, but it is potentially quite risky for various types of memorials and observances to try to connect things too much. Businesses risk being perceived to be riding on the coattails of tragedies in some cases, and can be interpreted as being mercenary, exploitative, or actively hostile to the themes around the observance. This is one of those instances.

The gun shop owner is quoted as saying that he doesn’t consider it to be against the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr., because MLK was an advocate for civil rights, and gun ownership is also a constitutional civil right. Unfortunately, the store owner comes across quite tone-deaf with this reasoning. Read the rest of this entry »

This weekend in Fort Worth, I will be speaking at WordCamp DFW. WordCamp is a friendly, unstuffy conference that focuses on everything involving WordPress, which is free, open-source internet publishing software used by more than 75 million sites on the web.  Talks at these conferences range anywhere from how-tos on blogging, to customized software development with WordPress, to operating a company with the content management system. Anyone is welcome to attend and learn, and there are sessions for both beginners and experienced users that have been using WordPress for years.

Getting SEO advantages from Social Media like Twitter and Facebook.

I’ll be speaking on “Getting SEO Advantages from Social Media” on Sunday at 4:00pm. My session will be useful for both novices and veterans of SEO and Social Media. Read the rest of this entry »

You’re sailing along with no care in the world, up until that wicked person posted something bad about you online. “No problem,” you think. After all, you already have a lot of good stuff about you that’s been ranking strongly for years, like your own website, your Twitter and Facebook accounts, online directory pages, a local news story about that charity event you participated in last year, a video you made and posted on YouTube, and your LinkedIn profile. The newly made negative attack materials won’t be able to show up that quick — that stuff couldn’t possibly have the ranking power of your other solid, well-established stuff.

Or, could it?

What many discover at this point is that yes, indeed, completely new negative stuff can show up and rank pretty high in Google for one’s name searches within a breathtakingly short timeframe. In fact, someone could Tweet or blog some some nasty thing about you today, and it could show up in your name searches in Google tomorrow.

Google's motto used to be Don't be evil. But, they no longer use that motto.

Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil.” But, they no longer use that motto.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m speaking this week at the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East conference in New York this week on how to derive Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) benefits from social media.

SMX East New York City

In the past, this topic has been a little bit controversial. On one hand, people in SEO sometimes tend to think that Social Media is worthless for optimization purposes. They’re backed up by various statements made by Google and Bing engineers over time, although those statements are often a bit specifically opaque. On the other hand, people in Social Media often have an intense prejudice against the idea of leveraging social interactions in order to push items to be higher in search engine results — they feel that such impersonal or artificial motives are terribly manipulative and cynically uncaring of the real people who are behind social media avatars.

However, there are some undeniable advantages for search optimization that can be extracted from good social media work.  Read the rest of this entry »

Argent Media is pleased to announce that we have begun marketing to Hispanic markets in the United States, as well as to Spanish-speaking markets internationally for Online Reputation Management services.

Online Reputation Management in Spanish Language

While Argent Media is primarily an English-speaking agency, we do have background in translating language processing applications and websites of Fortune 500 companies into Spanish. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is generally a language-agnostic discipline, since the function of search engines tends to be consistent across languages. However, many agencies solely focus upon English-speaking markets all while there is growing need for help among Latin-American and other Spanish-speaking populations.

“We have recognized that online brand identity and reputation issues occur in Latin-American countries, via Hispanic media, and in Spanish search results,” states Argent Media’s CEO and founder, Chris Silver Smith. “So, we are now extending services to assist individuals and companies that are struggling with online reputation issues.”

Argent Media has launched a site specifically to cater to Spanish-speaking markets: Reputación Online.

Argent Media has increasingly specialized in assisting clientele with online reputation issues including: online reviews, negative items appearing in Google and Bing search results, damaging image search results, mugshots and arrest records, boyfriend/girlfriend revenge websites, defamation lawsuits, and more.

Visit Reputación Online for more information at: https://reputació

[Related: reputación online | reputación en línea | reputación en la red ]

At the end of December, I reported at Search Engine Land on what what seems to have been a major change in Google’s internal policy. (See: Paradigm shift: Has Google suspended defamation removals?) Google has effectively begun to decline requests to remove defamation from its web search results, although it has been honoring those takedown requests for many years now, when accompanied by properly-executed court orders.

Stormy weather forecast ahead for reputation.

While I phrased the title of that article “Has Google…” and ended with a question mark, the reality is that the company has completely stopped removing URLs for defamation. The Search Engine Land editors and I opted for that interrogative title phrasing because Google declined to make any official statement about the matter. This lack of transparency around this has created a lot of consternation among attorneys who deal with online defamation, along with their clients — I polled a number of attorneys across the country and consistently found they had all encountered a change in their dealings with Google in the past few months. It seems that some stuff that was already being processed prior to Google’s apparent policy change may still be acted upon, but most new requests are getting denied with no reason provided. Read the rest of this entry »

Issues involving the application of trademark laws relative to online media content have been present since the beginning of the internet. However, the legal ramifications of how trademark infringement may be evaluated and litigated have evolved over time, and company executives and internet marketers may be unaware of the options and risks involved with their online activities.

Chris Silver Smith will speak at SMX West 2017.

Chris Silver Smith will speak at SMX West 2017.

Those educated in the basics of business law are aware that infringing upon a company’s marks may open one up to liabilities, if a claim of trademark infringement is made. However, if traditional online marketing activities are also involved in a trademark dispute, there is now significant potential that damages could become multiplied. Combining Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) and/or online advertising — such as Pay-Per-Click ads (“PPC”) — with occurrences of trademark infringement, may increase the instances of “misimpressions”, which are individual exposures of a company’s marks used in an improper context. Total numbers of misimpressions may be accounted by courts in determining the degree of infringement, and used as a basis for calculating damages to be awarded to a plaintiff.

Chris Silver Smith, a frequent legal expert witness and experienced online marketing consultant, will bring valuable insights to these topics, based upon his experiences in working on “PODS Enterprises, Inc. v. U-Haul International, Inc.”, a landmark federal trademark infringement lawsuit (see U-Haul Boxed In With $60M Verdict In PODS Trademark Suit). Read the rest of this entry »

A year ago, I stated that the Ashley Madison hacking scandal was not over, and that is proven yet again. A member of the Electoral College has now had his reputation attacked online using details from the Ashley Madison data and other apparent details from his life, because he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times declaring his intention to not cast his vote for Donald Trump for president.

Faithless Elector Reputation Attack

The Texas elector in question, Christopher Suprun, wrote a piece on December 5th, “Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote for Donald Trump“, where he described how he had decided not to cast his Electoral College vote for Trump based on his principles. An elector that opts not to vote for the presidential or vice-presidential candidate for which he or she has pledged to vote is called a “faithless elector”, and is something of a rarity. Since the beginning of the United States, there have only been about 179 faithless electors out of over 20,000 total electors — so, less than 1% of electors have ever turned rogue.

Following Suprun’s published intention to not cast his electoral vote as pledged, there was a lot of online recriminations against him. He’s been insulted, castigated and threatened. But, perhaps even more harmfully, Suprun has now been targeted by the conservative-leaning yellow press site,, which is the brain-child of Charles C. Johnson, who was declared by Gawker to be “The Web’s Worst Journalist“.

On December 12th, Got News published a tawdry slam-piece that claims that Christopher Suprun was Read the rest of this entry »

Whenever we have managed Facebook pages for businesses or individuals that are the target for online reputation attacks, I’ve been struck with how odd it is that Facebook doesn’t provide an option to allow all comments to be automatically moderated so that one may review them and approve or disapprove them before being published. It seemed like a glaringly obvious need for a great many businesses, and I can see that others out there would also like this option.

How to hide Facebook comments setting

I’ve developed a workaround that essentially provides the ability to set all your Facebook page comments to be automatically moderated, and we’re providing this solution for free — so read on! Read the rest of this entry »

In my recent article, I predicted that the worst was far from over for Ashley Madison users whose personal information was exposed by the massive hacking. Indeed, our research has now uncovered that over 500 domain names have been registered, indicating that the next stage of this reputation apocalypse is about to happen.

Ashley Madison Domain Names

Read the rest of this entry »

Practical Ecommerce is sponsoring their first conference in Dallas next month. The conference is geared towards internet ecommerce website marketers and entrepreneurs. Argent Media can provide a significant discount for friends and clients!

The three session topic tracks are Marketing, Conversion and Management.

Practical Ecommerce Ignite Conference Dallas, 2015

IGNITE 2015 is the inaugural conference by Practical Ecommerce on Sept. 16 and 17 in Dallas, Texas. IGNITE 2015 brings together industry visionaries and seasoned ecommerce entrepreneurs, who share critical insights on growing revenue, saving money, and succeeding in a hyper-competitive market. IGNITE 2015 features 39 in-depth sessions, 2 inspiring keynotes, and 8 networking events. IGNITE 2015 is the must-attend event for ecommerce entrepreneurs. Read the rest of this entry »

People sometimes select expert witnesses for legal cases based merely on surface qualifications and comparative costs. But, you may get what you pay for — cheaper fees may give you someone who isn’t experienced enough to be thorough in their research on your issues, and that upfront savings may result in a costly loss in court.

Also, for some of us, the satisfaction of a job that’s well-done for a worthy client is more than merely a fee — we believe deeply in the SEO expert witness work that we do and aim to provide the highest quality possible to insure best chances of success.

This is why I was so very gratified to receive the following thank-you note this morning:

SEO Expert Witness - client testimonial note.

“I just wanted to let you know that we settled the ______ v. _______ matter at mediation. While the terms are confidential, our clients were pleased with the result and are happy to finally put the case behind them. I believe your great report played a significant role in getting the matter resolved.

Frankly, I believe the best strategy where lawsuits are concerned is to not go to court at all.

When two parties take a dispute to court, it can often be an example of lose-lose, because both sides will often end up paying a considerable amount to attorneys, court costs, and all the ancillary costs involved with lawsuits — including sapping the time of the two parties involved that might otherwise be able to invest their time into further building their successes. It’s easier in life to achieve destruction than it is to create and invent something. Read the rest of this entry »

Argent Media CEO, Chris Silver Smith, was interviewed recently by Gemma Birch of Webcertain TV on the topic of “Online Reputation Management – The Dark Side of the Internet”.

Chris Silver Smith interviewed by Gemma Birch on Webcertain TV about Online Reputation Management


“It has never been easier to create smear campaigns and publish defamatory content online – and the impact of such campaigns on individuals can be huge. Chris Silver Smith discusses the challenges the industry faces to reduce this, the responsibility of search engines and social networks to remove content and how individuals can help to protect themselves.” Read the rest of this entry »

Argent Media CEO, Chris Silver Smith, will be presenting a session on “Repairing and Safeguarding Your Brand Online” at the Rocks Digital Marketing Conference in Dallas next week. Request a discount code if you’d like to attend!

Chris Silver Smith Reputation Management Dallas

Chris has worked on various aspects of Online Reputation Management (“ORM”) for many years and has extensive experience in Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) and other aspects of online marketing and internet technology.

Your company doesn’t have to have a problem with the impression that’s created when people search for your brand name for you to need to work on your online reputation! All companies are likely to be criticized or even attacked online at some point, and proactive online reputation is a necessity for you to reduce the impact and avoid later costs when this may happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Hallelujah! Google has announced that they’ll soon accept takedown requests from any revenge porn victims! This is a truly fantastic bit of news for anyone who may be the victim of revenge porn — where someone posts nude and compromising photos of one without consent online.

Google Revenge PornThis is really, really great news! Unfortunately, this doesn’t put me out of business in assisting victims of porn revenge. I hate to say that, since this is a very good thing that Google has done, but it’s somewhat only a portion of the whole picture surrounding revenge porn and similar reputation-attack issues. Thus far, this sounds like it only will be limited to the removal of images. So, that leaves videos, right? And, some cases of revenge porn I’ve dealt with involved both text and image content — there would continue to be text content showing up unless the victims go to further lengths to remove that. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the most controversial areas of online marketing is that of business reviews and ratings. Companies intensely feel impact to their pride and their bottom line when they receive negative consumer reviews, and this consternation does little to reduce the desire of other companies to publish them like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, online yellow pages, and others. Google and Bing both display star rating values in search results as well, rendering average rating values highly visible, too.

Business Reviews & Ratings In Search Engine Results

I’ve been writing on business reviews management issues and presenting sessions on the subject at various conferences of late, and I’ve been involved in online reviews for many years. Members of my team at Verizon worked on the technical development of the online reviews system used by, for instance, and having this insider view of how large companies editorially manage reviews has been very useful in my consulting work where I assist businesses in developing ratings markup to appear in search results, help companies develop strategies to elicit more positive reviews for SEO value and promotional advantage, and in addressing negative online reputation aspects (see “10 Ideas: How To Fix A Damning Business Review“.

Argent Media works on many aspects of Online Reputation Management (“ORM”), including issues involving company reviews and ratings. Read on for details… Read the rest of this entry »

As part of the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, Chris Silver Smith, Argent Media CEO, will be speaking at the Local Search Advantage Workshop on June 4, 2015.

Local Search Advantage


The Local Search Advantage Workshop provides a deep dive into many of the primary aspects of local marketing, covering all of the topics necessary for local businesses to be found online by buyers when they’re looking to purchase.

Chris Silver Smith will be presenting a session titled “(Re)Building Your Online Reputation” which will cover: Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been very excited that Search Engine Land‘s editors have recently allowed me to start a new column series dedicated to Online Relationship Management, which will be published on their sister site, Marketing Land! My first article for it, “9 Key Points for Cleaning Up Your Online Reputation Nightmare Via SEO“, appeared a few weeks ago. In that article, I tried to provide some basic steps for people who wish to try the do-it-yourself approach, or for agencies less familiar with this type of work.

Online Reputation Can Be a Car Wreck on the Information Superhighway!

I’ve worked at various aspects of Online Reputation Management (“ORM”) for a number of years now, as a sideline of Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”). This has involved a whole range of aspects of ORM — from handling local business reviews, fighting RipOff Report pages, removing lies and defamation from Wikipedia, and helping clients to deploy websites and social media accounts to counter and displace negative materials that damage their reputations.

I’m fascinated by the human stories involved with ORM work — it’s highly compelling to me because it has such a big impact upon people’s lives, compared to the mere jockeying to attain high rankings for commercial keyword phrases. To a large degree in the interactive world of today, your name is equivalent to your identity. You don’t realize just how much your online identity is central to your relationships and success in the real world until it becomes damaged — the perceptions created by the materials that appear when your name is searched in Google, Bing and other search engines is nearly inseparable in people’s minds from your actual identity.

I’m compelled to work in this area by the human stories and how much my work can help people so directly. I have come to know so many things through the various cases I’ve worked upon — fascinating stories about what often happens behind-the-scenes to what you see in the shallow surface you see represented in the search results. Read the rest of this entry »

On the second Wednesday of each month, DFWSEM (Dallas-Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association) presents a social and networking event, complete with a speaker who can hold the attention of a hungry after-work crowd. They were fortunate enough to persuade Andy Beal, from the UK via NC, to take the lectern this month.

Ukulele addict and online reputation management (“ORM”) expert Beal presented Reputation Roadkill — Learning from the ‘OMG’ Moments of the Biggest Brands. His examples were both international and capable of inducing winces before he concluded with some cases of companies handling social media challenges right.

Andy Beal at DFWSEM Meeting, March 2015

He began with some statistics: 83% of corporations will encounter hits to their reputations in the next five years, and 87% of consumers will associate the reputation of a CEO or other leader with the reputation of their company. A reminder that could’ve helped the first of Beal’s examples, Satya Nadella.

In October of 2014, after having been Microsoft CEO for less than a year, Nadella was asked for his advice to women who are uncomfortable requesting raises. His response, that women shouldn’t ask but rather rely on the system and karma, was more than a little controversial, and caused a social media backlash. Beal’s takeaway from this was simple: You only have one reputation. The public will connect leadership’s views and statements with the company, whether you want them to or not.

Beal’s second example was Uber’s Emil Michael. At a party, Michael suggested to a journalist that Uber should Read the rest of this entry »

About [Ag] Search Blog

Research, thoughts, commentary about Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Online Reputation Management, and SEO Expert Witness Service. Provided by Argent Media.


  • Chris Silver Smith: Good point about Gawker being a muckraking site in of itself. But there are a number of others who [...]
  • Rob M: Referencing Gawker for character assassination isn't so helpful since they were sued into oblivion b [...]
  • Chris Silver Smith: Don - it might be more motivating, sure, but my argument remains the same: someone shouldn't be vili [...]
  • Don: It would help your argument if you could say the Got News claims are totally false. [...]
  • 10 domain name secrets to repair your online reputation: […] Naturally, you could include all sorts of things — your street address, city, state, [...]

Chris Silver Smith at SMX West