I’ve spoken about gaining visibility for your personal brand many times. When you have the spotlight on you, the “haters” come out to play.

When you stand for something, there are going to be people or groups that are against you. Every Hollywood celebrity has AT LEAST one person in this world who hates them. Unless you’re Gandhi, there’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t get along with everyone. I think it’s important for all of you to learn what to do when these “haters” come after you.

Yesterday, I had an incident where a group of people in a forum posted a total of 21 entries citing my name, picture, and a video. Their thoughts were all negative and very harsh. Aside from trying to rip apart my personal brand behind my back, they decided to post comments on my MODERATED blog 9 times in order to really dig into me. First, I’m going to show you what they said and then I’m going to go over what I did in response and what you can do if this should arise in your life.

Please note that I’m not upset or angry. I like to take punishment, so I can help protect all of you.

Some of the comments

  • “He is inspiring. He can make any blog a success (except apparently his own).”
  • “I’d hire him…as a dart board.”
  • “He does look cartoonish! He looks like one of those cartoon characters who wear glasses, and when they take them off, their eyes are really tiny and squinty. But he’s pretty cute for a squirrel getting hit by a car. BRAND ME SCHAWBEL!”
  • “Regardless of how smart his ideas are (for the record I won’t read any of them), this guy is a major douchebag.”
  • “This fella is quite sincere about all this, unless of course this is a joke of Andy Kaufman like magnitude. It’s a thought.”
  • “He’s in Boston, so he could just be exceptionally annoying.”

What I did

I did absolutely nothing about this situation (until I blogged about it today). This discussion board is locked down, so I couldn’t register as a user. Also, the conversation wasn’t based on fact; it was a bunch of immature opinions. To these people, it wasn’t about analyzing my brand. Instead they wanted to tear into my brand and spare no expense. If I weighted in, the situation would have gotten worse. The best move was to back-off and let the situation settle. Ignoring works!

Dan why aren’t you linking us to this forum post? Your Google results are so important. What Google says about you is how others will perceive you. I have 124,000 Google results for my name right now, so the chances of this forum gaining traction and placing in the top 10 is near impossible. If I were to link to it in this post, it might give the forum wings, and we certainly wouldn’t want that!

Your options

1) Do nothing and ignore. When you can’t post a comment or write an email to the haters, then just sit back and ignore it. If the site has low authority and credibility (such as the above forum), then Google will brush the incident under a carpet (it will always be there though).

2) Show them the facts. Any legit source, such as the NY Times or TechCrunch will revise their articles if they don’t get their facts straight. It’s part of good journalism and building a brand. Send the journalist an email citing the facts and ask them nicely to repost or revise the article.

3) Comment with your opinion. If the article allows comments (blogs, forums, traditional news sites), then feel free to comment. When you comment, you MUST reveal the real brand you and not make up a fictitious name. Trolls should stay under the drawbridge. They have no place “hanging out” on blogs.

4) Blog about it: After showing them the facts and commenting, they might still not budge. The next step, is to post about it in your own blog. Only do this if you have to. I blogged about this incident to show that bad publicity does happen and what to do about it.

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