Steve Cloward and Reputation Management
Perform a Google search of Steve Cloward and you will see the picture develop of a local businessman and family man succeeding against the travails of the world.
We base a lot of what we think, that first impression, on what we see on the Internet. If what we see is good, we think positively about the person, organization or company we’re looking up. If we see bad things…complaints, criticisms and so forth, we think negatively. At the least, we question the object of our search.
The Steve Cloward search shows numerous social networking profiles, videos, photos and even pay-per-click ads to fill up that first page of Google with what he wants you to see about his business and family. Based on what you see, you’d think this person is reputable and honest. Perhaps, someone you might want to do business with right? Steve even wrote –
I had the great fortune to learn a lot about business and focusing on satisfying the customer. Customer satisfaction, by offering a great service, at a fair price, in a fair amount of time, is all you need to focus on and the business income will take care of itself. The employees in any business are the answer to your success.
Steve Cloward’s Internet reputation seems perfect. A bit too perfect. You see, at the time of this writing, Mr. Cloward is behind bars…not at the Utah County jail, not even the State Penitentiary. Steve Cloward is in Federal Prison in Colorado for his part in a $50 million real estate fraud scheme. ADX Florence is one of two “Supermax” prisons housing the likes of
- Unabomber Ted Kaczynski
- 911 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui
- Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols
- Shoe bomber Richard Reid
- and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph
There’s also a minimum security branch where Cloward is likely serving with Enron conspirator Andy Fastow.
Steve Cloward pleaded guilty to fraud in 2008 and clearly spent his time before reporting to prison for 33 months trying to clean up his online reputation. On my old real estate blog, I followed the story closely. In fact, one of my old breadcrumbs still shows up on page five of the Cloward SERP. When Steve completes his prison sentence, he’ll be working toward paying a multi-million dollar Federal judgment without the benefit of his appraisers license that has been justifiably revoked.
This knowledge makes reading his website a little bit more informative, especially when he tries to explain why he isn’t an appraiser any more. Isn’t it coincidental his business had a name change right after the first indictment was handed down? My favorite statement on his site concerns the economy which he had a direct hand in bringing down –
Through Planet Buzz.com and the My Buzz Code business opportunity that is offered by Planet Buzz, there are multiple verticals and niche markets to go after. Pick yours, call me today and start your financial recovery from the losses in the market, jobs, and overall economy.
I know it seems like I’m picking on this guy, but I followed every step of this case very closely and even got some behind the scenes info from people close to the case. I don’t think Steve Cloward deserves a free pass because he engaged in reputation management strategies.
Even if I didn’t know who this person was, some of his strategies scream of trying too hard. For instance the keyword stuffing on the right side of his “home” page. He’s also got multiple home pages here and here. There’s a blog he stopped updating last year and a Myspace page with only five friends and no recent activity. His Twitter account has one tweet and his other account has been banned. You can see why here.
Overall, Mr. Cloward has done a good job of covering his tracks. He’s been helped by the fact several other people have his same name, but the majority of it has been working at pushing the bad stuff down…a strategy CareerBuilder recommends for the non-felons among us.
“Potential employers are far less likely to find something if it is on the 10th page of your search results,” Grossbart says.
“It can also be worthwhile to post more content to the same site. If your dirt is on Facebook, then posting more good professional content right there is likely to replace your dirt.”
What can we learn from Steve Cloward about online reputation management?
1. Create multiple social networking profiles, even if you don’t use them. The power of the network will SEO you to the top.
2. Create blogs with your name heavily featured.
3. Buy domains with your name in them and put up a landing page with basic info.
4. Create multiple Twitter accounts containing your name.
Whether you’re a hard partying college student seeking a job, a company with detractors or a convicted felon, you can probably use some reputation management online. Steve Cloward’s strategy is brilliant at pushing down the negative, but not so brilliant in creating a realistic portrait that doesn’t beg for more questions to be asked.
In my next article I’ll discuss how to assess negative information about you on the Internet.