Many employers today are conducting do-it-yourself background checks by surfing search engines and other social network sites such as Faceboook and MySpace.  I have discussed the risks and liabilities of utilizing such background checks in the past.

Another reason to be careful before using search engines or social network sites is "cyber slamming".  It occurs when defamatory statements are made about individuals on the Internet.  The Internet is full of sites and chat rooms where anyone can make postings.  Some of these may be anonymous comments that are not reliable.

Recently I was contacted by a prospective client who complained someone was writing defamatory and damaging comments about them on the Internet.  While a lawsuit is a consideration another option may be a service from ReputationDefender which attempts to remove such harmful comments for a fee and also provides monitoring services for clients.

I also suggest you follow this tip from Susan Cartier Liebel:

The same way  you check your credit report on an annual basis, Google your name and your company’s name on a weekly basis to see if there is any information circulating that you find is potentially threatening to you.  You must stay proactive and aggresively stamp out any malicious virus threatening to infect and destroy your good name on the internet.   

Like so many things from a legal prospective, protecting your reputation on the Internet requires you to be proactive.