If you haven't already I recommend you begin with Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 1 and follow the links back to here.
So here is what we've learned thus far about Reputation Management Consultants-- the company hired by the City of Greensboro to clean up the City's online reputation:
RMC charges from $10,000 to $100,000 per month (perhaps more) depending on the wealth of the client and continues to charge that amount as long as their services are required.
RMC calls their service, “Inoculation” as if they were curing something. But inoculation is "the introduction of a pathogen or antigen into a living organism to stimulate the production of antibodies" in an attempt to prevent disease, not cure disease. What RMC is selling is a cure for self inflicted wounds that have already happened. Propagandists and their words...
RMC claims not to remove actual content from the Internet but why hire RMC over a search engine optimization company if they can't make things disappear altogether? After all, if it's still out there it can still come back to bite you. Besides, City staff already does all the things RMC claims to do-- social media, press releases to PR web, etc-- why the duplication?
RMC provides "easy-to-read Monthly Reports."
And so with that in mind I submitted the following Public Information
Request titled RMC 3 to the City of Greensboro via the City's PIRT
system on Sunday, September 18, 2016:
Just to prove I actually sent it I give you the automatically generated e-mail confirmation If you're having trouble reading these screen grabs you may click on them to enlarge them.
And all of this begs the question: is RMC the only reputation management company the City of Greensboro has contracted with? I would ask that question but Greensboro Public Information Policy exempts the City from answering questions.
You can bet that will change when I am elected Mayor of Greensboro.
And Greensboro's problems with public records continue but do they seek to change it for the better? No, they hire reputation management companies to silence what slips through the cracks.
So what are our concerns with reputation management companies? From Wikipedia as of September 18, 2016:
Now you tell me, what need could an open and honest government have for such services? The City of Greensboro isn't in the business of selling you anything-- are tax dollars being used to protect elected leaders personal reputations?
Are tax dollars being used to keep damaging information posted to rarely read blogs from reaching the main stream media?
There is only one Greensboro, North Carolina, the City has little need for search engine optimization unless they're paying to optimize the websites that write most favorably about the City and those who are elected to lead us.
Or is this simply astroturfing at taxpayers' expense?
And why are public records still being hidden from the citizens of Greensboro?
Continue reading when Adding To Roch's Pile: Part 8 goes online.