Rob Enderle, Leading Tech Analyst Highlights Digital Assassination as 'Product of the Week'
12.24.2012, THE ENDERLE GROUP
Rob Enderle, leading tech analyst in Silicon Valley, named Digital Assassination his product of the week in his TechNewsWorld post on safety and problem-solving.
The money quote:
"Increasingly, your reputation will be your greatest personal asset in a digital world. If you don't learn how to protect it, then you may lost that reputation, and with it much of your career potential.''
A friend of mine owns a small but very successful Italian restaurant near the campus of UCLA in West Los Angeles called Pomodoro. He's been there 20 years. The 45 tables are always filled, the food is always terrific, and he manages to stop by every table in the place at least once during dinner service. Over the years, many people have encouraged him to expand and add locations, but he prefers the quaint, authentic and personal approach to his business.
Recently, he told me that his restaurant was attacked on Yelp by a disgruntled patron who not only gave the lowest possible rating, but also berated both the restaurant and him personally for just about everything, including his operating policy of not taking reservations. What made it worse was that the complaint was lengthy, detailed, and well written so as not to appear spurious and random.
My friend was distraught. He was so upset that he could not figure out how to respond without making things worse. He asked me what I thought he should do. I'm no Yelp expert, but I know one. I spoke with Richard Torrenzano, CEO of The Torrenzano Group in New York City, who co-authored a book last year on this very topic, called Digital Assassination.
Chris Pierre, KeyNorth Group: " Well researched and succinct treatment of the subject"
For anyone interested in an exploratory review of how the reputation of an individual or brand can be decimated by online attacks I recommend the book Digital Assassination by Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis.
The book begins with a review of how propaganda has been used throughout history and what we can learn from these historical lessons. The practice of character assassination and misinformation has been around for a long time, but the eternal memory, the ease of access and the distribution capability of Internet related technologies has changed the game quite significantly.
The suppression of search engine results is one aspect of this practice. The field of Search Engine Optimization has a sub-specialty called “On-Line Reputation Management” which deals with how to suppress and otherwise manage search results relating to one’s own search results. Of course, these techniques, combined with a few other types of hacks can be used to “manage” the on-line reputation of a target as well. A good summary of these techniques is available on Mike Black’s blog article called Negative Seo.
So what are the white collar crime connections? There are plenty. While the book describes the use of these techniques by hedge fund managers to repress the brand, and therefore the share price of companies they wish to trade in it doesn’t take much imagination to think of ways in which these techniques could be used to facilitate white collar crime problems – and to defend against them. Releasing confidential/proprietary information, smear campaigns, and election fraud are a few examples.
Ultimately, white collar crime is always informational crime. Deceit and concealment are, generally speaking, fundamental tenants of fraud and in order to be successful, fraud requires someone to rely on false/misleading information or the absence of information.
Litigation support consultants, investigators and security professionals who are charged with managing white collar crime for their organization should be aware of the techniques identified in this book. Executives would benefit from its content as well.
Many of us know this stuff from our own work, but it’s rare to find it such a well researched and succinct treatment of the subject.
Directorship Magazine calls Digital Assassination: "Fascinating guide to surviving in the age of digital mayhem"
Both friends and foes of Wiki-Leaks should read Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks by Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis. Torrenzano is no armchair crisis-management expert but a hands-on, in-the-trenches veteran of many crises managed during his time as communications honcho for the New York Stock Exchange. He has coauthored a fascinating guide to surviving in the age of digital mayhem. No person and no fact is safe from the ability to distort, revise and re-publish all forms of rumors, half-truths and insinuations about anyone living on this planet, now or then.
In the introduction, an anecdote is used to illustrate how even an event as closely watched and documented as the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy can be used to assault the reputation of an innocent RFK aide—without any known reason for doing so. Whim, revenge or pure error all count for good reasons to post an item on the Internet and then let the search engines do their thing.
The Internet is, in a word, about volume. Traffic is a pattern, not a community, although if you create enough traffic you can have both. If you can convince a portion of that traffic of a fact, however incorrect or biased, it becomes regarded as true just as surely as drivers follow a detour sign on a busy highway. The book’s structure eloquently takes the reader through the “seven forms of digital assassination,” teaches just enough technology and Internet philosophy to help the noninitiate find his way, and then provides a glimpse of the promised land. Biblically speaking, where there are seven risks, there are seven saviors—and Torrenzano and Davis portray a realistic vision of how people and companies can help shape their digital reputation.
Social Media, Crisis Expert: "Gird your loins, lest you be the next victim of digital assassination."
03.14.2012, CHRIS SYME
Chris Syme, principal of CKSyme.org in Bozeman, Montana comments:
Digital Assassination is an eye opener. If you didn’t understand the unbelievable power of the internet to ruin lives and organizations before you read the book, you will after. But authors Mark Davis and Richard Torrenzano don’t point a finger of blame at the internet or even at social media. On the contrary, through vivid history lessons, they remind us that character assassination is not new—the 24/7, instant global reach of the internet is. Taking us back to the covert, personal attacks that Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton leveled at each other through journalistic outlets, we see that public human cruelty is not new. As the authors said, “this books starts with the insight that the underlying issue is not the proliferation of dangerous technologies, but the amplification of human meanness."
Crisis managers and communication directors should take notes while reading. Any crisis plan should include strategies for combating the weapons of digital destruction...Gird your loins, lest you be the next victim of digital assassination.
What steps have you taken to combat digital assassination?
Read the entire review at CKSyme.org
Leading Information Security Manager and Author: "Digital Assassination...should be required reading"
03.01.2012, BEN ROTHKE
Ben Rothke, author of "Computer Security - 20 Things Every Employee Should Know" and reviewer for Slashdot and Security Management magazine, comments:
The original Luddites couldn’t stop the industrial revolution, and no one can stop the digital one. The only logical response is to adapt. Just as any business executive would ensure that the company’s physical perimeter is secured, so too must today’s executive ensure that the company’s online presence is secured. For those serious about a way to do that, Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks should be required reading.
Leading International Journalist and President, Foreign Press Association of New York: "Provides a new term to be added to the media lexicon"
02.01.2012, ALLAN CAPPER
Allan Capper, President, Foreign Press Association of New York comments:
The new book "Digital Assassination" provides a new term to be added to the media lexicon.
The book shows corporations and high profile individuals the dark side of the Internet -- the speed in which malicious reputation damaging information can be spread -- requiring new methods of protection.
As a respected and highly experienced reputation consultants Torrenzano & Davis provide a number of shields to fend off the dark knights of Digital Assassination...and a very enjoyable read.
Restaurant Hospitality Magazine Offers Advice to Restaurateurs from Digital Assassination
01.26.2012, RESTAURANT HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE
HOW TO MUZZLE YELP CRITICS
...Torrenzano and Davis spell out their “game plan for digital defense.” There’s an extensive one for big companies like McDonald’s, but the authors suggest best practices small businesses like restaurants can use, too.
A subchapter titled “Managing Digital Platforms” provides keystroke-specific instructions for maintaining a positive image on Facebook, Yelp, Wikipedia and other technology platforms.
Also included are simple strategies to address the elements that control search engine optimization (SEO). The idea is to make sure that your customers can find your restaurant, and not wacko criticism about it, when they search for you on the web. Get SEO right and those anonymous negative reviews may not disappear, but they’ll be much, much harder for potential customers to find.
You can’t necessarily defeat your digital demons. But Torrenzano and Davis can help you minimize and neutralize their effectiveness. For most restaurant owners, that would be plenty.
The Washington Times: "...One that brands, businesspeople and public officials must take seriously if they want to thrive in today's digital age."
01.19.2012, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
David All, chief creative officer of the David All Group, an online communications and branding firm that offers reputation management and other services, reviewed Digital Assassination: Protecting your Reputation, Brand and Business Against Online Attacks for The Washington Times. All writes:
"The Internet is a boundless universe of information and connections that fuels the economy, enhances world culture and fosters democracy. But it also is home to digital assassins who lurk undetected and lob verbal, visual and technological grenades to ruin reputations - and enlist others via social media to achieve their evil ends more quickly.
That’s the ugly reality of online life as painted by Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis in their new book, 'Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand or Business Against Online Attacks.' It’s a largely accurate portrayal - one that brands, businesspeople and public officials must take seriously if they want to thrive in today’s digital age."
Top U.S. Policy Advisor: "Digital Assassination should be in the hands of anyone who has a good name..."
10.18.2011, GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN
--General Michael Hayden, most recent Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and longtime head of the super-secret, ultra-high technology National Security Agency comments:
Torrenzano and Davis blend a compelling narrative, killer anecdotes and page-turning prose into a sober and worrying account of what happens when the darker side of human nature harnesses the connectedness and anonymity of today's web. Their Digital Assassination should be in the hands of anyone who has a good name -- or a good business -- to protect.
Publishers Weekly chooses Digital Assassination as Book to Watch - Fall 2011
This book shows how anyone can be a target of online identity attacks, and readers will find witty writing and expert advice on how to guard against and respond to such attacks. Loaded with interesting anecdotes on how the Internet, media, and other technologies are used by unscrupulous people to disparage an individual’s or company’s reputation, the book demonstrates how these attacks have become more prevalent and widespread, thanks to the Internet age. From the character assassination that ensued from a feud between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, to the leaking of private information on current celebrities, the book identifies “seven swords” of digital assassination that are common and timeless strategies for character attacks. Just as easily as a “Silent Slasher” slandered John Seigenthaler in a Wikipedia hoax, others engage in “Clandestine Combat” and “Jihad by Proxy.” Torrenzano and Davis share key defensive strategies applicable to businesses and individuals. These “seven shields” show how to build defenses against online attacks and how to maintain a positive image or brand on popular technology platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
— Cindy Kryszak
Booklist, November 15, 2011 Issue
O'Dwyers PR Blog Features Digital Assassination
New Book Warns of Rep Attacks on Web
New York counselor Richard Torrenzano and former White House speechwriter Mark Davis have authored "Digital Assassination," warning people and companies about attacks on websites, some of them un-moderated, that can destroy reputations and businesses.
The book was published today by St. Martin’s Press at .99 and is available in hardcopy at Amazon and also via Kindle.
"Companies and people are being hit with false Wikipedia entries, false and malicious entries on un-moderated websites such as yelp.com, obscene fake images, and misuse of material on Facebook," say the authors.
"The web has effectively brought an end to privacy and individuals and companies must start fighting back," they advise.
>Objects of 'stealth' attacks may not even know what’s being said about them in various web venues, they point out in a chapter headed, “Silent Slashers.”
"Gossip-oriented websites have pushed aside traditional media and do anything but 'balanced reporting'," they say.
Former NYSE Chairman & CEO: "It is a must read for every CEO and top executive..."
10.17.2011, DICK GRASSO
--Dick Grasso, former Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, New York Stock Exchange, comments:
Digital Assassination provides a compass --as well as a road map-- for navigating the potholes, pitfalls and landmines of our new digital world. It is a must read for every CEO and top executive.
Publishers Weekly: "The extent of their research and suggestions for blunting attacks...make for a compelling read."
"There are no shortage of ways that a malicious person can—with no great expense or trouble to himself—use the Internet to assassinate character," say strategic communications expert Torrenzano and consultant Davis...The book’s great strengths are its exhaustive research and its discussion of how principles of human behavior, not technology, are the driving factors behind this dark side of the Internet...The extent of their research and suggestions for blunting attacks...make for a compelling read.
COO of the Public Broadcasting System: "Digital Assassination is incredibly timely"
10.15.2011, MICHAEL JONES
Michael Jones, Chief Operating Office, Public Broadcasting System (PBS) comments:
Digital Assassination is incredibly timely. It unveils Internet attacks by invisible destructive villains, while offering actionable solutions to defend personal reputations and corporate brands.
Technology Futurist and Author of Groundswell: "...Pay heed to the keen and timely advice here."
10.14.2011, CHARLENE LI
--Charlene Li, author of the best-seller and visionary book "Groundswell" and "Open Leadership," comments:
Do you have a good reputation? Then be sure to protect it by reading Digital Assassination where the authors lay out seven ways you and your company can be irreparably harmed at the speed of a Twitter post. Knowledge is power, so pay heed to the keen and timely advice here.
Leading Author, Business Executive and Consultant: "Everyone...needs to...protect themselves when they go online."
10.12.2011, DON TAPSCOTT
--Don Tapscott, bestselling author, most recently Grown Up Digital and Macrowikinomics comments:
The Net is a reflection of everything good and bad in society, and as such has a dark side. Everyone and every organization needs to manage their reputation and protect themselves when they go online. That's the critical message of Digital Assassination.
Leading Author, Founder of Ricochet.com and Host of the Online Show Upcoming Knowledge:
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but in the digital age names will ruin your reputation, cost you jobs and contracts, and destroy your career. Digital Assassination tells you just how to defend yourself. Indispensable—and completely engrossing.
Author, Speaker and CEO of Serve to Lead:"A must-read for anyone navigating today's social media seas"
10.09.2011, JAMES STROCK
James Strock, Author, Speaker on Transformational Leadership, and CEO of Serve to Lead comments:
...Richard Torrenzano and Mark Davis are highly respected communications professionals. They have explored the further reaches of the Internet and returned with a Baedeker for our time: Digital Assassination: Protecting Your Reputation, Brand, or Business Against Online Attacks...
Andy Warhol declared, in the mid-20th century, that everyone would have fifteen minutes of fame. Torrenzano and Davis warn, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, that everyone can face fifteen minutes of shame...
...Digital Assassination identifies a series of “swords” which you may encounter in your social media journey. The authors demonstrate that history can provide a lot of instruction, at least for perspective. They also recognize that there are unique aspects of the Digital Age. They offer a credo: In a digital world, age needs to approach technology with greater skill. Youth needs to approach technology with greater wisdom.
The book does not simply identify the threats; it also offers “shields.” Each is a serviceable approach to reputation management. If that sounds rather grand–Madison Avenue-speak–consider that everyone has a reputation to manage online today. The only question is Who Will Manage Your Reputation?
Torrenzano and Davis have put together a Baedeker with a difference. Armed with their guide, you can emerge unbowed–and, hopefully, unscathed– from the risk of digital assassination. Even more importantly, you will be better equipped to craft your own identify, in ways both apparent and profound.
Digital Assassination is a must-read for anyone navigating today’s social media seas.
New York Journal of Books: "Knowledgeable exploration for anyone who wants to know how to survive in the digital universe."
10.09.2011, NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS
The New York Jounal of Books, a leading book review panel consisting of bestselling and award-winning authors, journalists, experienced publishing executives and tenured academics comments:
Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because whether or not you use the Internet, you do have a digital reputation to protect, and you had better pay attention to it. Those who do use the Internet have a bigger stake in the game, but even if you've never been "online," never signed on to an electronic mail account, selected a site with a web browser, or even owned a computer, you still have a digital reputation...
For the famous and not-so-famous, the reasons for ruining a reputation, a product or business, changing an election outcome or "getting even" has not changed since the rise of modern newspapers, the 18th century coffee house, or even cave paintings. But using the Internet, through its many business, communication formats and applications, allows those with power, as well as those without, access to so many ways to cleverly and quietly manipulate a persona, that Digital Assassination outpaces its many analog counterparts by a factor greater than we can imagine...
At the close of Digital Assassination, Mr. Torrenzano and Mr. Davis explain how the best defense is a good offense in "The Seven Shields of Digital Assassination." They address each of the "seven swords" from the previous chapters. From being "Internet Savvy" to completing an honest "self-inventory," to "looking at yourself from the point of view of a digital assassin" and creating a "new and improved" image on the web, the authors tell us how to survive and if necessary, to recover. Also included is a game plan that can be personalized as a strategic and tactical approach.
...Digital Assassination is a comprehensive, knowledgeable exploration for anyone who wants, or needs, to know more about how best to survive in the digital universe.
Former Chairman & CEO, American Stock Exchange & NASD vice chairman; former Dean, Hofstra University School of Business: "Every CEO and senior executive should read Digital Assassination"
12.06.2011, SALVATORE F. SODANO
-- Sal Sodano, Former Chairman & CEO, American Stock Exchange & NASD vice chairman; former Dean, Hofstra University School of Business; Sorin Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Hofstra University comments:
If you think you know what can go wrong with your company's use of the internet, think again. Every CEO and senior executive should read Digital Assassination before implementing their internet strategy. It's an eye opener.