The Internet has been a boon for employers to find fresh graduates ready for work. Many employers not only look for resumes but also Google prospective employees. What an future employer might see is not always a pretty picture.
For a fee, ReputationDefender will do the grunt work of contacting data hosting services and requesting the removal of any materials that might endanger a student's reputation.
For $10 to $16 per month, ReputationDefender will produce a report that will detail unsavory references to an individual. All those MySpace and Facebook photos of the scantily clad and falling-down-drunk can be wiped away for a mere $30 per instance.
"I don't like the idea that kids and teenagers might suffer lifelong harm because of momentary mistakes," says Michael Fertik, who along with his partners conceived of the idea after seeing so many students' reputations being damage on social networking sites.
But website owners don't have to do as ReputationDefender asks - until a judge tells them to. But that scenario - of being haled into court to preserve a sweet young thing's tarnished reputation - is not one that many websites relish.
"Most people will take materials down just to avoid the hassle of dealing with possible litigation," says Susan Crawford, an associate professor at Cardozo Law School, who specializes in cyberlaw and telecommunications law.