Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: Giving the Gift of Virtural Presence


“Let’s face it – many people are over the shopping scene – limited on cash – here is a great idea for anyone that using the Internet! Which is about everyone!!!!”
The who:

• * Help jump-start your potential college applicant/application.
• * Out of work? Learn to promote your skills online.
• * Professional or small business owner? Learn to own and manage your virtual image.

The why:
•53% of Americans Google each other. Pew Internet & American Life
•26% of college admissions officers use search engines to research candidates. University of Massachusetts Center for Market Research
•64% of teens say that most teens do things online that they wouldn't want their parents to know about. anti-drug.com
•77% of executive recruiters use search engines to research applicants. CareerBuilder

The how:

Tip 1: Check out your social networking sites. If there is information or photo's on there you wouldn't share with your grandparents, chances are they shouldn't be on the Internet. Keep it clean!

Tip 2: Sign up for personal branding services. This is free. Services such as Naymz, Ziggs, LinkedIn and LookUpPage offer free online profile set-ups. Take the time to create your cyber resume. It is important to own your own name and your own background.

Tip 3: Create your own Blog. There are many free Blog sites such as Blogspot and WordPress. Take the time to let your potential college or employer see that you are enthusiastic about your interests and motivated to be all you can be. If you are a professional or business owner, let your future and current clientele see that you are up-to-date and knowledgeable about your products and services. [For example http://www.suescheff.blogspot.com/  and http://www.suescheff.wordpress.com/]

Tip 4: Create Google Alerts for your name, business name and nicknames. This is free. Find out when, how and why your name is being use online. This vital for small businesses especially. If there is a disgruntled client or customer, you want to know and hopefully can rectify the situation before it gets worse.

Here are three tips that have limited fees:

Tip 5: Buy your own URL with your name. For example mine is www.suescheff.com . This can be as little as $7.99 a year through GoDaddy. Build yourself a small website and share with people surfing and researching the web about yourself.

Tip 6: Place your name. Literally you can give the gift of PLACE YOUR NAME with a professional service for as little as $49.95 one time fee. Let them position your name in the search engines, write a press release for you and more. All for one low fee.

Tip 7: Hire an online management service. Although there are many to choose from today, my personal experience is with ReputationDefender. If you know someone that is struggling with online slime, or simply needs a virtual presence or "online make-over" and doesn't have the time or the computer savvy to create their cyber image, consider giving them a gift of relief with an online management service. PS: This is also a great gift to give yourself. In my opinion and experience, Reputation Defender is the pioneer of online reputation management services and number one in my book. (I am not a paid sponsor for them and I don't receive any referral fees from them) I am simply a satisfied client. Costs vary according to your needs. Visit www.reputationdefender.com for their many services, as well as NameGrab, their latest addition.

Do you want more tips and practical guidance to help maintain your cyber profile? Don't forget to purchase Google Bomb, The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet (Health Communications, Inc. August 2009). This book makes the perfect gift for everyone and anyone that uses the Internet, owns a business, has a reputation to protect, applying to schools, looking for jobs and more.

No one is immune to having their Internet image ruined. So for this holiday season, give a present that gives you or the recipient a 'presence'.

Remember it can take 20 years to build up a solid reputation and today it can take 20 minutes of a few vicious keystrokes and a click of the mouse, and those 20 years are history.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sue Scheff: CyberStalking and Internet Defamation Documentary - MUST SEE


For everyone and anyone that is reading this, you use the Internet. I recently watch the most compelling and disturbing documentary. I almost feel like Oprah when I say – you have to watch this! I have never been so moved to anger, rage, and other emotions that we are now confronted with because of monsters that lurk online.

My recent book, Google Bomb, is the tip of the iceberg after watching this film. The victims, and now crusaders, in this film contacted me after hearing about my book and my own experiences.

Many people that have read my book say they have nightmares if they read it before going to bed. I never really understood that. Until I watched this documentary and lived it through other’s lives. My story is horrible, what I endured, however since I was so enmeshed in surviving on a daily basis, I didn’t realize how traumatic it was.

I know many of you have limited time. Watch this 50 minute film in segments if you have to, but watch it.

The title is “Stalkers” however I would prefer to use a phrase that was recently introduced to me – “criminals with a keyboard.”

This film shares two stories with you. One with Graham Brown-Martin (pictured above) and his lovely wife, Wren as well as their toddler daughter and the other with a man, Chay, who in one weak moment had a one night stand that takes obsession to a new level. If there was ever a “Fatal Attraction” through the Internet, we have found it. However, unlike the Hollywood movie, Chay literally only had a one night stand, no strings attached. He never heard again from her until months later, and it would be the worse next years of his life.
Are you ready to watch?

Don’t miss a minute of it! Visit Digital Safety for more information.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book continues with fantastic reviews!


Conversations with Moms interviews our foreword author, Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender.

The response has been overwhelming to Google Bomb book and I am thrilled that the reviews just get better and better. Be sure to order your copy today.


Source: Conversations with Moms

By: Maria Melo

When I wrote about my review of the Google Bomb book, I was not surprised about all the emails and comments I received concerning online reputation. I felt like I had learned a lot from reading this book and was a little less naive about the potential threats online.

Soon after my review, I was contacted and asked if I wanted to speak with Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation Defender. Of course I was intrigued and open to finding out more ways of how we can protect ourselves online.

I think my biggest concern online is keeping my children safe. I hear more and more about cyber-bullying and the damaging effects it has on the children being targeted. Kids can be cruel and the internet has become a weapon in spreading that cruelty. I like the way Michael described it best.

“In the past, kids passed notes in class to spread rumors and viciousness. Now they use the internet. The behavior has not changed, just the medium.”

Follow ReputationDefender on Twitter @RepDef
Follow Conversations with Moms on Twitter @ConversationsWM

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Interview with Conversations with Moms


By Maria Melo


If you haven’t read my review on the, “Google Bomb” book, be sure to read it. It is the untold story of the landmark internet case that won Sue Scheff $11.3 million for defamation of character. I was so amazed with what I read, that I just had to follow through with some questions.


Click here for my complete interview.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sue Scheff: Another Fantastic Book Review for Google Bomb Book





When I first started being active on the internet, I was very naive to the Internet World. I’ve learned a lot in the past year and thought that I truly understood the power of the internet. Until I read, “Google™ Bomb”.


Lets just say that I now feel as though I lived in a cave. I was totally unaware of the true power and damage that the internet can do. I don’t know where I was in 2006 to not have heard of the landmark internet case that won Sue Scheff $11.3 million for defamation of character. The only thing I can think of is that I wasn’t active online and didn’t really pay attention to what happened in the internet world.


When I was asked to review this book, I was curious as to find out what could have happened to Sue to make her have won such a large lawsuit. I had never heard of the term Google™ Bomb and thought it would be an informative read. I HAD NO IDEA JUST HOW MUCH I WOULD LEARN.


I was happy to provide this review if only to spread the word of how vicious the internet could be and in hopes of getting the word out that there are simple things you can do to protect yourself.


Part 2 will be tomorrow.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sue Scheff: A Way Through raves about Google Bomb book!


Google Bomb by John W Dozier Jr. and Sue Scheff

Reviewed by Jane Balvanz

We all know the drill the flight attendant gives before the plane takes off. “Ladies and gentleman, please note the compartment above where the oxygen masks are stored. In case of an emergency, they will drop down. Please put your oxygen mask on first before assisting children or others.” We know why. If you can’t protect yourself first, you can’t help anyone else.

The Google Bomb book is a metaphoric oxygen mask. If we want to protect our kids from cyber bullying, we need to know what can happen to adults on the Internet. While it’s a wonderful place to communicate, conduct business, and access information, the Internet is also a virtual place with cyber land mines. You can’t navigate around them if you don’t know they exist.

A line from the book made me sit up and take notice: “Parents, if you cannot use and understand the technology your kids are using, then don’t allow them to use it. Period.” This wasn’t a call for parents to shut off their kids’ computers, cell phones, or ban them from technological advances. It was a call for parents to know as much as their children about technology, because what you don’t know about the Internet can hurt you….and your family.

This brings to mind one of my friends. She’s a successful business owner, financially astute, and her business is not Internet dependent. In fact, she’s so successful she doesn’t even have to advertise. She’s savvy, but she doesn’t know how to navigate on a computer let alone access the Internet. Her children know more about this technology than she does. They are six and seven.

Now to the matter of why the Google Bomb book exists. Sue Scheff, renowned and respected child and parent advocate and founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts (P.U.R.E.), became the target of unfathomable Internet defamation. She was hit by a Google Bomb. Because of false, defamatory material written about her on the Internet, she became a magnet for serious cyber stalkers and their followers. For a while, Sue’s life was not her own. Her story reads like the horrifying cyber nightmare you never want to experience and a “how to” in case you do.

Though reeling from cyber abuse, Sue refused to become a victim. She took measures to address the damage done. Lucky for us, John Dozier, Jr. and Sue chose to write this book. We benefit because Google Bomb teaches us ways to protect ourselves and our families from Internet abuse. One invaluable section, Top Ten Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself Online, outlines how to take action immediately. The steps are preventative – think oxygen mask vs. domino effect. When your reputation is attacked online, the following can fall, one after the other: others’ trust in you, your job performance, your business, your area of expertise, your self-esteem, chances for advancement, and maybe your job. Your children may be teased or shunned because of it, and the result can be on beyond devastating. Just ask Sue.

In the end, Sue won an $11.3M lawsuit against her cyber stalker. The road was long and painful. The verdict was a landmark decision that changed the way we use the Internet. As you seek to guide and protect your children regarding Internet usage, seek to protect yourself as well. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sue Scheff: More praises for Google Bomb book

I am so overwhelmed at that fantastic reviews Google Bomb is receiving. Yesterday McClatchy-Tribune wrote a wonderful review:

Read it: Google Bomb' aims to protect you from information age trolls

I have received many emails and calls from people all over, singing the praises of Google Bomb. My last caller just told me she ordered 20 copies to share with business associates, as they are now experiencing the effect of a Google bomb from one disgruntled client.

Take cover early - learn how to protect your online image and your cyber resume today!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Why people are praising Google Bomb book



· Who should purchase Google Bomb?

Every person with a name and reputation which they wish to protect should purchase this book. You don’t have to be a technological titan to understand the examples provided. The take-away knowledge provides you a fighting chance to protect, and when necessary, reclaim your reputation. My adage re family online safety is: “Invest in your family’s online safety, commensurate with the value of your family.” This book’s modest price is asymmetrical to the increased value you’ll experience in your reputation safety quotient.

· Why you should purchase Google Bomb

Google Bomb is road-map clear, no missed exits, nor wrong turns, no questionable advice. It is an arrow in your quiver, so that you may defend yourself and/or prepare yourself should you have the unfortunate experience of receiving the vile ill-will of another via the social media environment in which we collectively exist – you do have a fighting chance.

· How Google Bomb touched me

Only infrequently does a book cause a reader to experience a personal visceral reaction; for me, it’s happened only once before. Google Bomb, the telling of Sue Scheff’s personal story in the recovery of her good name and reputation, is such a book, it moved me, and it will move you. Allow me to explain.

Those who know me well will have immediate understanding why a book which charts the Herculean efforts required to reclaim your good name, reputation and professional stature following the actions of a few to destroy, such resonated with me. You see, once you’ve traversed that road of false accusations, you never wish to replicate the journey again, and you’d wish it upon no one.

When it’s happening it’s surreal and unbelievable. Once the realization you aren’t dreaming hits home, you are either overwhelmed and capitulate, in effect self-declared road-kill or you take inventory of all your resources and deduce your good name and honorable reputation are the only remnants of your life worth protecting. You then take these remnants and use them to form the foundation of your reclamation efforts. Even if your first steps may feel a bit like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, persevere, what journey ever started off with every experience preordained?

I appreciated the description of the pivotal moment when Sue described the last straw, the straw which caused her to stand up and say, “Enough already.” I had complete visualization of her reaction when the miscreants who had been attacking her persona and her company, began attacking her children. I had no doubt her “mother bear” instinct to fight and protect her offspring was fully awake and it was game-on!

Unfortunately, bad things do happen to good people. You strive, perhaps seemingly altruistically to bring goodness to this world and awaken one day to find yourself surrounded by vile and unconscionable accusations. Your mindset describes the event as “stupefying,” you are now seemingly being punished for your good works. Google Bomb describes such an experience, Sue’s experience.

· What to do and how to do it

John Dozier’s insightful discussion of events, throughout the book, is clear and concise – the reader can easily understand the, “why” behind each of Sue’s actions. I found myself rereading and noting the legal and technical strategy employed as Sue’s reputation was reclaimed. I was nodding my head with great satisfaction as those wishing ill will upon Sue and her family were identified, held accountable and brought before the courts where they were ultimately held responsible and duly punished.

· Applicability for businesses and intellectual property

John’s extrapolation of his methodologies to the realm of a small, medium, or large company’s reputation and intellectual property protection is spot-on. My own book “Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost” was stolen within 60 days of publication from my publisher, and then shared via peer-to-peer networks (see my article Secrets Stolen, No Just the Intellectual Property which describes the experience). Plainly spoken, if you have intellectual property, “Have a strategy!” to protect it.

· Reputation Defense

Highlighting the good works of Michael Fertik’s Reputation Defender, was personally appreciated, as it reoriented my compass with respect to his firm – I’ll be re-engaging the company to learn more about their capabilities. My first encounter with Reputation Defender can only be described as “going sideways” and I have no doubt it was an anomalous event – I look forward to learning more from Michael or his staff, as Sue’s experiences described in Google Bomb, clearly show them to be effective.

· Google Bomb’s call to action


I agree with and wish to associate myself with the call-to-action contained in the book. We are all responsible for keeping our shared online community safe. When self-policing and self-control fail, then we do require meaningful laws availed to law enforcement and prosecutors. Laws having backbone and are easily understood and are flexible enough to anticipate evolution of technology are required. In essence our current situation is analogous to having a population center of millions without a “time-out” corner.

In my opinion, we need alignment of state and federal statutes which will hold accountable those engaging in cyber stalking, invasion of our privacy, personal impersonation and character defamation. In the United States, well meaning legislators are acting individually and from the optic of their constituent states – we need federal action. Furthermore, restraining orders need to have appropriate meat attached to their bones, with a need to integrate 21st century technologies – in the physical world 100 feet is measurable, in the virtual world, geographic borders are obscured – lets bring technological audit trails, access controlled environments and filtering into play.

It is no small task to fill the international voids which provide haven for both domestic and international criminal or malevolent individuals to operate with impunity, but instead of describing the difficulty, let’s get started. I’m all in! If we don’t all step up and contribute, then Sue’s story will be the first of many more to come.

· My personal thank you

In closing, I’d like Sue to know I’ve great personal empathy for the angst which she and her family experienced and I commend her for her display of personal courage and fortitude, from her decision to stand up and not take it any more, all the way through the sharing of her story so that others may learn from her experiences. For John, your work speaks for itself, nicely done sir.

Thank you Sue also for your good works both individually and through your Parents Universal Resource Experts (PURE); it is clear you are one of the good people, and many families no doubt are grateful beyond their ability to articulate for the assistance you provided. Thank you John for your clear explanations of the legal strategy and steps one can take to protect oneself, you’ve empowered many.

--
Christopher Burgess
Christopher is the senior security advisor within a Fortune 100 company. He is also the co-author of Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost, Preventing Intellectual Property Theft and Economic Espionage in the 21st Century
http://www.secretsstolen.com/
Twitter: @burgessct
This reviewer paid for this book

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book receives praise from CA Defamation Law Blog

California attorney, Adrianos Facchetti, recently reviewed Google Bomb and his comments are amazing. I am always grateful that others are finally hearing and understanding what is happening in cyberspace. It is a growing and expanding problem as small businesses are suffering, reputations tainted, and lives being ruined by a some vicious keystrokes and clicks of a mouse.

Read the outstanding reviews click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: "Google Bomb"! Where was this book last month when I could have used it?


"Google Bomb"! Where was this book last month when I could have used it?

By: Gryphen

Sue Scheff didn't expect she'd make enemies when she founded the child and parenting advocacy organization PURE. But someone began attacking her on the Internet, posting enough defamatory statements to compel her to bring a lawsuit. She won $11.3 million in 2006.In light of what happened to me last month, and what continues to happen to other people attempting to bring out the truth concerning Palin and other GOP leaders, I thought that this might be an important book for people to purchase in order to protect themselves from future attack.

It was written by Sue Scheff and John W. Dozier, who is an expert in "Internet Law", and specializes in representing businesses and individuals who have suffered defamatory attacks via the internet.I am going to purchase this book for my own edification and recommend to my friends, who own blogs and websites, to go out and get themselves a copy as well.There is no telling who the evil minions will go after next and we may as well be ready for them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb book lands in LA Times! (4 part series)


Last week was fantastic as Google Bomb book launched into book stores and Amazon numbers were remarkable! The LA Times did a 4 part series leading up to the official release date of September 1st. Here is part one, which is where Google Bomb begins! An engaging and dynamic foreword by Michael Fertik. For those that know me, I have always stated that my attorney, David Pollack vindicated me in a court of law, and it was Reputation Defender that brought my virtual image back to where it was prior the malicious and defamatory attack on my organization, my name and my family.


Part 1


Sue Scheff didn’t expect she’d make enemies when she founded the child and parenting advocacy organization PURE. But someone began attacking her on the Internet, posting enough defamatory statements to compel her to bring a lawsuit. She won $11.3 million in 2006.
In this exclusive preview of the book “Google Bomb,” Brand X brings you the story of what the lawsuit means, Sue’s own perspective and 10 tips to protect yourself online. The series begins today and will continue through Tuesday, when the book goes on sale [on sale now].
We begin with the foreword by Michael Fertik, CEO and founder of Reputation Defender:


Google is not God. Google is not the First Amendment, and it is not the truth. It is a machine. It may be the best machine invented in the past fifteen years, with myriad benefits for human knowledge and collaboration, but it is still just a machine that operates on rules devised by people. For that reason, it is both inherently fallible and subject to deliberate abuse.
It may be amazing that we actually have to say that Google isn’t God or the equivalent of freedom of speech or informational gospel truth. But it is clear that many of us believe that what shows up on the top of Google results is the most important, best, most accurate, most complete, most reliable, and most up-to-date information about the subject we are searching. From what is publicly understood about Google, it seems that the search engine scientists who work there try very hard to make the most democratically valued information rise to the top, on the basic operating theory that the wisdom of the crowd will, over time, tend to favor the best and most comprehensive websites that discuss a particular topic, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral, cabbages or kings.


But despite what may be Google’s best efforts and intentions, the machine gets it wrong at least as often as it gets it right. The errors and omissions of the world’s search engines visit punishing consequences on the victims of erroneous, obsolete, incomplete, or false information. Nonetheless, despite this mixed (and possibly worsening) track record, the rising primacy of Google as the world’s most important data channel seems to hoodwink many of us into believing what we see when it comes up on the top of Google search results. The theory goes: if it shows up on Google, it must be true and it’s somehow the best information about the subject being searched.


It is clear that people make decisions based on what they find in the top positions on Google: multiple visual “heat maps” published on the Internet have shown that the vast majority of Google users look at the top few results and ignore everything below them.


This is important for all of us, as we have become as searchable as the subjects we crave information on. What shows up at the top of Google can make or break our professional lives, our chances at romance, and our ability to get into the school of our dreams. It is far easier to harm someone and destroy their reputation on the World Wide Web than it is to make that person look great or even plain vanilla neutral. Blogs and discussion forums often enjoy more prominence in search engines than newspapers and other edited professional journals. Under the rules of search engines as they exist today, odd blog and forum corners of the Web can be turned into powerful launch pads of interpersonal attack.


There are real-life consequences when someone aims to destroy someone else on the Internet. It’s all too easy to destroy another person on the Web. In cyber-slamming cases, victims are often intimidated into silence because they feel powerless and helpless, and their first instinct is to shut themselves up so that things don’t “get worse.” Sue, a victim herself, is a rare individual because she decided to stand up for herself on the Web, defend herself in the courts and online, and go about protecting herself and others in an assertive way. You may or may not agree with everything Sue and John have written, but we can all agree that the narrative they tell is an important one for the emerging discussion of Internet, speech, and the speech-shaping powers of Google.


Part 2 Do you know what Google is Saying about you?
Part 3 Ready to protect yourself online? OK, let’s get started
Part 4 The top 10 ways to protect yourself from e-venge

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book featured in Washington Post


I was so flattered and honored to speak with Columnist and Journalist, Kathleen Parker. She interviewed me yesterday and wrote an amazing column which included my new book book, Google Bomb, that is now available on Amazon and will be officially released on September 1st. The endorsements and reviews have been fantastic! There is a ground swell, and I believe we have the making of a best seller. The topic is timely and sizzling with the recent news on Google being forced to expose an anonymous Blogger.


Follow Google Bomb Book on Twitter @GoogleBombBook and @SueScheff


Shock Waves From the Google Bombs


By Kathleen Parker


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When Oscar Wilde observed that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, he could not have imagined the Internet.


The wild frontier we now know and (mostly) love called the blogosphere is a not-always-okay corral where Free Speech is armed and often dangerous.


The latest showdown is between two women — a Vogue model and an anonymous blogger — at odds over what is permissible in the name of free expression. After the blogger called Liskula Cohen a “skank,” among other things, the model demanded her identity from the blog host, Google. A New York Supreme Court judge agreed that she was entitled to the information and ordered the company to reveal her name.


Outraged, the blogger, revealed as Rosemary Port, is launching a $15 million lawsuit against Google for disclosing her identity. Google’s Andrew Pederson said that while his company sympathizes with victims of cyber-bullying, “We also take great care to respect privacy concerns and will only provide information about a user in response to a subpoena or other court order.”

Voila.


This all may seem like an inside-the-runway spat between two women who don’t like each other. As pioneering blogger and law professor Glenn Reynolds noted on Instapundit, “I never would have heard the words ‘Liskula Cohen’ and ’skank’ together if it hadn’t been for her blogger-outing litigation efforts.”


The model case isn’t insignificant, however, and raises weighty questions about privacy, anonymity and the future of e-free speech.


The problem of online defamation is hardly new, but several recent lawsuits have begun challenging the anything-goes modus operandi of the Internet. One of the most famous dates to 2006, when Sue Scheff won a staggering $11.3 million verdict against a woman who had posted hundreds of defamatory comments about Scheff and her company, which counsels the parents of troubled teens.


After years of torment that included stalkers and death wishes, Scheff was able to prove that her reputation and business suffered as a result of the defendant’s comments. In her new book, “Google Bomb,” due for release Sept. 1 and co-authored with attorney John W. Dozier Jr., Scheff tells the story of her lawsuit and offers advice to others similarly defamed online.


“Google bomb” is Internet slang for attempting to raise the ranking of a given page during a Google search. The popularity of a page may not reflect the page’s relationship to truth, but it may be popular for other reasons. Let’s just say, nasty sells.


Defusing Google bombs isn’t much fun unless you’re a computer geek or have no preferable ways of spending your time. To keep your online profile positive and prominent, you have to blog, tweet and maintain Web sites — or hire someone to do it for you. Scheff says she resents having to do these things, but, “if you don’t own your own name, someone else will.”

Scheff considers herself lucky because she was able to hire an attorney as well as an Internet monitoring company, ReputationDefender, that manages her online persona. Others, hundreds of whom write her each week, aren’t so fortunate. In one example, a wedding photographer lost his business when a single unhappy bride went ‘zilla and trashed him online.


“No one is immune,” says Scheff. And, just because you’re not personally active on the Internet doesn’t mean that your persona isn’t online — not necessarily in a good way. The Internet has unleashed that part of ourselves that we used to keep under wraps. Dark thoughts, like the trolls of Mordor, can now surface and thrive by the light of day.


The freedom granted by anonymity and a virtual audience may have been a boon to democracy, affording everyone a voice, but it has been a plague on decency. Inhibition, we lament, is an undervalued virtue.


Scheff’s case and the Cohen incident suggest that a new level of accountability, largely missing from personal blogs, may be in the offing. “What you type today can haunt you tomorrow,” says Scheff. “People need to know that if you use your mouse and keypad to harm others, there is a price tag.”


Harm is the operative word. Although Scheff was able to prove material losses, Cohen likely gained from her brief tenure as a victim. In fact, she has dropped her lawsuit and forgiven the blogger.


No one likes being bashed online or elsewhere — and public people are familiar with the experience. But even Scheff thinks that in the absence of quantifiable defamation, anonymity deserves protection. As Google and the courts slug it out, Cohen did manage to render an oft-ignored lesson in bold italics: Think before you type.


Or else someone may want more than a penny for your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Early Release - Order Today


Amazon has the books ready for delivery and already the demand is high!

Online vs Offline – are they equal to who you are?

When Revenge turns to E-Venge? Do you know how to protect yourself?

Free Speech does not condone Internet Defamation!

Rise above Internet Defamation – learn how to take your online image back and how to maintain it!

Check out great AARP Bulletin today - Google Bomb Book mentioned! Thanks to Michael Fertik and the fantastic team at ReputationDefender for putting me in touch with the journalist! Michael wrote an engaging and explosive foreword – don’t miss it…. as he starts out… Google is not God…. order the book today….

My recent Examiner -Do you know what Google is saying about you? article ties my book into parenting – teaching your kids/teens to think twice before they post. What your post today, may haunt you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Featured in Author's Buzz!

If the Internet is a blasting cap, Google is a nuclear bomb!

Sue Scheff takes us on an emotional journey from intimidation and fear to complete absolution before a jury of her peers. John Dozier, a renown Internet Lawyer, expands on Sue’s $11.3 Million dollar jury verdict with guidance for all netizens.

An essential resource that is part novel and part training manual; and a call for the transformation of they way information is managed online. Prescriptive advice for an early warning system, building a defensible presence, and protecting the good names of loved ones.

For more information and pre-orders, visit http://www.googlebombbook.com/

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Endorsements are Outstanding!


Google Bomb – The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet


I am so excited as we are nearing our launch date of September 1st. Of course, excitement mixed with other emotions as this book was extremely difficult to write, however I know that there are many people out there that are victims of vicious keystrokes, and suffering with the feeling of being powerless to the Internet Slime. Take control back, learn to maintain and build your virtual image. Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy is a horrible and emotional experience that can lead many people into seclusion, depression and fear.



Do you have a story to share? Visit me at http://www.googlebombbook.com/share.php This book is dedicated to those that are suffering with cyberharassement and feeling helpless and alone. Trust me, you are not alone.


Here are the endorsements and reviews so far, and more are coming in…. I want to thank all these people for taking the time to read Google Bomb and send us their comments.

As author of the foreword and CEO and Founder of Reputation Defender Michael Fertik says, “Google is not God. Google is not the First Amendment, and it is not the truth. It is a machine. It may be the best machine invented in the past fifteen years, with myriad benefits for human knowledge and collaboration, but it is still just a machine that operates on rules devised by people. For that reason, it is both inherently fallible and subject to deliberate abuse.”
—Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of Reputation Defender


“I haven’t been this affected by a book in a long time. I went from a shaking rage to knots in my stomach to tears and finally to cheers. What happened to Sue could happen to any of us, and Google Bomb’s practical guidance, makes this a highly profound and useful book that the world needs to read.”
Michele Borba, Ed.D., Author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, Parenting Expert and Today Show Contributor

“Google Bomb is a great book! The Constitution protects free speech, but slander is not free speech. We should be able to hold slanderers accountable, and Google Bomb helps readers do that.”
—Senator Walter G. “Skip” Campbell, Jr.

“Parents need to teach their kids to be safe online, and Google Bomb offers a game plan that even a technophobe can execute. A must read for anyone who has ever posted their name on the internet, but especially for those whose kids are doing so every day.”
—Danielle Wood, Editor-in-Chief, Education.com

“Google Bomb is an instructive and timely book that will only become increasingly relevant as our laws catch up to the realities of today’s evolving technology. Sue’s triumph over her attacker underscores the principle that there is no constitutionally protected right to defame others online.”
—Fatima R. Fahmy, Attorney at Law

“Google Bomb offers solutions to virtual threats and character assassinations and is a wakeup call as to why we need tough legislation to protect the innocent – albeit children, adults, or businesses. Bravo to Sue Scheff and John W. Dozier Jr. for writing this much-needed book.”
—Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO, Love Our Children USA


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sue Scheff: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict that Changed the Way We Used the Internet

The book is almost here, Google Bomb, and the early reviews have been fantastic! Today, cyberslander, Internet Defamation, Cyber Harassment is a growing problem. Google Bomb is a CALL to ACTION!

As I am working together with legislators, the wheels of justice move slowly, but they do move.

For all of you victims out there that feel powerless and fearful, eventually you will find the power to rise above Internet Slime.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Internet Defamation - The Untold Story of the $11M Verdict that Changed the Way we Use the Internet - Coming Soon


The time is almost here, as the engaging foreword was just completed! CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender, Michael Fertik, wrote a compelling and straight up introduction to what has become the new wild, wild West - The Internet.

The launching of Google Bomb book is September and already the reviews have been amazing and rewarding.

For the first time, hear the behind the scenes of my landmark case for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy. I never in a million years thought I would be able to finish or even write this book, as it is very painful. Many victims of Internet Slime can completely relate to what I am saying. The feeling of powerlessness over the Internet can be debilitating.

I dedicated this book to all of you that have written me (emailed me), called me, or are going through a difficult time of being maligned online. It is time to rise above Internet Defamation and fight back!

This book is a call to action - as I have meet with a Senator and my Congresswoman, I am confident changes are coming - slowly but surely!
Follow us on Twitter!!!
@RepDef (ReputationDefender)
@MichaelFertik
@GoogleBombBook
@SueScheff

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Launches on to YouTube

My co-author, one of the leading Internet Attorney’s – John Dozier, and his team have been busy getting ready for the launching of Google Bomb! In stores and online on September 1st, 2009, this upcoming best selling book will document my untold story of the $11.3M Landmark Case for Internet Defamation and Invasion of Privacy.

John Dozier will give you the legal landscape as well as insights on what is lurking in cyberspace. Michael Fertik, CEO and Founder of Reputation Defender, lends his expertise in Online Reputation Management with his foreword. Together we have assembled a dream team for Google Bomb – Meet the Authors! Visit http://googlebombbombook.com/ for more information on this very timely book!

Just recently the Dozier Internet Law Firm marketing team has put together some YouTube introductions – check them out!

Google Bomb: Online Impersonators http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXTSiq3b6fM
Google Bomb: Call to Action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGCrGqtG36g
Google Bomb: Land of a Million Dreams http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSSlariie2s
Google Bomb: What is Your Legacy to Be http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtopTox7kxo

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book -Chapter One - We're Not In Kansas Anymore

John Dozier and his team are having fun creating teasers for our upcoming best selling book of one of today's hottest topics!!!! Internet Safety, Online Image, Monsters of the Web and more!

The Untold Story of my $11M Jury Verdict for Internet Defamation - Landmark Case and growing problem in the World Wide Web. - No - we are not in Kansas anymore!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2byX1XG9qT8
Order today at http://googlebombbook.com/

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Take 3

My co-author is not only a leading Internet Attorney - he and his team create amazing animation! Of course, promoting our upcoming best selling book - Google Bomb!

Check out this new animation describing some of the Scofflaws of the Web today….. You can read more abou tthem under Monsters of the Web on the recently launched website

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Enter's YouTube again!



Google Bomb, the book, written by Sue Scheff and online defamation lawyer John W Dozier Jr, is coming soon. The final edits of Google Bomb are being finalized. One of the interesting aspects of the world of the mobosphere is organized attacks. This animation tells a story that is happening more or less daily in one form or another and this is covered extensively in Google Bomb. As a defamation lawyer it is becoming common because I hear the stories every day. Attacking on the web to gain an economic benefit is closer to extortion than free speech.

Watch YouTube Latest Google Bomb Video: http://johndozierjr.typepad.com/dozierinternetlaw/2009/06/defamation-lawyer-google-bomb-book-coming.html

Pre-Order today at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757314155

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sue Scheff: Managing Your Online Identity


Source: Forbes.com

By Anna Vander Broek

You are who Google says you are.

They say first impressions last a lifetime and increasingly those impressions are made online. Perspective employers Google you. Ditto the cute guy you met at the gym. Your landlord can check out your Facebook friends as easily as your cousin in Kansas City. The bad news is that the Internet has made it nearly impossible to hide your past. The good news is that you can use it to craft your future.

Take Will Lindow. In March, when the 28-year-old Texan decided to ditch his job at advertising giant Omnicon Group to pursue his passion for composing music, he knew the first step in his career change was to redefine himself online.

In order to quickly re-establish himself, Lindow turned to Wix.com, a free (for basic services) Web site which allows users to create flash Web pages. He created a page highlighting his musical talents and ambitions and then sent the link to a few people.

A week or two later Lindow got a response from a director doing a documentary film in Dallas. Now Lindow's scoring the film. He's also working with a local Austin band and last week got a gig doing a theme song for a children's animation film. It's only been three months.

"I reinvented myself online," says Lindow

The first step to getting control over your online identity is Googling yourself. If you don't do it, someone else will. Douglas Rothstein, managing partner of Redstone Partners, an executive search firm based in Manhattan and Cambridge, Mass., will Google ( GOOG - news - people ) potential candidates. "We'll scratch beneath the surface and see what's in the public domain," he says.

Quick Tips: Managing Your Online Identity

Individual Google hits make a difference (no one wants to see those pictures of your knee surgery), but so does the larger story they tell about you. "Treat Google like your résumé," says Michael Fertik, founder of the online reputation management service, ReputationDefender.com. If your first five Google hits highlight your old job as a market analyst it may be hard to sell yourself as a travel writer.


After you know what already exists about you online, start reshaping that information. Establish a purpose. Do you want to use the Internet to find a job or promote a new career? Or do you simply want to keep your online reputation clean in case your Aunt Sally ever Googles your name?

Look at things in context. It's easy to misrepresent yourself through seemingly innocent information if it appears in the wrong place. If you want to build up your career as a beer expert, those Facebook pictures of you double-fisting beers will probably help. But it may not if you're trying to be a kindergarten teacher.

"Know what you want and who you are," says Fertik. This may mean you need to choose what to keep online and what to remove. You don't always show your serious side to your friends or your party side to your boss. The same rules apply online.

If you're unhappy with your Google hits, there are a few things you can do. Think about using a service like Fertik's own ReputationDefender.com, which can help you manipulate your Google results, among other things, pushing positive links higher and negative ones lower. Giant sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will be higher in Google searches, so focus on those sites first.

Creating your own Web site is a great way to give yourself a professional edge and will usually float up to the top of Google hits. Redstone Partner's Rothstein says he strongly advises his clients to create their own Web site. "[Employers] are looking for someone who has taken the time and effort to put together their own professional site," he says. "It shows perspective employers you … will go the extra mile."

Ask for an outside perspective. "Start with your own opinion about how you're presenting yourself," says Fertik. "But then maybe ask a friend or a professional for some insight."

Most importantly, stay up-to-date. A new client to your architecture firm may rather see you can design an office space, not your high school tennis scores.

"Google is now a utility for every life transaction," says Fertik. "You have to keep yourself fresh."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Meets YouTube



My co-author, John Dozier, just posted a great introduction on YouTube in animation about our launching of Google Bomb Book in September 2009.

Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/v/6n6zCQWJ1zw&hl=en&fs=1"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Google Bomb Book Video




Google Bomb, the book, will be in your favorite bookstores September 1, 2009. Google Bomb is the story of Sue Scheff and legal commentary from John W Dozier Jr.


Check out the new animation review of our upcoming best-selling new book!



Preliminary Book Cover

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sue Scheff: A Tribute to Nikki Catsouras - Sign the Petition


When a family loses a child, I can’t even imagine the pain they endure. How they wake up the next day, how they feel, what they feel and how they go on with life. When a family loses a child in a tragic accident it seems it could only compound all the feelings of loss.


On October 31, 2006 the Catsouras family experienced the nightmare every parent fears - losing a teen in a tragic automobile accident.


The accident was the beginning of an emotional roller coaster. If you haven’t heard about this story, it is time to take a moment and help make a difference. Nikki Catsouras, after having a horrific car accident was dead on impact, the scene was described as shocking as Nikki’s head was nearly decapitated.


Can you even imagine as a parent, learning of this? Can you imagine living through this? As a parent advocate and a parent of two young adults now, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what this family has gone through.


What follows next is nothing short of evil, in my opinion. Shortly after Nikki was buried, her parents and sisters still in mourning, the Internet creeped into their lives in the most heinous way. Photo’s of Nikki’s crime scene were posted online! Yes, their daughter’s body, or what was left of it, was going viral! Where is justice? Who in God’s name would do this?

Please take a moment to read “A Tribute to Nikki Catsouras” and sign the petition to help create reasonable protection for personal privacy on the Internet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Old and New Information Wanting to Be Free




By Michael Fertik


According to Wikipedia, the phrase “information wants to be free” is an “expression that has come to be the unofficial motto of the free content movement.” Much of what we do at ReputationDefender has to do with this concept. Do we as a society and as individuals really want every type of information to be visible to anyone, at any time? Do we want our medical history, phone numbers, old addresses and private photos to be as readily accessible as, say, who played third base for the Red Sox in 1912? (The answer to this question is found below).
I recently read a couple of books that, specifically speaking in one case and broadly speaking in another, illustrate the narrative of information’s wanting to be free (in the sense of freely available), and the potentially history-altering or life-changing consequences that may arrive when it is.


The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls by Hershel Shanks tells the story of the battle to wrest access over the Scrolls, discovered in the early 1950s, from an exclusionary group of scholars who more or less refused to publish or grant access to them for decades. It also offers a precis of the potential religious and historical significance the scrolls, including possible redefinition of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. Even though the Scrolls represented the most significant biblical archaeological find of the 20th century, the scholars who worked on deciphering them declined to publish their findings or even more than very narrowly disseminate facsimiles of the primary materials for a startlingly long time. It was not till Shanks and a handful of others forced the hands of the scholars that the world finally was able to see the scrolls for themselves. Now, thanks to their good efforts and the power of the Internet, together with the work of places like the Library of Congress, we can all see detailed images of the scrolls themselves, at any time, wherever we are in the world.


The publication of the primary material of scrolls has generated a massive bibliography and new fields of scholarship (including one called Qumran Studies, after the location of the scrolls’ discovery). In this case, information really did want to be free, and it took the hard work of a dedicated group of people to make it free.


Still, it seems, there are persistent and, according to Shanks, apparently plausible rumors of other intact Dead Sea Scrolls that are circulating in private hands around the world. The information bound up in these items, should they exist, needs to be set free through their publication, so that a more complete picture of this historical time can continue to be assembled. Even more scrolls are expected to be lurking in caves around Qumran the entrances to which have been covered up by earthquake over the millennia.


Gunther Grass’s memoir Peeling the Onion gets at the theme of information freedom differently. Grass, a Nobel prize winning German author, has been writing for more than half a century, during which time he has been an outspoken literary and activist left-of-center critic of Germany’s Nazi past, of its collective guilt, and of insufficient transparency and penance among the German people for their participation in the Holocaust and in the other crimes of the Third Reich. In the mid-1980s, he attacked President Reagan and Chancellor Kohl for visiting a cemetery than included Waffen graves. He was often described as–and seems to have been comfortable with the appellation–one of Germany’s chief moral authorities.


However, in 2006, it was revealed that Grass had himself been a member of the Waffen-SS. He joined when he was 17. Spiegel Online confirmed the basic facts of this story through the publication of several historical records. Grass published Peeling the Onion that year. While it purports to be a memoir of his life, or at least the first few decades of it, more or less up to the time he started writing The Tin Drum, one can’t help but get the feeling that he wrote it as an apologia pro sua Waffen vita.


In one long stretch of the book–the longest and most detailed piece of it, at least as my memory serves me as I write this–he makes himself out to be a coward (but only just) in World War II. He runs away, he doesn’t know how to use a gun, he fears for his life, he soils himself, he spends time in a POW camp, etc.. It comes across, after all the nouns and verbs, as an attempt to explain away the significance of his fighting for the Reich and his subsequent decades of hiding it. Was he really a Nazi? This seems very unlikely. But it did seem to me that, burdened by his secret and the gap between his public persona and his private history, and perhaps also worried that the information about his past would eventually want to be free, Grass set out to cast it in the most luminous and best-shaped bronze he could.


As a book, Peeling the Onion is also a powerful literary biography of a man who must be one of the most highly literate writers now living. Grass gives us the source material from his life experiences of some of his brightly vivid major and minor characters. I am guessing that the memoir will be used as some sort of key to unlock his novels and plays by Grass scholars for many years to come. I also doubt that Grass’s past will obliterate entirely my own view of his writing (The Meeting at Telgte is outstanding). But in the end, I don’t think I will cherish this memoir.


Two books about information that, we might say, should be free.


(The answer to the question who played third base for Red Sox in 1912 is Larry Gardner. This is the kind of obscure piece of information that becomes immediately accessible on the Internet, through a single search on a major search engine. I’ll be revisiting what we might call the Larry Gardner Theory of the Internet in future writings).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sue Scheff: Tormented by Cyberstalker, Ropes Partner Drafts New Legislation on Online Libel

I recently read a very interesting article on updating the CDA 1996 (Communications Decency Act) finally.

Until you become a target/victim of someones vengeance through a keypad, it is hard to describe how powerless the normal person feels. Attorney Joan Lukey is not stranger to litigation, however when she become a target of an unhappy defendant, she realizes just how legislation has not caught up with today's needs.


This re-iterates that my new book coming out this fall, Google Bomb, could not have better timing! When Revenge becomes E-Venge..... learn how to protect yourself both legally and in cyberspace.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sue Scheff: Story of Internet Defamation and Prescriptive Relief!

Take Cover - Google Bomb Book is almost here!

O-kay - this is a preliminary cover - but it is getting the attention of many media outlets! - John Dozier and I are extremely excited about the launching of this book - for many reasons. Most of all, we offer sound solutions and help you to learn from my mistakes and gain from his expertise!

Having Michael Fertik write the foreword will introduce the rumbling this book will bring - as the CEO and Founder of ReputationDefender, Michael Fertik is an expert in the field of helping you manage your online profile!

Together - we do have a dream team to help you surf safely!

Pre-Order your copy today at Amazon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sue Scheff: Facebook, Casebook - Is Google God?

Source: Toronto Sun

More like Casebook
Social networking sites can sometimes make or break a case in court


Be careful what you post on Facebook or MySpace, because anything you say or upload can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Last year, for example, an Ottawa court heard that a civil servant had started a clandestine affair with an old friend she reconnected with through Facebook during a messy custody battle involving three kids.

In a Vancouver courtroom last month, defendants in a personal injury case produced photos from the plaintiff's Facebook profile showing that while Myla Bagasbas was seeking $40,000 in damages for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment after a car accident, she was still able to kayak, hike and bike post-accident.

"Facebook will be seen as a gold mine for evidence in court cases," said Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in ethics, law and technology at the University of Ottawa.

But it will also challenge the courts to further define the notion of personal privacy. In a precedent-setting case this year, a Toronto judge ordered that a man suing for physical injury in a car accident be cross-examined on the contents of his private Facebook profile. Justice David Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice overturned a previous court decision that called the defendant's request to look for incriminating evidence a "fishing expedition."

The very nature of Facebook is to share personal information with others, Brown wrote, and is likely to contain relevant information about how the plaintiff, John Leduc, had led his life since the accident. But if Leduc's profile is private with restricted access, is that considered an invasion of privacy?

"The courts sometimes don't get it," Kerr said. "The tendency in judicial opinion and popular thinking is that once something is out in the public, there's no such thing as privacy anymore. But that can't be right because we all have curtains."

For Facebook users, those curtains are our privacy settings. If our home is our castle, Facebook should also be considered a walled domain, Kerr said.

For example, while a member may post pictures from a beer bash the night before, that doesn't mean they would take the same pictures to show off to their boss the next day, Kerr explained.

Likewise, in Murphy versus Perger, a judge ordered that the plaintiff, who was suing for claims of personal injury and loss of enjoyment of life after a car accident, produce copies of her Facebook pages showing photos of her engaging in social activities. In her judgment, Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady wrote "The plaintiff could not have a serious expectation of privacy given that 366 people have been granted access to the private site."

But having 366 Facebook friends doesn't entitle the rest of the world to view personal information meant only for certain eyes, said Avner Levin, director of the Privacy Institute at Toronto's Ryerson University.

"It's not how many people you share it with, it's who you choose to share the information with," Levin said. "The judge is missing the point. What's important is not how many people are your friends, but who you choose to know you."

While we're able to compartmentalize and separate people in our lives offline by assigning titles to different spheres -- co-workers, neighbours, family -- the online world fails to recognize those distinctions, he added.

It's a habit that spills over in the job hunt as well. Employers admit they rely heavily on information they glean about a candidate from Google searches and networking profile pages. But it's an unfair screening process, Levin said, and attaches more value to people's online identities -- and sometimes third-party information -- than the candidate they meet in real life.

"We need to suppress that tendency to go on Google and look people up. There's already a process of hiring that works for them and has been working for years," Levin said.

While we're more likely to trust a direct source and treat gossip with skepticism in the offline world, the same can't be said of online information.

Pruning online identities and putting a person's best cyber-foot forward are services offered by companies such as DefendMyName, a personal PR service which posts positive information about a client and pushes down negative links in Google. ReputationDefender also destroys libelous, private or outdated content.

"A resume is no longer what you send to your employer," said ReputationDefender CEO Michael Fertik. "More people look at Google as a resume."

But instead of authenticating information found online, people are trusting secondary material and treating Google like God.

"What happens is in a court of law, you have to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt. On the Internet though, many decisions are based on lower standards," Fertik said.

But is sanitizing a person's online reputation of unflattering content an infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of expression?

"Only if you believe Google is the best and most accurate source of information," Fertik said. "But I don't think Google is God. I believe Google is a machine."

vivian.song@sunmedia.ca

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sue Scheff: A Mother Day's Story - Survival of Carolina Springs Academy and Legal Battles


On this mother’s day weekend - I am re-printing my experiences almost a decade ago. I wrote my story and published my book in hopes of helping other families that are struggling with their teens today. There is hope, you are not alone. Happily I can say my organization that was developed from this experience, Parents Universal Resource Experts, (P.U.R.E.) has grown tremendously - we have literally helped over 20,000 families in the past 9+ years! Many parents ask how my daughter is doing - she is happily married (wonderful son-in-law) and has two beautiful children and working at her dream job. Yes, I am very proud and I can’t help but think our horrific experiences were not in vain - since we have touched so many lives.


A Parent’s True Story - A mother and daughter’s story of courage, strength and inspiration. This story is now published in detail, with my daughter speaking out for the first time about the horrors she endured at Carolina Springs Academy. Wit’s End! A Mother and Daughter’s True Story published by Health Communications, Inc (HCI) can be purchased in all major bookstores and online.



Deception, Misrepresentation & Fraud


After experiencing my good teen making some bad choices, I found myself on the Internet surfing until I was so confused and stressed I couldn’t make any decision. One group of specialty schools and behavior modification programs kept popping up wherever I clicked; I figured they must be good. Then I received their beautiful glossy literature with a video that could make any parent weep (I actually received 4 packets of the same material)! The cost was reasonable in comparison with other programs, or so I thought until I enrolled my child. The hidden costs added up like a grocery bill. I was totally misled by my rash decision. This is a common mistake when parents are placed in a desperate situation and a swift sales rep is waiting for you; answering every question the way you want to hear it and making promises that convince you that they can help your child.


My true nightmare was just beginning.

Impressed by the fancy words and glossy brochures, I enrolled my child with the understanding that they were qualified help. I am ashamed to say, I never did a background check on these programs. I had called their parent references that they gave me (and later found out they were paid to talk to me, some actually receiving a free month’s tuition). I know many of you are thinking I must have been nuts, and you are right. While in this stage of my life, I was in a total frenzy. I truthfully just wanted help for my child and thought for the money I was paying, it must be good.


Long story short, my frenzy and desperation was my biggest mistake I made. This was not what they sold me. It was more of a warehousing of teens program. I was looking for therapy and internalization through the help of professionals. I believe if you take a negative child, and put them in a negative environment, it builds resentment and anger. Literally, this is what I had done. I had no idea as to what I did. Fraud, misrepresentation, combined with a vulnerable parent can lead to danger for a child in my opinion.


I attempted using the so-called Independent Educational Consultant that immediately wanted a check for $350.00 just to talk to me. They claimed they could help me (without even knowing my daughter) for about another $3000.00 or more.


It was a couple of months later, after I attended some very bizarre seminars that were mandated in order to visit your child that I realized I had made a big mistake. I wrote my withdrawal letter immediately after the second seminar. Actually, in retrospect, red flags went up shortly after I dropped my child off and I asked who the psychologist would be, and guess what, there was none, unless I wanted to pay extra! So who led the group therapy they raved about? There was no group therapy, there was a person who sat in a circle with them as they reflected, which was usually another student. I would have hired their psychologist for another $100 per visit, but why? We could have done that at home. Their sales reps told me that there was a licensed therapist “on staff and on site”. I should have pulled my child then, however I thought I was over-reacting since I was in such confusion and frenzy. The staff was very good at convincing me to “trust the program” instead of addressing my concerns.


During my child’s entire stay of almost 6 months, I was never allowed to speak with my child. I only spoke with an employee once a week for about 15 minutes (In my further research, these employees had no credentials and many didn’t have education beyond High School including the President of the Organization). My child wrote me letters: some good, some bad. The good ones were considered manipulation; the bad ones were considered proof that they needed to stay longer. I couldn’t win and neither could my child.


After observing and listening to some of the other teens there and their families, I realized it was all very strange. Some of these kids were there for well over a year and the families were so deep into this program, it was sickening and sad. The support group meetings were like a Stepford Family Reunion, with a leader making her financial profits. These poor kids just wanted to be loved and held by their parents, who couldn’t be there. I later found out it usually takes up to 6 months to speak with your child, and in most cases up to a year to see them. Although they sell you another story, the truth be known, most take 2-3 years to graduation. Recently I understand a law was passed that mandates you can see your child after 3 months. I am not sure if this group of programs is abiding by this new regulation; however, it is in place.
I brought my child home and when she felt confident I wouldn’t send her back, I heard some unspeakable stories. The stories were very consistent with many others I was hearing and reading about. My child went immediately into real counseling where, after almost two years, we are recovering from this traumatic experience in our lives. My child was suffering from depression and nightmares from the stay at Carolina Springs Academy. The fear of being sent back, had created suicidal thoughts, however the excellent psychologist helped my child through this horrible post experience of WWASP. I have heard from many other post-WWASP students and families suffering from the same symptoms, which is very sad.


I firmly believe, until you walk the shoes as a parent of a teen, you really don’t know the feeling of hopelessness. I have been there and I have survived and learned from it. I believe in sharing my knowledge of this, very political, industry with as many families as possible. It is very scary to know that even Independent Educational Consultants (that are supposed to be professionals) have no state or government regulations. In other words, anyone can state they are Educational Consultants. This combined with the misrepresentation of schools and programs, is very frightening and costly in many ways.


Our experiences occurred with Carolina Springs Academy, one of many of their programs that are part of the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP aka WWASPS aka Premier Educational Systems). Some of the program names are: Cross Creek Manor - UT, Cross Creek Center - UT, Spring Creek Lodge - MT, Tranquility Bay - Jamaica, Casa By The Sea (closed due to allegations of neglect and abuse), Academy at Dundee Ranch (raided and closed), Academy at Ivy Ridge - NY (accreditation suspended in April 2004; 2005 State Attorney General Spitzer made Ivy Ridge pay approx. $1.65 Millions Dollars in fines and to parents for Educational Fraud), Majestic Ranch - UT, Pacific View, Midwest Academy - IA, Paradise Cove (closed due to allegations of neglect and abuse), Morava Academy (closed due to allegations of neglect and abuse), Darrington Academy - GA, and Horizon’s Academy - NV. I feel all of their programs are simply boot camps that claim internalization; however, lack it tremendously. Their specialty is cash cropping children; marketing and using a child are part of their strategy. They are, in my opinion, a children’s warehouse and a parents’ escape from their desperate situation. Their deluxe *Marketing and Pyramid skills seems to be what they specialize in.


In many parents and professionals’ opinions, the fine line of their cult-like program is enough to destroy many families and children, as we have many testimonials to. (Please review some of our Informational Articles for more true stories). I am speaking from experience. I used to sell their program and market their schools to gain free months’ tuition. Yes, whenever you refer a family, you would get a free month! What a concept, and I fell for it! Being involved in selling the program controls your mind in the consistency of how great they are when in reality, you have not even spoken to your child. I had no idea how the program was working; I was just trained to sell like a good follower.


There are many followers of this program who have become programized. There is many like myself, and more waking up daily. Dateline, Primetime, 48 Hours & Inside Edition has done segments on this organization that paint the same picture of negative experiences. There are many newspaper and magazine articles (including People, Forbes, New York Times, LA Times, News Day, Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Guardian, Jamaican Observer, YM Magazine, Salon, Time Magazine, Spin, etc.) and lawsuits pending against WWASP that they are struggling to keep silent. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Why take a chance with your child?
Many wonder why they are allowed to continue, it is simple, money and plenty of it. Money is usually the root of evil, and it seems obvious with this. I am a firm believer that one day WWASP aka WWASPS aka Premier Educational Systems will be held accountable for their actions. The day will come that many truths will be exposed. For the sake of the silent cries of the children, the sooner the better.


First Lawsuit WON Against WWASP:


P.U.R.E. ™ is proud to have defeated WWASP (click here to learn more about this victory) as they attempted to silence P.U.R.E. ™ and myself. Please note that we won in their state of Utah. I believe this is the first of many wins. Additionally, in June of 2006, P.U.R.E. went on to defeat WWASP in the Federal Supreme Court of Appeals.


I hope my experiences have saved parents from making the mistake I made in desperation. I am sharing my personal experiences to create awareness about the misrepresentation and fraud I endured. This story was not written out of malice against WWASP (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs), it was written for the principle and morals that they lacked. I think they call it “Accountability.” I am accountable for what I have written as being the truth as I experienced it.


*As a footnote for their Marketing, when I was searching, I was recruited by a Miami based parent that has made a mission (in many peoples’ opinions) of building this pyramid for WWASP. Although she claimed she had no financial gain from this, we have further learned that she collects large sums of money for her involvement with WWASP. Although she states she makes her income from her Title Company, it was discovered that she was arrested in February 2002 on charges of illegally diverting nearly $6 million in trust money through a variety of schemes. Lynn Pretzfeld, of Miami Florida, was charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering and grand theft.


According to the Florida Department of Insurance, the now closed Title Examiners Inc. diverted money into personal accounts from escrow accounts.


UPDATE - According to public record, on June 3, 2003, Lynn Pretzfeld is now a Convicted Felon and on 10 years probation as well as paying restitution. Case #F02003735B (Click here to view PDF file)


Please note that WWASP seems to make it a habit to change their names. When I was involved, it was WWASP. A couple years ago, it became WWASPS (with an “s”) and presently we understand they are opening under Premier Educational Systems. I assume when parents do Search Engine research, it eliminates any bad press that may be associated with previous names. This is just an opinion. If you have nothing to hide, why the constant name changes?


As of May 2009 it is believed that WWASP aka WWASPS or Premier Educational Systems LLC has affiliations with the following:


Academy of Ivy Ridge, NY (CLOSED)
Bell Academy, CA (CLOSED)
Canyon View Park, MT
Camas Ranch, MT
Carolina Springs Academy, SCCasa By the Sea, Mexico (CLOSED)
Cross Creek Programs, UT (Cross Creek Center and Cross Creek Manor)
Darrington Academy, GA (CLOSED)**Discovery - Mexico (see below)
Help My Teen, UT (Adolescent Services Adolescent Placement) Promotes and markets these programs.
Gulf Coast Academy, MS (CLOSED)
Horizon Academy, NV
Jane Hawley - Lifelines Family Services
Kathy Allred - Lifelines Sales Representative
Lisa Irvin - Helpmyteen and Teens in Crisis
Lifelines Family Services, UT (Promotes and markets these programs) Jane Hawley
Mark Peterson - Teen Help Sales Representative
Majestic Ranch, UT
Midwest Academy, IA (Brian Viafanua, formerly the Director of Paradise Cove as shown on Primetime, is the current Director here)
Parent Teen Guide - Promotes and markets these programs
Pillars of Hope, Costa Rica
Pine View Christian Academy, (Borders FL, AL, MS)
Reality Trek, UT
Red River Academy, LA (Borders TX)
Respect Academy, NV
Royal Gorge Academy, CO (CLOSED)
Sherri Schwartzman - Lifelines Sales Representative
Sky View Academy, NV (allegedly closed?)
Spring Creek Lodge, MT (CLOSED) Rumors they have re-opened in another location of MT.
Teen Help, UT (Promotes and markets these programs)
Teens In Crisis - Lisa Irvin
Tranquility Bay, JamaicaOceanside, CA - rumors of short term program there.

**There is reason to believe a new program in Mexico is now open - parents need to be aware of this. It is believed they may have re-opened Casa By the Sea location with another name - possibly Discovery. We have heard that Jade Robinson is running this program - he was formerly at Horizon Academy, Bell Academy (closed) and Casa by the Sea (closed).

In addition to the legal battle with WWASP, P.U.R.E. and founder Sue Scheff won an unprecedented $11.3 million jury verdict for Internet defamation. Despite being vindicated, many of the attacks on P.U.R.E. continue out of malice and spite.

When you can’t defeat someone legally, it seems the Internet/Keypad is the next best legal lethal tool - or so they thought. Pre-Order my next book - Google Bomb, when revenge becomes e-venge to find out how I won this landmark case.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dozier Internet Law: Defamation of The Dead on NPR Monday


Dozier Internet Law's John W Dozier Jr. will be on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" Monday. Tune in to learn about defamation of the dead...and how to deal with social network profiles of the deceased...interesting and timely topics. No doubt that the complexities of living life in a connected world are growing.