Yesterday on the fourth annual “Data Privacy Day” (a Microsoft-invented holiday), Microsoft released a study that showed two interesting things: (1) 70% of employers have admitted to rejecting job applicants after finding negative info about them online, and (2) 86% of employers said that positive online information can increase a job applicant’s chances of getting hired.

After reading that survey I feel more strongly than ever that a flood of positive information will always outweigh a few isolated negative reviews or bad press hits about your company.  People care about trends, not exceptions.  If you generate good news about yourself in the media, on Facebook, on Twitter, on your blog, on consumer review sites, on someone else’s blog, on YouTube, or in other places where people spend time, then your trend will be positive, and that’s what will matter.  No one will care about isolated hiccups, as long you consistently demonstrate good character online. 

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Email him at