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No. 146
November 17th, 2008

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Reputation Management, Argentinian-Style

I recently came across this amazing article on For those too lazy, or without the time, to click the link, here’s the opening paragraph (emphasis mine):

Argentines clicking on the local version of Yahoo in search of information about their country’s most legendary soccer star (and current national team coach) are in for a disappointment. All they’ll see is a disclaimer in Spanish stating: “Due to a court order requested by private parties, we find ourselves obliged to temporarily suspend all or some of the results related to this search.” The only exceptions are links to major news media sites. Nor is this peculiar result exclusive to searches for Diego Maradona. The soccer star is just one of 110 major public figures in Argentina to have secured a court order restraining the Argentine versions of Google and Yahoo from serving up search results on their names.

Bottom line: apparently Maradona and other Argentine celebs are more willing to go through a lengthy court battle than shell out a few dollars for reputation management by some real experts. Surely buying a few thousand links to positive YouTube videos and other news stories would have been cheaper than all the legal fees…

…scarier, though, are the implications that this kind of censorship has on future precedent. Where do the search engines fit into the notion of “freedom of the press” … ?