A potential lifeline for individuals, and in the future businesses, that launched in the summer, the founder is Cardiff-based graduate Jeevan Mann, a new entrepreneur who witnessed first-hand the deep trauma experienced by a falsely accused relative.
The essence of Reputation Online is to help clients exercise their Right to be Forgotten under the UK’s privacy and data protection (GDPR) rules, getting incorrect and unwanted personal content from major search engines removed – for example fake endorsements attributed to well-known figures – and preventing the pain perpetuated by reposting.
What for many would be an overwhelming David and Goliath task to undertake single-handed, “our service work merges legal insights and technological solutions,” Mann explains.
“It navigates legal guidelines, understands search engine algorithms and creates long-term strategies as a way of addressing imbalances. That way we not only provide legal assistance, but also peace of mind and emotional respite.
“We help safeguard the mental health of victims, protecting them against severe psychological repercussions. Dealing with such situations, alongside my role on the Miscarriage of Justice programme during my time at Swansea University, really made me want to change how these situations play out. Creating a positive change for clients gives them the opportunity for a successful future.”
Mann has invested £20,000 of his own funds much of which has gone into developing a custom-built, scalable Content Relationship Management system.
Handled in house it streamlines operations while improving security and the speedy, reliable updating of cases.
Now RO has a team of two who work with a wider group of legal experts, on each client’s case.Costs start from around £950. “But I want to make it as accessible as possible so I’m looking at payment plan options and also free assessments for some victims,” says Mann.
“We cover removing content then actions to rebuild clients’ online reputation. Once the immediate problems have been addressed, follow up measures could include on-going monitoring of mentions, managing perceptions and further communications support.
“The process will depend on the issue, but for all we have a code of ethics that is strictly adhered to and ensures we are acting in accordance with the legislation.”
Current capacity is for RO to offer tailored services to 100 customers a month and to double this capacity later in 2024. Turnover is projected to exceed £2 million in 2025.
Ahead of that a £250,000 first external raise, with tax-efficient Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme backing, is planned for next year as RO extends its services to the corporate market.
For this, the company is keen to partner with an angel investor who has expertise in global distribution in the professional services sector so it can open up in countries such as those in the EU and Australia where Right to Be Forgotten legislation is pending.
But with the acceleration of AI deep fakes and distortions, “companies of all sizes are more vulnerable than ever before to online threats and disinformation,” warns Mann.
“Given the rapid digital transformation of the corporate landscape, we are squaring up to the threats and, by setting realistic goals, we foster trust and long-lasting relationships so people can get back both their lives and their livelihoods.”