In The News
This article appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald today, and gives you an idea of just what you can do with a photo of your ex (or even one of our "fake photos")
Enjoy the read:
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The latest example of online revenge meted out by an ex-lover.
In dating land, revenge is now a dish best served online, with jilted lovers using Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to dish the dirt on their exes.
And what would once have been a heat-of-the-moment spray can now live on forever, dredged up by a simple Google search.
As the online reputation management company SR7 says, "what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook".
Tricia Walsh-Smith was ordered out of her house in 2008 after slagging off her husband on YouTube. Photo: Reuters
In the latest example, an angry ex-girlfriend took her ex-boyfriend's professional photograph and overlaid it with derogatory text - then uploaded dozens of different versions to the web. They now come up every time someone Googles his name.
The feud was first spotted by the SEO Roundtable blog, which also uncovered that the ex-boyfriend's mother sought help from the Google Webmaster Help forum. The post has now been removed but not before hitting the blogosphere.
"My minor son's ex-girlfriend took a copyrighted picture of him (we own copyright) and uploaded it more than 60 times to a website," the mother wrote.
"On each image she wrote slanderous, defamatory and pornographic captions. The webmaster of the site states he removed the images 6 weeks ago, but Google Search still shows all the images."
She said her son was "stressed out and embarrassed" by the debacle but could do nothing to get the images removed from Google. The mother said she wrote a letter to Google's legal department claiming copyright infringement but this did not work.
This is just one of countless examples of ex-lovers using the web to seek revenge. The initial act, often committed in a moment of intense anger, can live on for years, brought up by a simple Google search on the person's name.
The issue was brought home for Australians in December last year when a vengeful teenager released naked photos of St Kilda footballers. She claimed to have been treated badly after falling pregnant to a St Kilda player.
In March last year, Lara Bingle said she would sue Brendan Fevola for beach of privacy, defamation and misuse of her image after a nude photo of Bingle taken with his phone was published in Woman's Day and later spread online.
Former Canberra Raiders star Joel Monaghan will forever be known as the man who engaged in a sex act with a teammate's Labrador after a photo of the act was published online. But a jilted lover does not appear to have been involved in that debacle.
In 2008, an Australian woman took revenge on her cheating husband by auctioning his mistress's "huge" panties and his "size small" condom packet on eBay.
In Britain, a husband took revenge on his unfaithful ex-wife by selling 200 sexy photos of her on eBay, while separately another British man tried to auction his adulterous wife on eBay. His listing offered his "cheating, lying, adulterous slag of a wife".
Celebrities from Paris Hilton to Kim Kardashian have been embarrassed after sex tapes featuring them and their partners hit the web - although in the case of Hilton and Kardashian, this seems to have helped rather than hindered their careers. There are countless videos on pornography streaming sites claiming to show sex acts by "ex-girlfriends".
Thomas Tudehope, director of strategy and engagement at online reputation management firm SR7, said people should be cognisant that, through misdemeanour or indiscretion, they are only a click away from digital notoriety.
"In this circumstance [involving doctored images on Google] the boyfriend may be suffering from some short-term pain but there will be a more lasting damage for both parties - their privacy has been irrevocably disturbed. A cursory Google search for years to come will reveal this episode," he said.
"Whilst the images may have been removed from one site they remain on Google. This is the permanency of the internet - what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook."
Tudehope conceded that it was difficult to control what happens in the wake of an unforseen circumstance like a break-up, but said it was important for people to know how much personal information they were sharing online through sites like Facebook.
In 2008, a British actress, Tricia Walsh-Smith, earned YouTube stardom after posting monologues about her failed high society marriage on YouTube. She was later found to have been cruel to her Broadway producer husband and ordered by a New York judge to vacate their apartment within a month.
An entire business, GetRevengeOnYourEx.com, has sprung up to take advantage of the legions of jilted lovers looking for revenge online. For a fee, the site will help people make angry phone calls to their ex, fake photos of their ex, shame their ex with an online photograph or even create a voodoo doll.
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