There is a fundamental difference between having a "good" character, and having a "good" reputation. Your character is composed of many internal factors that may or may not be expressed publically. Your reputation is how the outside world perceives your character. The interrelation between these two can be very complex.
For example, for a long period of time Bernie Madoff’s financial reputation allowed him to literally steal millions of dollars from investors. He was able to maintain a public persona as a sound investment advisor, and to garner trust from his clients.
As we now know, his character was less than admirable, and it was a long time before that became evident to investors and regulatory and legal organizations.
On the other hand, actor Mel Gibson’s career has been brought to its knees by anti-Semitic rants and abuse of a female companion. His public image is such that he was recently targeted by a fundraiser for a California synagogue by implying that a donation would testify to his claims that he is not anti-Semitic. This would supposedly help repair his public image.
In fact, regardless of what may or may not be character flaws, Mel Gibson performs charitable works regularly, but quietly. His 5 million dollar donation to Mount Sinai Hospital, a Jewish medical institution, speaks to his generosity.
While Bernie Madoff’s reputation is definitely not salvageable (and rightly so), Mel Gibson should consider taking advantage of some reputation repair. Especially online, where the reach is global and immediate.
Companies such as List My Business offer ORM (Online Reputation Management) services to individuals and companies who have taken a hit from online press or posts. Unfortunately, as rich a source the internet is for information in general, it can be a vicious beast where attacks are not policed. Large forums have huge amounts of traffic, and whatever the posting it will rank highly on any search. Typing your name, or the name of your company, into Google or another such search instrument, could bring you a very bad surprise.
ORM companies such as List My Business, perform a dual task. They not only try to bump the negative postings to the bottom of the search lists (where they are virtually invisible), but they also work to improve your online image.
Your character, probably well known by your family, friends and business associates, is not what the huge audience on the internet sees. They can only know your reputation, the external exhibition of your internal character. For the world in general, that is all that exists. If that reputation is damaged, it is of huge importance that companies and individuals exercise immediate damage control by consulting a company that specializes in ORM. If your character shines like a bright light to your immediate circle, make sure your public image has been polished to mirror quality.