Explaining Southern California's economy

Protecting your reputation — and your business model

Mercer 16018

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

I went on AirTalk today with guest host David Lazarus to discuss how people can do personal, micro-crisis PR, fixing their online reputations.

I'd already written about the "crisis" in crisis PR, as well as how Toyota was laid low, during its Great Recall, by Twitter. So the topic was in my wheelhouse.

Online reputation management has become a serious business. We were joined by Michael Fertik, the CEO of Reputation.com, a startup that has defined itself as a leader in the space. So much so that when Fertik informed us that the company had attracted $67 million to date, through four rounds of venture funding, I was taken aback. I thought the company had raised more!

We covered the various ways in which a person might deal with negative information about themselves online. A caller issued perhaps the ultimate challenge when she revealed that her ex-husband has posted a sex-tape from happier times (Fertik said it would take a few thousand to deal with that). Reputation.com has a fairly broad scale of fees, ranging from a basic $100/year plan right on up to ReputationDefender15000, which runs...$15,000 a year!

Read More...

Solyndra-gate and the reality of Green investment

I went on KPCC's AirTalk with Larry Mantle this morning to talk about the Solyndra bankruptcy and what's turning into something of a scandal. This was hot on the heels of the Atlantic's Megan McArdle and Reason's Tim Cavanaugh going after not just the politics of this sucker, but also the very notion that the Federal government should be investing in renewable energy in the first place. 

Just for background, Solyndra got a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in 2009, four years after it was founded and well into an application process that was initiated under the Bush administration (Grist has the blow-by-blow on all this). Prior the the DOE loan, Solyndra had raised venture funding; after the DOE loan, it raised even more, eventually amounting to $1 billion. Post-bankruptcy, the Washington Post reported that the White House had been edging the DOE toward an approval, so that Joe Biden and DOE head Stephen Chu could schedule appearances. And just to make things extra juicy, a big Obama supporter and "bundler" of campaign donations, George Kaiser, has a venture fund that was heavy into Solyndra.

Read More...