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…could the fact that Twitter.com’s new list feature lets users create arbitrary lists with free text descriptions expose the potential to damage somebody’s reputation?

The answer is a resounding yes. As an experiment, Michael Gray (SEO expert) created a Twitter list titled People who bought links, a big SEO no-no, and populated it with a single Twitter user; Matt Cuts. (Har-har, Matt Cutts is currently head of Google’s Webspam Team.) Then it got interesting…

That Twitter list ranked 1st for the keyphrase “people who bought links” within 48 hours. (It’s since been taken down.) Is this a problem? You bet. Appearing on the wrong list could definitely lose you a job interview or a first date, if not even more serious things.

There is a simple solution for this: block the person that has set up the list and your listing disappears. But this means constantly monitoring what Twitter lists you are on. One more opt-in solution of online reputation control is not what any of us need. We need simpler solutions, few of those are coming, however.

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