When most people think of the internet and finding information, they think about Google and finding the answer to a question by "Googling it." When businesses utilize the internet to sell products or to advertise their services, they utilize a process called "search engine optimization" or "internet marketing" to move the online properties that they control higher in the search results, so that interested customers can find their information when they search for it. When individual people think of the internet, they are rarely thinking about how their enemies can use search engine manipulation to harm them.
The case of Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson is an interesting one. He is an international businessman with a long history of diverse projects both domestic and foreign, mainly in the infrastructure and development areas. His projects are executed through a suite of companies primarily controlled by LNBG LLC, an umbrella company headed by Gibson and his wife. These projects deal primarily with deal structuring and financing, and are generally undertaken as part of elaborate partnerships involving both governmental agencies and private entities. Neil Gibson's reputation as a businessman is generally one of the most valuable properties involved in these projects, as entering into a project as a partner will generally involve investment of large amounts of money and time, both of which are taken very seriously by investors. The success of many international development projects that have serious effects on the lives of populations of people are hinged upon the reputation of Mr. Gibson, and the accurate presentation of his motivations and business dealings when they are researched. As online research is one of the most common forms of "finding out about someone," it becomes very problematic when business adversaries undertake a campaign utilizing search engine optimization techniques in order to spread false information about someone. This is the case with Lord Neil Gibson.
Nobody ever expects to find every project that a businessman undertakes to be successful, but the motivations behind the project are always expected to be sincere and transparent. One of the major flaws of search engines is they do not have the ability to discern "truth" vs "fiction," and as a result anything that involves specific phrases that is put into a website has the ability to be picked up by a search engine and placed in the results for those searches. When someone searches for "Lord Neil Gibson" online, they do not necessarily find news articles, project public documents or even pictures from his websites. What they may very well find is information that an adversary made up and put into his own blogs and websites in an attempt to make Mr. Gibson look foolish or dishonest. By simply utilizing very basic techniques, these parties have the ability to place their fictitious content into the results that Google displays, therefor giving anyone perusing the articles the perception of negativity with regards to his reputation. In Neil Gibson's case, his adversaries were very busy for a long period of time, and created volumes of content designed to accomplish this goal. Neil Gibson then finds potential business associates questioning his business practices due to the "Googling" of his name and the results they find (nearly every result returned being negative.) The typical path gets undertaken of lengthy court battles costing Gibson thousands of dollars, only to have judgements simply remove the single web posts that were being discussed in that particular case. The enemy just goes back to work and creates more content, forcing Gibson into a no-win pattern of suing, getting content removed that is falsified and slanderous, and finding more of the same back online within days of the victory.
Lord Neil Gibson is not alone in his problem of "anyone with a computer can slander anyone they want" online. Any public figure or public persona form business men to musicians face the problems of sources of information not being credible. The age-old battle that famous people have with tabloids presenting slanderous and unflattering information has taken on an entirely new life in the modern age. Anyone with a blog is now a publisher easily able to reach millions of people, and accountable to none for the validity of the information they present. In the case of famous people, there is generally a fighting chance because many positive things are being written by others, which will balance out the negative. In the case of less famous people, who are not regularly controlling the public relations associated with their names, they face a serious problem which can generally only be solved by becoming more publicly visible, and therefor generating real truth from credible sources. No matter how you look at it, the problem is a serious one that anyone needing their credibility to make a living is facing.
What is the answer to the curious case of Lord Neil Benjamin Gibson, and all the others just like him who are finding falsehoods spread through an unregulated environment? Unfortunately, the only real defense is to do good work, and spread the word about as much of it as possible, to as many people as possible. Chasing an adversary around in an attempt to legally force them to stop attempting to harm you is a futile effort, and your time is far better spent simply telling as many people as possible the truth.