Steven C. Wyer pulls no punches discussing online attacks in this interview with Web Pro News
Steven C. Wyer has lived with the shadow side of the Internet ever since his business, his family and his credibility were attacked without warning online. Given his professional work history, Wyer never expected this type of attack would happen to him. Now serving as the managing director for Reputation Advocate, Inc., he focuses his efforts toward helping others who have been slandered online as he was.
In 1992, Steven C. Wyer established Wyer Creative Communications, Inc., a fully integrated direct marketing company focused on financial services. Wyer Creative utilized proprietary computer telephony integration and data rich information to support the efforts of 400 employees based out of two national call centers. The company was recognized in 1999 as the fastest growing company in middle Tennessee for five consecutive years and appointed to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Hall Of Fame for private business.
Steven C. Wyer’s clients included General Electric, Chase, H&R Block, Equitable Securities, CTX, Banc One and First USA. Over the next nine years, Wyer Creative would influence the way the mortgage industry created, processed and serviced its clients. This period of time ushered in the “next wave” – consumers and the Internet.
According to Steven C. Wyer, “Even a decade ago, the average consumer was not interacting with electronic information on a daily basis. But that all changed quickly. Google was born in 1998 and by 2001 everyone knew what search engines could do.”
Steven C. Wyer has been a consultant to financial institutions involved in consumer lending and collections, mortgage lending and institutional asset management. His professional memberships have included the National Association of Securities Dealers, The Mortgage Bankers Association, The Direct Marketing Association, American Teleservices Association, The Debt Buyers Association and most recently the eMarketing Association. “Every one of these industries is now driven almost completely by the Internet,” reflects Wyer.
From 2001 until 2005, Steven C. Wyer built two companies that acquired and collected on just under one billion dollars worth of consumer debt. Fourteen call centers, three law firms and information built these companies into very powerful recovery platforms. “Those businesses were all built on information found on the Internet. We had access to a tremendous amount of instant information; it’s what drove the business,” says Wyer.
The companies ended up in litigation and all of the information and speculation surrounding the court activity wound up on the Internet. Wyer says that his life was irrevocably damaged by information found online. “It was shocking that people from the other side of the world asked questions that had nothing to do with the professional relationship I had developed with them. Both businesses ended up shutting their doors because of information I had no control over.”
In 2006, Wyer diversified his professional interests. He founded FlexHedge Small-Cap Equity Fund, a structured finance company providing fixed rate, fixed term financing for small and midsized public companies. This company was also negatively impacted by the information found online about Wyer’s former businesses. While it is said that parties are innocent until proven guilty, Steven C. Wyer experienced first hand that the Internet has upended such long held notions of justice. For the first time, he was confronted with the shadow side of the Internet. Wyer says that he has come to realize that there is real damage being done today because of search engine information that is incorrect, malicious or outdated.
“Today, the level of negative information, slander, half truths and spin is out of control,” says Steven C. Wyer. “Negative information found on the Internet impacts every area of life, and yet there is little that most people can do to correct it. It is unbelievable what this type of information is doing to the fabric of our society. A great man once said that a good reputation is hard earned over a lifetime but it can be gone in the blink of an eye.” Wyer notes that a disgruntled employee, a customer having a bad day, a frivolous lawsuit, envy, anger, even lust – it all has an unfiltered outlet through the Internet and the damage is hard to manage.
Steven C. Wyer’s book, Violated Online, delves into the stories behind online slander. The book offers more than 50 specific tips on how the reader can better prepare for an unexpected online attack. The book has opened up speaking opportunities throughout North America and now Wyer juggles the demands of overseeing a thriving business, setting aside time for his next book and the demands of travel.
Steven C. Wyer serves as the Managing Director for Reputation Advocate, Inc. He is the author of Violated Online published by Dunham Books. He may be contacted at 888-229-0746 or by email at email@example.com