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Cowell alleged to gag websites as well as singers

Cowell alleged to gag websites as well as singers

X-Factor pantomime nasty Simon Cowell is a very shrewd man. In recent years, he’s extended his python-like stranglehold on the music business to our TV screens, not only here in the UK, but also in the US where it’s famously difficult for Brits to get a toehold in show business.

Considering the stick he comes in for in the media, he seems to handle it remarkably well – he never seems fazed by the snarky remarks of his fellow talent judges or quivery-lipped rants from misguided auditionees that he’s put to the sword. Insults seem to bounce off his leathery hide like bullets off Batfink’s wings. I even imagine him to respond to the doubtless catcalls and insults he gets in the street with a cheery grin and an enthusiastic flick of the Vs.

However, it seems that the mask may be slipping. The Daily Mirror has reported that the pop panjandrum has employed the services of an Internet reputation management consultancy. Although he famously gagged contestants from the X-Factor from saying anything nasty about him, with a contract “enforceable anywhere in the world or solar system”, it’s apparent that he’s now turned his attention to the web.

It all started with disgruntled former exec for Universal and EMI based in Asia, Hans Ebert, who decided to administer a sock in the chops to Cowell via his blog. In a post titled “Why American Idol Is Better Off Without Simon Cowell”, he hailed him as “the Sarah Palin of Music”.

Before he knew it, Ebert had his blog shut down for violations to his web host’s terms and conditions. Incensed, he followed the trail to a firm based in India which monitored news, who were contracted by London and California based Reputation Management Consultants. Ebert is alleging that Cowell has employed the services of the firm and is in talks with his lawyers. A spokeswoman for the bog-brush haired one predictably dismissed the allegations as a load of old bobbins.

Although we may be tempted to side with the little guy, if Cowell has employed an Internet reputation management specialist, he would not be alone. It’s a service offered by many search engine optimisation firms, and a reputable SEO expert will adopt a considered approach. If your firm receives a negative review of its services or products, rather than despatch a squad of lawyer assassins to take care of the problem it’s sometimes best to take the criticism on the chin, and show your customers that you’re taking steps to identify any failings and rectify them.

However, for now I would be reluctant to tangle with Simon Cowell. For example, there’s no way I would suggest that he wears 44” chest – sized trousers, least of all because it would snuff out my dreams of being a pop star.

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