X Factor: Is Simon Cowell gagging naysayers?

We came across a really interesting story while doing our daily web trawl today. Some eagle eyed internet users have claimed that Simon Cowell is somehow using seo techniques to bury any negative press he receives, and instead if you google his name, you will be presented with a range of adoring and sycophantic articles about the star.

The story arose when Hans Ebert, a former executive for Universal Music and EMI in Asia wrote a pretty unflattering article about the judge on his personal blog titled ‘Why American Idol is better off without Simon Cowell.’ He called Simon “a very smart self-promotion man who was a very average A&R person,” and “the Sarah Palin of music.” He went on to add:

Simon Cowell is not “Mr. Nasty.” It was role created for him by the show’s Producer Nigel Lythgoe. It was a role created with the American market in mind- the terribly snobbish, posh and taciturn English judge with a good nasty quip- and people lapped it up.

However, Ebert was shocked when, just hours after publishing the article, his blog host WordPress deactivated it saying it had ‘violated’ their terms and conditions. Though the blog was reinstated twelve hours, the New York Daily News report that Ebert did some investigating and the trail led to a company in India. The firm are said to be clients of SEO company ‘Reputation Management Consultants,’ who boast offices in both California and London. The company reportedly ‘monitor’ news of a few ‘name personalities’ and try to control what people read about the stars.

Reputation Management made a non-committal statement saying:

“Because of our confidential agreements we have with many of the most famous stars and companies in the world to highlight their positive contributions to society online, we are unable to release any information about our clients.”

Cowell’s spokeswoman Ann Marie Thompson says she’s never heard of Ebert or ‘Reputation Management Consultants’ and called the claims “complete and utter rubbish.” She added: “If something appeared on the Internet and Simon had any objection to it, I would have have heard of it.”

However, when you consider that a standard X Factor contract contains such clauses as:

Contestants must not make any comment that ‘may be considered unduly negative, critical or derogatory of the Company … and, in particular, Simon Cowell’.

would you be surprised if he was trying other methods to keep his reputation snowy white? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave your comments below.

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