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What are the Functions and Methods of Ego-Search as a Risk Management Strategy?


What are the Functions and Methods of Ego-Search as a Risk Management Strategy?

Ego Search, often abbreviated as “Egosa” in Japanese, is a term derived from the Latin word “Ego” meaning “I”, and the English word “search”. In Japanese, it translates to “self-search”, which refers to the act of using the internet to search for one’s own name. The term “name” is not limited to an individual’s real name. It also applies to searching for your handle name or ID when disseminating information on the internet, as well as searching for the name of your blog or website. Furthermore, it includes instances where not just individuals, but also companies, organizations, and other entities search for their own names or account names to check evaluations, reactions, and reputations.

What You Can Do with Ego Search

With ego search, you can check if there are any comments that could lead to defamation or affect your company’s reputation.

When you publish your writings or creations on the internet, it’s natural to want to know how they are being received by the public. Many people can’t help but care about others’ evaluations. Not only for individuals, but also for companies, ego search is a necessary tool. In considering risk management, it’s essential to grasp the reputation and rumors about your company that exist on social media and to be prepared to take measures promptly.

Understanding Your Company’s Reputation and Evaluation

Ego-searching is a simple and useful method for those who provide products or services, or run a store, to understand the reputation and evaluation of their own services or stores. For those running a restaurant, the gourmet site “Tabelog” is now indispensable, and for local business owners, Google My Business is an essential tool to effectively utilize. However, ego-searching has the potential to play the same role as these.

Ego-searching is an opportunity to hear candid opinions about products, services, and stores for free. The number of companies that are ego-searching as part of their marketing research is increasing, and it is possible that products and services will be improved based on the content and articles discussed on the internet.

Finding Defamatory and Malicious Comments

Of course, the reputation and ratings of your own services or stores found on the internet, like on “Tabelog” or Google My Business, may not necessarily be accurate. In fact, there may be many inaccurate reputations and ratings. However, it is precisely for this reason that companies and business owners need to respond to these.

Many people discourage individuals from doing ego searches, mainly because there are many malicious articles, and most of them can deeply hurt one’s feelings. Generally, people don’t speak much when praising others, but become verbose when criticizing. Especially on the internet, where the conversation is not face-to-face, many people assume they can remain anonymous, which can lead to unrestrained comments and even potential abusive language.

When doing an ego search, it is often said that you need to be prepared to find only bad rumors. However, it is dangerous to ignore the defamatory and malicious comments you find. There is a risk that they could be copied and spread. Therefore, it is necessary to take measures such as “requesting deletion” before this happens.

Capable of Handling Reputational Damage

When a company is labeled with negative comments such as “That company is a black company,” it can lead to consequences such as a decrease in job applications due to concerns about the work environment and interpersonal relationships. In the past, the main medium for job postings was town pages, but now, most are through job sites on smartphones and PCs. Almost all new graduates and those considering a career change will undoubtedly search for the names of companies they are considering for employment or job change, and check their reputation. It’s safe to say that there are virtually no job postings that do not use the internet today.

Negative comments on the internet about a company (such as “That company is engaged in illegal activities”) can also hinder public listing examinations. For example, when applying for a new listing, an audit firm may be brought in as an advisor for the listing examination. If the audit firm points out issues with the company’s online reputation (social reputation/evaluation), immediate action must be taken.

It may be sufficient to regularly check the first page of results when searching for your company or product name on a search site. Also, if your sales or job postings are dependent on a specific site, you should always monitor the comment section of pages related to your company on that site.

Preventing Online Backlash

Part-time job terrorism, or “baito tero”, is a major headache for those who provide goods and services or run stores. Generally, baito tero refers to the act of non-regular employees working in restaurants or retail stores posting pranks involving products or fixtures on social media, leading to an online backlash. If such actions become widely known, it can even lead to the closure of the business.

In 2019, incidents such as the “Kura Sushi Baito Tero”, “Ootoya Baito Tero”, and “Seven-Eleven Oden Incident” caused significant damage. Ootoya had to close all its stores on March 12th for a “re-education” to regain trust. Early response to such baito tero is necessary. By conducting ego searches, it is possible to handle the situation before the baito tero becomes widely known, preventing the spread of the backlash and potentially “extinguishing” it.

Check for Personal Information Leaks

You can also check for any leaks of your personal information.

Whether through malice or negligence, your personal information may be leaked online. However, by using ego-search, you might be able to detect it before it spreads. If your arrest record or criminal history is posted and disseminated, resulting in a large number of people becoming aware of your past, you could suffer significant disadvantages. As we explained in another article on our site, you may need to request the removal of such posts, but it is best to discover them as early as possible before they spread.[ja]

There may also be instances where photos of you or your family are posted on social media or video sites without your knowledge. As we explained in another article on our site, in such cases, it is necessary to take swift action before the damage escalates.[ja]

Identifying Impersonation

On Twitter, there may be instances where someone creates a fake account impersonating you, using your profile picture, and repeatedly harasses others with offensive language or posts obscene photos. This is not only done to individuals, but also to businesses and stores.

However, the act of creating a fake account itself is not a crime. As we explained in another article on our site, even if someone uses your profile picture to create a Twitter account, it does not immediately constitute an infringement of your “portrait rights”.[ja]

Many people use Facebook as a professional tool, and for these people, impersonation or account hijacking can lead to not only a decrease in social reputation and trust, but also potentially significant financial damage.

Impersonators create Facebook accounts with the same name, post pictures that resemble the real person, and send friend requests or messages to that person’s friends. Since many people who receive these friend requests often mistake the impersonator for the real person, it is necessary to notify your friends and acquaintances promptly.

Originally, the purpose of Facebook impersonation was to lure people to paid sites and defraud them of money, but there are also many cases of personal harassment. If defamatory statements are made to appear as if they were made by the real user, the person believed to be the speaker may suffer a significant loss of social credibility, and relationships may be destroyed. In addition, there are cases where the purpose is to obtain personal information such as friends’ addresses, birth dates, and relationships. In these cases, the inconvenience directly affects those around you, which can be very troublesome.

If you can detect such impersonation early through ego-searching, there is a greater chance of being able to respond before the damage spreads.[ja]

How to Conduct Ego Search

Searching your own name on SNS is also considered an ego search.

The basic method of ego searching is to “search for your own name”. There are no restrictions on the media that can be the target of ego search. It can be done by searching on major search sites such as Google and Yahoo!, as well as on social networking sites (SNS) like Twitter and Instagram.

Searching on Google for Blogs and Other Sources

One of the simplest ways to conduct an ego search is to search for your own name, company name, or store name on Google. Just by entering your name in the search box, you can find blogs and other sources that mention your name.

However, not limited to Google search, in cases where the same name is common (like “Kyoko”, which is short and likely to be shared by many people), a large number of comments and accounts will be displayed as search results. Therefore, it may be necessary to devise ways to search, such as “residence + name” or “workplace + name”. If it’s a store name, “store name + industry” or “store name + station name” should be fine.

Checking How You Are Tweeted About on Twitter

When searching on Twitter, you can pick up posts that include your name by entering your name, company name, store name, or any other name you want to search for in the search box (where it says “keyword search” in gray) located at the top right corner of the screen.

For example, if someone writes a comment about a person on Twitter saying “abcd246 is lying about XX”, if “abcd246” conducts an ego search, they will find this tweet. To avoid ego search, you can tweet something like “abcd○○6 is lying about XX”, so that no results will come up even if you search for “abcd246”. This act is called ego search evasion.

When slandering someone in secret, you may use initials or asterisks to tweet while avoiding the other party’s ego search. However, it is often clear to those around you that it is about “abcd246” from the context, so you need to be careful about how you search. It’s a good idea to try not only full name search but also nickname and asterisk search.

Checking How You Are Featured on Instagram

By entering your name, company name, store name, or any other name you want to search for in the search box (where it says “keyword search” in gray) with the magnifying glass icon, you can pick up posts that include your name.

On Google and Twitter, after entering the search keywords, you can search for images and videos by clicking on the “Images” and “Videos” tabs. Instagram’s official app does not have a feature to search for images and videos separately, but there are apps that allow you to do so.


If you discover defamation, impersonation, and other issues through ego-searching, you will need to take measures such as “requesting deletion”. However, if you wish to apply for a provisional disposition, or in cases where:

  • The same type of posts are repeatedly made even after deletion
  • The severity of reputational damage is high and dangerous
  • Personal information has been leaked
  • It involves crimes such as revenge porn or threats

Please consult with an experienced attorney. You can expect a prompt response.

Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

The Editor in Chief: Managing Attorney: Toki Kawase

An expert in IT-related legal affairs in Japan who established MONOLITH LAW OFFICE and serves as its managing attorney. Formerly an IT engineer, he has been involved in the management of IT companies. Served as legal counsel to more than 100 companies, ranging from top-tier organizations to seed-stage Startups.

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