Wherever we go, we leave electronic footprints. When you post a complaint on Epinions.com, a review on Amazon, or a comment in a newsgroup, your opinions are shared, with everyone, forever. Buy a house, default on a credit card, switch jobs a few times - it's all there, online, for everyone to see.
One thing is becoming crystal clear: You are your references. If a friend tells me a play is no good, I don't go. A friend's recommendation will also determine my choice of lawn-care service or an island to vacation on. My publisher just sent me an email asking about a potential author - and if I don't back up the author's version of our relationship, he won't get the contract.
No person or company can escape their past. You can no longer change your prices with impunity, because the old price lists may be cached at The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, which regularly takes snapshots of Web sites and stores them forever. With a little care, you won't hire a manager with a history of abusing his employees, because the lawsuits are all in the public record.
Via McGee's Musings