Dark Ops Undercovered: Episode IV – Reputation Control and content take down

The 23th of March 2021, Qurium received a request for content take down from Maka Angola, this time regarding an article from 2017 about Raul Randi Kanhama Gomes and the contracts awarded to Angola Offshore Services (Panama Papers) from MSTelecom. MSTelecom is a telecommunications subsidiary of the Sonangol Group, the state petroleum company of Angola.

The request came from the UK Company Reputation Control Ltd. After asking for more information, as the mail was sent from the info@ email address, the person behind the take down request presented himself as Mark Williams “Manager & Reputation Control Specialist“.

Request for content take-down from Reputation Control Ltd.

As usual for these “invalid” take down requests, the website of the company behind the request will not provide much information. The physical addresses of the website points to Martin & Heller accountants in London where hundreds of other companies have been registered, and the address in USA to a Virtual Office (Regus in the BDIPlus building i New York) with a telephone number from Voice over IP provider ONVOY.

The copyright notice in the footer of the company (C) 2015 made us wonder if this company is the same one that we found in the UK Company Registry registered in May 2017, “Reputation Control Ltd”.

The company advertises “Google friendly methods” to remove negative content.

Google friendly methods applied by Reputation Control Ltd.

After a few emails exchanged with “Mark Williams” asking for more information, we received a “Legal Notice” crafted in five minutes with more details of the request including the name “Ido Ben-Aroya” in the meta data.

Looking into the hosting of the website we found that reputationcontrol.co{.}uk was registered in May 2017 and hosted in Israel-based provider Wix in Tel Aviv.

Looking into the UK company registry, Opencorporates and OCCRP Aleph we found Ido Ben Aroya with two nationalities “British” and “French” and born in July 1990.

Thanks to the fact that Ido decided to tattoo 1990 in Roman numbers (MCMXC) and that his name in Hebrew translates to עידו בן ארויה helped us to find our “Mark Williams” in social media.

Ido Ben-Aroya (aka Mark Williams)

As many other online reputation companies, Reputation Control needs to find creative solutions when websites refuse to remove the content demanded by their clients. After all they promise What we cannot delete, we will de-index from search engines for a one-off cost, ensuring that your name is protected. All our work is carried out confidentially by our experienced in-house team.”

Pushing down the content in search engines is a common practice and companies of this type engage in obscure SEO practices to achieve their goals. One interesting finding is that Ben-Aroya also registered the company Traffic Tycoons Ltd dedicated to pay-per-click services.

When looking for know-how and low cost solutions, Ido Ben-Aroya is a frequent user of “People per Hour” services where he looks for web developers, SEOs capable of removing content from Google Search or legal firms that can provide him with “legal letters” to motivate content take-downs.

Reputation Management Ltd looking for legal support to their clients.


As in the cases of Eliminalia and Indophone documented in our previous Episodes, Reputation Control uses similar methods to get content removed from the Internet. “Legal Notices” are sent in the name of untraceable so called “lawyers” claiming Copyright violations, the Right To Be Forgotten or the violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The fact that during the last year Qurium has received dozens of these mails from different entities targeting our hosted organizations shows that “obscure reputation management” is a lucrative business.

Although a legal framework exists, and fake take down requests often are trivial to spot, how come that these companies can operate their scams year after year? Why there are no legal charges pressed against these fraudulent organizations? In the meantime, hosting providers and search engines (i.e. Google) are playing the game of the “Reputation Management” companies serving the interest of their questionable clients.