mindswarms2_480x300 (1)Deleting unpopular posts. Changing names online. Avoiding contribution to public groups. Awareness of online reputation is changing the Internet behavior of consumers. Consumers begin to act like the corporations they’ve historically criticized for censoring online brand footprint.

In the recent market research study conducted byMindSwarms, respondents share thoughts about the permanence of the Internet, potential employer tracking, and remorse at wild or bad experiences retold (and now searchable) online. At the same time, those same individuals want only honest and accurate information from corporate brands. It’s the double standard of reputation management told by consumers.

Consumers in the study relate taking active steps to be seen in the most positive light possible online, including a more pensive “think before posting” mantra, frequent self “brand checks” via Google, and deleting posts and profiles on social networking sites.

“Ironically, individuals are starting to act like the corporations they historically have mistrusted for censoring their online footprint,” says Tom Bassett, founder of MindSwarms. While consumers expect open, uncensored access to corporate reviews and opinions, they completely control their own personal online reputations. Respondents to the study self reported a rise in such activity over the past few years.

For a population that values transparency, a double standard is the standard for personal brand versus corporate brand reputation management.