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Ex-Speaker Cannon joins online reputation firm

by John Kennedy | May 22nd, 2013

In a move that may sound a little like rain on your wedding day, a leading online reputation-building company announced Wednesday that former Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon has joined its board of advisors., whose website says it is dedicated to “protecting and advocating for our clients’ online images,” is part of a growing industry of digital message-shapers.

Cannon, R-Winter Park, ended his two-year stint as House Speaker last fall and since has opened a Tallahassee lobbying firm, Capitol Insight, with another Republican ex-speaker, Larry Cretul, among his employees.

Cannon’s path from being on the receiving end of lobbying to actually doing lobbying himself isn’t uncommon at the Capitol. But the trajectory became harshly condemned by senators this spring as they crafted a new state ethics law.

The measure approved by lawmakers and signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Rick Scott extends a current, two-year ban on former legislators lobbying the Legislature to include a new, two-year restriction on ex-lawmakers lobbying the executive branch and state agencies.

In a statement, president Michael Zammuto said there was a ”natural synergy” between and Capitol Insight.

“Online reputation management is critical across the political process, and indeed, political campaigns worldwide are won and lost on the basis of online reputation and the effectiveness of their online strategies,” Zammuto said.  “As such, has been busily gearing up for the
next election cycle, and expanding our services in the political realm.”

In the company statement, Cannon said, “The usefulness of online reputation management in the political campaign process is difficult to overstate.”

“Just imagine,” he added, “If an unflattering news headline or erroneous accusation come to light, a company like can help political campaigns get the facts of their message out aggressively, and even push those unwanted headlines off the first page of an online search results page. This can be a huge potential advantage for any political campaign.”




16 Responses to “Ex-Speaker Cannon joins online reputation firm”

  1. Appropriate Says:

    In a statement, president Michael Zammuto said there was a ”natural synergy” between and Capitol Insight… because, as an ex-legislator who was banned from lobbying legislators was a poster child for a new ban on future ex-legislators from lobbying the executive branch.

  2. Kevin Says:

    “” could be called “” or “” or pick any title that describes their deceptive business model. These companies squash undesirable reviews by flooding the internet comment sites with false positive reviews designed to dilute the truthful negative ones. I’m waiting for the first law suite seeking damages resulting from this intentional manipulation of internet search results. It’s not a stretch to believe companies like this could be held accountable for leading someone into doing business with a criminal. What could be even worse, selecting a bad physician that mutilated or killed a patient who went to him or her based on one of their false positive
    ……….. reviews. The counter to this new internet deception would be to subscribe to a service like Angies list that only allows members to post reviews but who’s to say a company like reputation changer wouldn’t find a way to post its lies there too? The potential deceptions that could result from a “synergy” between a political lobbying firm and an internet search engine manipulator are too scary to think about. George Orwell couldn’t think this stuff up.

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