One alternative is to create a fictitious person whose reputation you can freely manipulate without any fear of impacting your own reputation. There are two ways to do this: one is to choose a somewhat-uncommon name that already has an established presence, to practice competing with established names and presences; the other is to create a strange name that shows no Google results whatsoever.
The latter is the easiest way to begin playing with online reputation management, and means you won’t be competing with another real person who might need the results you’ll be sniping from them. One easy way to create a fictitious name is to simply combine two common first names and two common last names to make something new, such as, “Janedy Cannelson.”
The next step is to begin creating online content and social profiles with that name, to see what has the most weight. Using the various tools of online reputation management you can populate the internet with the world of your fictitious person. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Digg, and other free services are one place to begin creating profiles. A domain name with the fictitious name and perhaps a blog installed is another. Specialized services such as LookupPage is yet another.
Once you’ve created these pages, you can track over time where they show up on Google in searches for the fictitious names. Try commenting on popular blogs, writing forum posts, and being active in all corners of the internet with the fictitious personality. Over time this will help paint a very clear picture of which services are most effective, and which are less so.