David Reid has over 20 years’ experience in the digital arena across various roles throughout his career. With a range of skills including network management, cyber security, software compliance, online reputation management, international digital marketing and project management, as well as, executive level business management – it gives credibility for David to provide expert knowledge as a consultant, independent witness and dispute mediator.
David is well known in the industry for his attention to detail, a paramount requirement for the projects and consultation he undertakes on behalf of clients and legal professions.
Using the knowledge gained whilst working with worldwide organisations, David accepts projects which span the UK, Europe and the USA.
As an active expert in the digital/data industry, David continually keeps abreast of the latest technologies and legal requirements of operating online in modern times.
Hired on a project basis or on a monthly retainer to provide strategic direction.
To act as an independent mediator to resolve disputes in confidence.
Conduct operational / IT / software systems analysis to determine worthiness.
To provide the Court with independent and objective evidence based on findings.
Providing guidance and sharing knowledge on a project / retainer basis.
Working with the exec board to strengthen the digital / IT / operational direction.
Devising strategies to control and/or cleanse what is shown online.
Recovering penalised / toxic websites back to regenerating new business.
FAST Approved Software Auditor - July 2008
The Federation Against Software Theft was the world’s first organisation to promote the legal use of software and to defend the intellectual property rights of software publishers.
As an approved auditor, David has the experience of software auditing and reconciliation with a deep understanding of the processes involved to achieve the FAST Standard for Software Compliance (FSSC-1).
FAST Approved Software Manager - July 2007
More than twenty pieces of legislation can currently impact on IT usage in businesses. Organisations that do not abide by the law risk corporate and financial penalties and potential criminal charges.
As an approved manager of the FAST Compliance Programme, David can guide companies through the minefield of Legislation, Gap Analysis, Software Licensing, Policies and Procedures so that hefty financial penalties, and even prison can be mitigated.
Beattie Communications Group – Board Director July 2010 - October 2016
Beattie Communications Group is a 30 year old integrated advertising, social, PR and digital agency. It is a global marketing organisation with offices worldwide delivering multi-lingual campaigns in 65 countries.
As an executive director, David mainly focussed on the IT technology and digital marketing divisions. He ensured that the business remained compliant with the growing number of IT legislations and fulfilled the role of Data Protection Officer.
He had overall responsibility for the team who protected the digital marketing, legal and online reputation of clients. David was involved on all contract negotiations and mediating any disputes in relation to supplier (and client) contracts for telecommunications, ISP, web hosting, software production, web development, ICT hardware and staff.
Workload Financial – Board Director October 2009 – July 2010
Workload was the UK’s leading provider of market intelligence software and online intermediary applications to the financial sector. It was a provider of software solutions to over 90 major life, investment and mortgage companies over 15 years.
David was approached to strengthen the board of Workload and to develop a technical strategy for both organic and acquisition growth.
A key role of the position was to align the business to pass due diligence exercises and external audits conducted by independent security auditors, as well as FSA compliancy tests. This was successfully delivered and the company was later sold to Equifax for an undisclosed sum, who subsequently rebranded the company Equifax Touchstone.
Decus - Board Director 2004 – 2007
Decus was a joint venture company which specialised in supplying cyber security services for blue chip, financial and legal organisations.
The business attracted experts who would undertake non-intrusive security scans, intrusive scans, penetration testing, social engineering campaigns, as well as, offering general security advice for company employees, educating senior management on security alert signals and helping them prepare for any security violations.
David was managing director and was involved in advising clients on their security vulnerabilities and the necessary actions required to secure their company data and/or systems.
Platinum Consultants – Board Director 2001 –2002
Platinum Consultants was a consultancy firm supplying strategy management, IT services and software solutions for government agencies and International companies.
David’s principle role was to commence on-site IT related investigations with key figures within the clients business. He would perform independent audits of their systems (both internally and from remote locations) to determine any weaknesses and the improvements required to either increase efficiency / profit, or recommend immediate actions to safeguard the business.
David has devoted most of his career to date investigating the internet and helping clients to profit from digital marketing.
As more and more businesses move to the web and take advantage of the exposure and sales it produces, increasingly the mainstream search engines are combating unethical (or black hat) techniques designed to circumvent the hard work required to be prominently positioned on Google and Bing.
Google (and Bing) have devised a series of penalties which will de-rank, or in worse case scenarios, remove websites from the search engines altogether – resulting in some companies going out of business.
David has specialised knowledge in these penalties and has a 100% success rate in facilitating the recovery of between 10-20 websites in the past 3 years.
Possibly the harshest of all the Google penalties, it is manually applied by a human within Google. Normally it results in websites being removed completely and then the owner being notified. Online sales, leads or enquiries will dramatically fall as a result.
David has recovered this style of penalty for several worldwide companies. He takes control of the whole process, uses industry leading software to analyse the underlying issues and devises a recovery strategy.
After which, he executes the tactical elements in compliance with the Google recognised process and finally submits a re-inclusion request. In all cases, he has successfully recovered the website at the first attempt, in doing so getting sales/leads coming back within weeks. Whereas, lesser experienced consultants/agencies have required several attempts - incurring months, if not years, of lost sales.
The algorithmic penalty was first launched in 2012 and was aimed at penalising websites with unnatural levels and quality of links specifically to manipulate the search rankings. There have been numerous algorithm updates over the years, at each update websites would be untouched or either penalised or recovered if the correct action was undertaken.
However, in 2016 Google announced that “penguin” would become a core part of their search algorithm meaning websites have the potential to be affected on a daily basis.
David employs proactive services for client websites to ensure they stay in compliance with the Google guidelines in force at each point in time. On the occasions when clients have approached him to remedy pre-existing penguin penalties, he has conducted a detailed audit of the back-links and executed a full out-reach campaign to request back-link removal or used the Google disavow tool appropriately. In each case, the websites were fully recovered and allowed the owners to continue with their marketing strategy.
Arguably the first algorithmic penalty launched by Google in 2011, it combatted websites which were of low quality or content farms – those sites which scraped or plagiarised content from other quality sources.
Now a key element of the Google search algorithm, panda is constantly monitoring websites which contravene the quality guidelines. Many website owners do not know that they can accidently create a situation where their website can be penalised due to technical reasons or repurposing content / social material over and over.
David is a respected technical SEO auditor who can identify potential issues before sites are penalised. In the event that a website has been penalised, he applies proven methodical processes to identify what issues are present and produces a working plan for recovery.
David has recovered every website suffering from a Google Panda penalty that he has consulted on for clients.
Since 2014 when the new European Union “Right to be forgotten” rule was passed, David has helped many wealthy business owners, and those rightly or wrongly, accused of fraud or other criminal activities to cleanse and repair their online reputations.
Following a detailed analysis of the offending online material, David will complete the necessary request forms, citing relevant material and acts e.g. Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, Human Rights Law to present a strong case for removal. Often this negates the need to incur the expense of appealing to local Data Protection Agencies.
David conducts campaigns covering the 28 European Union countries along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and seeks to remove damaging URLs.
He can also provide ongoing proactive advice to help move offending material out of normal sight on mainstream search engines including Google and Bing.
David has successfully used the Freedom of Information Act to gather evidence to support claims or counter-claims for organisations such as insurance companies.
Using the data held by public authorities and/or companies acting on behalf of local government, he has used this in combination with information stored on the web (or computer systems) to compile cases which has resulted in damages being rewarded to the claimant.
A graduate of the University of Strathclyde with a BSc degree in Computer Science, this set the foundations for the logical application of strong analytical skills that David possesses.
The course consisted of numerous study areas including, algorithms, databases, logic, information systems (how information is created, used and disseminated), computer systems (the fundamental role in the manipulation of data), data modelling, along with, legal, ethical and professional issues commensurate with information systems.
These are principles that David continues to apply daily within his own consulting business Villamill Digital, when undertaking consultancy projects such as digital forensics, penalty recovery, online reputation management, IT project dispute resolution and SEO audits.
David was invited to speak as a "Thought Leader" at a Scottish Enterprise organised event to over 200 SME businesses registered with their growth scheme.
The Scottish national stadium of Hampden Park was chosen as the location as it permitted TV cameras to record the session.
Consisting of a full day seminar, David hosted two full sessions on “Making money from the Internet”.
During which he passed on his knowledge of digital marketing, SEO techniques and ways in which companies can profit from using the web correctly.
STEP is a local government organisation which help local businesses. David was invited to conduct a full day training session on the use (and potential pitfalls) of digital marketing within organisations.
He first addressed the business advisers on how to properly advise and recommend to their clients the various tools and techniques at their disposal including, SEO, Social media, LinkedIn, PPC and Email marketing.
The second session was to the executive board to encourage them to “buy-into” the new programme for their own advisers. David promoted the positive effects this would have and the benefits this can offer to their clients.
GCMB are the official central marketing team for promoting Glasgow City to local, UK wide and international guests.
They are responsible for increasing the number of tourists, residents, students and businesses coming to Glasgow and the surrounding areas.
David was invited to research and present to the team of 30+ executives and senior managers, his findings on what was working, and what was not working with their approach.
This resulted in suggestions for a new strategy using digital marketing to attract more international markets to Glasgow.