The Google Blog and Webmaster Central blog posted a blog post named Managing your reputation through search results. In this blog post, Susan from Google explains tips on how to manage your reputation online.
Basic advice from "think twice before putting your personal information online." To tips on how to contact the source of the content you want removed. If that doesn't work, Susan explains that you can try to create new pages that might outrank the negative pages in the search results. All of these tips are at the core of online reputation management.
What I found funny, maybe on a more personal level, was that every online reputation management company came out and piggy-backed off this Google blog post. Just scan some of the posts in the Google Web Search Help thread and see some of the blog posts referencing Google's post.
Anyway, if you have a reputation management issue and you cannot buy your way out of it, then you likely want to read some of those tips and join the thread.
Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.