Maintaining control over your virtual self is increasingly important. Your many, many Web accounts mean you have varying amounts of personal information floating around out there, and keeping tabs on it all is a challenge. A new application called BrandYourself is tapping into this great fear of the unknown by helping you find, sort, and make sense of your Web-facing self.
“We started BrandYourself because our co-founder Peter couldn’t get an internship in college because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer in Google,” co-founder Patrick Ambron tells us. “We realized Google is an incredibly important part of your reputation, and most people wished they had better results. The problem was, if you didn’t know how to do it yourself you were either helpless, or forced to pay thousands of dollars for expensive reputation firms to do it for you.”
You can admit: you’ve Googled yourself. We all have. And if you haven’t, you should. Or you should at least know that 75-percent of HR managers are doing it when you apply for a job. A certain generation has the rise of social media networks to thank for an increase in Web paranoia and a lack of motivation to fight it. If something ends up on the Internet, chances are it stays on the Internet. Working through Google’s system to bury or pull content isn’t as easy as it should be, and that’s where BrandYourself steps in.
The site feels like a combination of Klout (they share an investor), About.me, and LinkedIn, but serves a purpose all its own. You’re taken though a step-by-step process of analyzing how well your name is doing on the Web and what should and shouldn’t be up there. You build a landing page for yourself (which helps drive traffic to your correct personage as well as BrandYourself), and from there you can choose how to improve the search rank of content you’re attached to (and are proud of, not college Facebook photos of which you have hazy memories). It’s dead simple.
Once you start using BrandYourself, you won’t see an immediate change to your Google results. “Depending on the result, this SEO process can happen as quickly as a few days, and sometimes take as long as four to six weeks,” says Ambron.
BrandYourself is all business, despite that fact the it can integrate your various social profiles — which is perhaps our favorite part about it. We don’t need one more way to connect and share on the Internet, but we do need a way to control our image.
“I think there are going to be more and more places where you can exist online, which is why a service like ours is becoming so important,” says Ambron. “People will Google you and they expect to find good information about you. Google is your first impression, so it’s important all those profiles you made show up in the moment of truth.”