Do you have online reputation problems? Check out this recent article from the March edition of Entrepreneur. Below are some highlights from the article.
Fighting back: BrandYourself’s Peter Kistler.
Syracuse University junior Peter Kistler was livid when he learned that a standard Google search of his name had derailed his application for a coveted internship at Microsoft. The company nixed him after seeing the links to stories about another Peter Kistler, who happened to be a drug dealer and convicted sex offender.
That mix-up was the impetus for BrandYourself.com, a DIY platform to help people take control of their online profiles. After leaving school in 2009, Kistler and college friends Patrick Ambron and Evan Watson cobbled together a rudimentary site. It went live in early 2010, showing users how keywords and regular updates could boost the search engine rank of their own content from networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The main draw to the new site is the free BrandYourself profile, on which users submit three links about themselves they wish would appear higher in search engine rankings. BrandYourself’s software analyzes the links and spits out an action list of specific tasks designed to boost SEO, such as removing nicknames or building a more descriptive URL. The killer feature: The site monitors the profile to let users know when someone has clicked on it, how they found it, where they’re based and, according to Brand-Yourself, “who they work for.”
“Our biggest users are real-estate agents, entrepreneurs and small-business owners, social media marketing people and, by a decent margin, job applicants,” Ambron says. “With 75 percent of HR departments required to do a Google search on every applicant, it’s easy to see why.”