Living in the age of search results can be frightening. Cases of mistaken identity are common, and we’re always one wrong Google result away from losing a job, or dealing with the righteous anger from a significant other. Many people are willing to be found in searches, but dealing with these mistakes can be difficult and costly.
BrandYourself is a new company that was born after one of the co-founders personally experienced the negative side of the Information Age and found himself disqualified for an internship, after being mistaken for a drug dealer. The service has been invite-only for the past month but is planning on opening its doors to users on Thursday, March 8th.
I had the chance to explore the application today, and I have to say that the team at BrandYourself are really on to something here. The entire website is incredibly well-designed and clearly laid out, with helpful prompts guiding a new user through the entire setup process.
I have a personal interest in this company, because, well, let’s say that I’m not happy with the search results for “Nathaniel Mott.” When I was going through middle school this was a bit of an issue, as every search for my name or nickname would lead to another person named Nate Mott that happened to be working on his musical career with an Internet-visible short term loan on record. (Sorry, Nate, if I’ve ruined that for you. No hard feelings?)
With BrandYourself I go through, search for myself, and then rate the first page of Google results as Positive, Negative, or “Not Me.” Each gives BrandYourself an idea of how good your current search results are.
From there you’re prompted to create an account with the service, which will likely show up in the first page of search results. In this way BrandYourself allows you to create an optimized landing page full of the information that you’d like people to find, whenever they look you up on top of promoting or demoting current items flying around the Internet.
Of course, part of the reason this is such an issue is the common occurrence of certain names. If there were no one else named Nathaniel Mott, there wouldn’t be a singer-songwriter out for my blood, after I’ve ruined his rankings in the search results. So what happens if two people with the same name both sign up for BrandYourself?
I asked Patrick Ambron, co-founder and CEO (no, not the one that shares a name with a drug dealer) what were to happen in that scenario. He explained that if two people have equally-optimized results, there are still ways of moving up and down in the rankings, like measuring how often they’re mentioned or linked to. BrandYourself will actually let you know when you have been lying dormant for too long and are slipping down the page. From there it’s a matter of creating relevant content and working your way back up.
That’s also where the BrandYourself profile comes into play. Besides your name, you can also include other relevant information, such as your location and profession. Nathaniel Mott the singer-songwriter will probably want to let people know that he’s an artist, while Nathaniel Mott the tech writer will want to fill that specific area out differently. As people continue to learn how to use search engines this information will become more and more useful, and BrandYourself is here to help ensure that you don’t have to suffer from same-name-itis again.
As the population continues to climb and more, and more employers are searching for prospective employees to find out what sort of dirt the Internet can provide, tools like BrandYourself are going to become more and more important.
If you’re ready to take your search results into your own hands, BrandYourself is opening their doors later this week. I recommend giving the site a try, as everything is pixel-perfect and ready to go.
Oh, and the co-founder that Google labeled a drug dealer? His name is Pete Kistler, and he now owns the top sixty-five search results for his name. BrandYourself was built to scratch an itch, and the company has put its money where its mouth is.