Have you ever looked yourself up on Google to find something less desirable? Maybe Google has you confused with someone else with a similar name? Maybe there was that incident at that frat party 10 years ago that just won’t go away?
Typically with these types of scenarios there are reputation clean up companies out there that are more than happy to take thousands of dollars from you to help clean up your Google results. Now there’s a new game in town and it’s free. Brandyourself.com is a do it yourself utility that allows you to take control of your Google results.
More after the break
At the recent start up village event at SXSWi Brandyourself.com took home the award for Best Bootstrapped Start Up at the accelerator event presented by Microsoft’s BizSpark. The competition started from a field of 650 startup companies and than narrowed down to 40 companies in 8 categories. Brandyouself.com won the overall award for Best Bootstrapped Startup.
“We were hoping to win the award for our category but certainly not expecting to win the overall award,” said BrandYourself.com CEO Patrick Ambron. “It’s testament to the quality of our application, and, more importantly, to the problem that we solve. BrandYourself.com helps people make sure they have positive results showing up when people Google their name, so they aren’t forced to pay a reputation company thousand of dollars to do it for them.”
So in case you were wondering, Brandyourself.com was born out of one of the co-founders needs to clear up a Google results mishap. Brandyouself.com co-founder Pete Kistler couldn’t get an internship in college because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer with the same name on Google. Today, as you can see above, all of Kisteler’s results are rightfully his.
The interface is rather easy. You start by entering your email address and than the name that you want cleaned up. For instance if your name is John Williams but you go by Johnnie Williams you would want to do work on the name Johnie Williams. Brandyourself.com lets you create a professional looking profile, complete with photo and you go down a list of search results and mark which ones are you and which ones aren’t. That allows brandyourself.com to learn who you are.
The other great thing about brandyourself.com is that it tells you with each step what it’s doing and why. While you add content to your brandyourself.com profile it shows you best practices to fix your Google results.
We got to interview Patrick Ambron the CEO Of Brandyouself.com
So how long have you guys been working on Brandyouself.com?
We started working on it while we were in school in 2009, aroudn the time we realized Pete couldn’t get an internship because everyone thought he was a drug dealer. I had a background in SEO and pete was a great designer but neither had any experience building a product before. We learned to code as we went, and in the summer of 2009 we really started trying to get a product out while supporting ourselves with restaraunt jobs at night. We finally got a product out in late 2010, and while it signed a bunch of people up, it was slow and complex and we knew it was time to bring on real engineers. We showed we had a viable product so thats when we were able to raise a round, hire engineers (great ones!) and concentrate on rebuilding for the last 11 months
There is a third co-founder, Evan Watson, who we also met at school. He’s a really talented guy with an analytical marketing mind, and concentrates on customer acquisition
I had a background in SEO in college and so Pete approached me when he had his problem (his only other choice was to pay a reputation company like reputation.com $5k/yr. Pete happened to found a club called Iventure that connected student “techies” with local businesses for jobs. That’s where we met Evan
Syracuse NY, at the Syracuse Technology Garden
Believe it or not, its a great environment. The community and the University are really getting behind the startup movement. The university partnered with the Syracuse Technology Gardent, an incubator in DT Syracuse to give student companies a chance to try to build their companies with free office space and mentorship. It was really important for us when we were starting out. Every summer there are 15 new student companies coming out of Syracuse University, Cornell, RPI, RIT, etc creating a great environment to be. Best of all, you don’t have the expensive living costs that exist in places like NYC or the Bay Area
Our model is designed around the idea that 2% of people will eventaully upgrade. That makes us profitable without needing to charge people too much. Right now we are converting 3% of people in the first 24 hrs. Those who aren’t paying are boosting all three free links, which means they are likely to upgrade at some point in the future and they love using the product. We are pleasantly surprised at our numbers
Well the nice thing about us is, we are completely White Hat–meaning search engines approve of all of our tactics. Most just need to do basic optimization to help them rank better for their name. Algorithm changes are meant to penalize businesses using “black hat” techniques that essentially trick them into getting an artificial edge in results. Unless your name is “car insurance” you aren’t competeting with thousands and thousands of SEO experts trying to rank number 1.
To be honest we actually use the phrase “control your Google results” because it’s easier for mainstream consumers to relate to rather than “control your Search Results”.
Everything you do with us optimizes your content for ALL search engines. That said, we use Google to track your rankings because it is the major search engine most people use, so the most important to your reputation. However, in the near future we will be allowing you to track your rankings in the other major search engines, and probably make that a premium feature.
Well, for obvious reasons I have Syracuse going all the way–so as of now, i still have hope