Many of us would like to know who is googling us or trying to find information about us online. BrandYourself is a website on which you can set up an online profile that search results rank high, and gives information about people who are googling you.
Mashable reports that BrandYourself co-founder Patrick Ambron, said: “They (users) are being googled. It gives them an idea of who is looking them up, and it motivates them to update their profile and make sure they’re putting their best foot forward.”
BrandYourself is a site that helps you manage Google results for names. Recently, it introduced a new feature that shows users where visitors to their profiles work and their location.
The website has competitors such as Ziggs and Naymz which work by placing the user's profile on their websites high up in search engine results. When someone clicks through, the user receives an email alert that gives the IP address and where in the world the search originated from and the search term the person used. This information may help the user guess who they are or why they have googled the user's name.
BrandYourself's new feature gives the added advantage that it uses a comprehensive database of available IP addresses of organizations. It uses the database to identify visitors to users' profile by matching the information on the database with the visitor's. Any visitor who reaches the user's profile page from Google or any other search engine may be identified by reference to the organization he works for, Mashable reports.
The feature also allows users to choose up to three links they would like to see ranked higher in search results for their names. A link from users' BrandYourself profile to other online profiles helps to boost search ranking of the other profile.
LinkedIn is a popular website that shows who visited your profile and gives information about the visitors from his/her LinkedIn profile. But if the visitor has no LinkedIn profile then no information is available. Ambron says: “[BrandYourself] is similar to how LinkedIn and MyLife do it between their internal users. Except, applied to the entire web.”
Mashable points out that the system has obvious limitations. The database only lists IP addresses of large organizations whose IP addresses are publicly available. A smaller company may not be listed.
According to The Boston Channel, someone googles someone else's name fifty million times a day. While new developing technologies such as provided by BrandYourself raise privacy concerns for people who think searches should be anonymous, many users, especially professionals, consider them very useful. The Boston Channel reports that a Ziggs user, Elizabeth Yekhtikian, says she gets an e-mail at least once a day from Ziggs alerting her that someone has googled her. She said: "I can check on the site and it shows me with little maps where the searches are coming from, and from exactly which town, within which state or part of the country or the world. That's kind of cool."
Katie May, a Naymz.com user, found out that an old boyfriend had been googling her and sending inappropriate emails. She said: "He works for a University and all those searches were coming from that University."
Ziggs CEO Tim DeMello, gives an insight into how his site and similar sites work: "Every computer has a Web browser that has an IP address, which basically gives you a location. It gives you the ability to time stamp it. So if someone goes to Google and they are in San Diego, we clearly know the time they went on and the time it came into us. We know what browser it came from."
Ambron says that since BrandYourself was launched in March, they now have 25,000 users, 80% of whom have set up profiles. About 1,000 users have subscribed to a $10 per-month premium product that allows them to optimize unlimited links.