Need a last minute stocking stuffer for your kids? I have an idea that they will be grateful to have for years to come. Buy them their own domain name. I know it’s not a gift they’re begging Santa for but it’s worth every penny and then some.
Do you know of anyone that shares a name with a famous person? I know of several people that do. I also know a few people that have the same name as a porn star. I’m waiting for the day that I hear an even worse situation (like sharing a name with a bad guy from the news). The odds are, their name is already claimed online. Why does this matter to your kid?
When they are ready for college, a job, or other life adventure they will be searched for online. Their school counselor, college admissions committee, future employer or mate will do their research and if your child shares a name with someone more well known than they are, the name will already be claimed online and your kid will be forever fighting against that tide and the misunderstanding that comes with it.
Go to the internet or another tab in your browser right now. Search your child’s name. What do you find? Make sure you look at the images available as well as traditional search results. Type their name in your browser (example http://www.annadams.com). Is it a live website? Or do you see a listing that says it’s for sale or maybe there’s nothing at all?
If it’s available, go buy it right now! I personally use http://www.GoDaddy.com to purchase my domains. On this site, domains start at $9.99 and go up. Some other sites may offer them cheaper. Which version should you buy? Web addresses that end in “.com” are the best to get because they are the most commonly used. What if you can’t get the “.com”? Try putting in their middle initial, full middle name, or a hyphen. If none of those work, try the “.net” extension next.
What will they do with it? Once you (they) own the name, you can point that domain to any place you like such as a free Google Sites, WordPress blog, Tumblr blog or other site of your choice. (You can also simply “park” the domain which means you don’t even have to post content. But you’ve got the car, why not drive it?) When they are in high school or college, they might put up a portfolio of assignments of which they are proud, community service projects, or other examples of their work. I like GoDaddy to because they have amazing customer service and when it’s time to transfer the domain from your ownership and credit card to your kid, you can simply call GoDaddy on the phone (a phone? what’s that?) and they will make the transfer of ownership from you to your child super easy.
Their name is the first item relating to their reputation and building it starts the second they are born. Help them get ahead and secure their digital real estate. For such a small yearly investment, you can ensure that they have some control over their legacy and reputation.
Read more about reputation management in my new book “What You Don’t Know About Social Media CAN Hurt You: Take Control of Your Online Reputation”. It has a whole section devoted to this subject and many more helpful tips.
Recently several people have asked me about Spokeo, an aggregate website that lists personal information already available on the web, yet I hadn’t seen it for myself until the last report I worked up. When I encountered it while doing a reputation management report for a client (online brand and personal name search, findings, and includes how to build up great brand content or eliminate that which is incorrect or undesirable), I dropped what I was doing, applied this to myself to learn how it worked, and how to teach you to remove your information.
Navigate to www.spokeo.com and enter your name. You may find that you have several listings. This information comes from public records such as utility bills, phone listings, and more. Investigate each listing that may possibly be you. You will see information such as gender, age, phone number, street address, and a photo of your neighborhood. In order to see the full results, they will charge you. Don’t pay! You can simply remove yourself. (You can read more about privacy rights on the web at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse or about the $80,000 fine levied against Spokeo by the FTC.)
- Copy the listing URL out of the address bar and then navigate to www.spokeo.com/privacy
- Scroll down until you see “Removing Your Listing from Spokeo”
- Paste the URL into the Profile URL box and in the next box put an email address where you’ll be receiving a confirmation link
- Enter in the Captcha phrase and Remove This Listing
- You should receive an email almost instantly that has a link saying “To complete the removal process, please click here.” It works instantly.
- Now keep looking yourself up and repeating this process until they are all eliminated.* I did it for myself and got rid of three listings in less than 5 minutes. Now do it for your spouse and kids.
*When I repeated this process to make sure I got all my steps right for my blog, I used my husband’s information. Spokeo only allowed me to do 2 before it throttled me by saying “In order to prevent abuse, we must limit the frequency of automated privacy requests.” Don’t let them stop you! Go back in an hour or tomorrow but eliminate all information that you can! Yes you can pay an outside service to do this for you but it’s much more expensive and time consuming than you’d like to believe.
Other services with a similar information and process:
- ZoomInfo to opt out use www.ZoomInfo.com/privacy
- 411.info, to opt out use www.411.info/privacy
- White Pages, to opt out use http://www.whitepagescustomers.com/get-help-with-a-personal-listing/
Other aggregator sites like Spokeo:
Now Available – “What You Don’t Know About Social Media CAN Hurt You: Take Control of Your Online Reputation” at http://bit.ly/KRCbook
I haven’t talked about this to many people but I’ve been writing a book on online reputation management called “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Take Control of Your Online Reputation”. After working in social media exclusively for 4 years now, I hear more and more that individuals and businesses that are affected by their online reputation and I decided it was time to publish on the subject.
Truthfully, I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve been writing fiction and poetry since I could hold a pencil. Publishing was a far flung dream until just the last year or so when self publishing became a real option for writers without a book deal. Over the winter holiday of 2011, I sat down and looked at my blog and wrote down the title and theme for everything I’d written over the last 4 years. I found the recurring messages and ended up with outlines for EIGHT books! Some of them will end up being ebooks only but I realized I had enough material to get started.
When I hosted “Risks & Reputation Management: Using Social Media to Protect Your Brand” in March 2012, I pushed this subject ahead of all the rest. This is the one that affects your bottom line, life, and livelihood. This is the one that I think is the scariest and can do the most damage. (If you missed it, never fear! I’ll be doing another seminar in this same vein tentatively scheduled for 10/10/12 in Santa Rosa.)
I am writing all that I know on the subject. The how to’s, the whats, where to go, instructions, tips and more. This is a big one and I hope you take what you need from it to protect yourself and/or your business. If you can’t do it all for yourself, I’m still here to help. Connect with me on any channel that you prefer (you can see all my sm channels on the top of every page of my website except for the home page or use the Contact page).
Social media and online use are only going to increase. My goal is to give you actionable steps to get ahead of the ball.
The book will be available as a preorder in September 2012 and will be shipped in October 2012. You will be able to purchase the book here. If you are on my mailing list, you’ll get notified when pre sale becomes available.
You learned a lot of information when you attended “Risks & Reputation Management: Using Social Media to Protect Your Brand”. Or maybe someone you know wasn’t able to come. What are the takeaways?
Disclaimer: You will not be able to accomplish all of this in one day. I want to help manage your expectations. You will want to set aside time to accomplish these tasks on a regular basis (maybe once or twice a week) until you’ve worked your way through the list. Pace yourself. What you learn in this process about the online image of your name and your business will be worth all the effort.
• Perform a vanity search (*1)
• Respond to negative commenters in a positive and validating way (*2)
• Setup Google Alerts (*1)
• Setup Google Places (*3)
• Setup business on Directories (*3)
• Legacy Management/Process (*4)
• Assess Computer Systems security (*4)
• Create a Crisis Plan (*4)
• Setup internal Social Media Communications Policy (*4)
• Assess customer service requirements with survey (*2)
• Review website (I recommend reading it out of order to to more easily spot errors) for correct information, functionality, browser compatibility, update on a schedule to keep rankings high with Google (*4)
Blogs to show you how to do the action items:
[Image via CampaignsMD]
Go ahead, do a vanity search (otherwise known as “Google-ing”) for your name or business. Do you like what you find? So often, people say they’ve done this and have been unhappy at the information they find. It’s old, it’s personal, it’s simply wrong. Don’t waste your time trying to get those webmasters to remove your information because they: 1) won’t 2) aren’t home 3) have been closed down 4) there are simply too many 5) they all get their information from somewhere. You can be proactive with your online information (see How to Get Started in Reputation Management) and displace it with content you DO want people to see. Or you can list yourself.
Why is it important to make sure the information about yourself on the internet is correct? Yellow Pages Association and comScore found that local search for businesses, products and services grew 58% last year and reached 15.7 billion searches, more than a tenth of overall search traffic. Additionally, see this Sprout Social blog to read more about the benefits of social media on local search results.
According to Internet Reputation Management, 94% of people do research before buying and 60% of those are going to research you online. They might use a phone, they might not. If they were to call you, they most likely aren’t using a traditional phone directory. People under the age of 35 probably don’t have a landline. Did you know that if you don’t have a landline, you may not get a book delivered to your door? It’s true. 18 states have enacted an opt-in policy for delivery and only 2% choose to receive one. Check out this infographic by WhitePages to see the status of the phone book.
Here are some tools that I think you’ll find helpful. Granted, there are more here than you’ll ever really use but pick and choose the ones you want to list yourself on. Focus on the biggies towards the top of the list and the ones that have incorrect info about you and get them the right stuff:
- Google Places
- Merchant Circle
- Manta (really common search result)
- Facebook (get a business page and list your address)
- Citysearch (click register to get started)
- InsiderPages (sign up then search for your business, claim it, or create your listing)
- Localeze (search for your business, claim or add listing)
- Angie’s List
- Get Listed (an aggregate and will show you what your listings look like)
Read more blogs by Kerry Rego Consulting on Reputation Management: http://bit.ly/krcrepmng
[Image via Sustainable SPC]