1) Some of you wanted to know how HN compares to other sources for us, in terms of signups, conversions, etc. I'll post it in this thread at the end of the day (would you guys want a follow up post on this "Value of HN visits")
2) I've gotten some great feedback on the actual product from the HN crowd, which is awesome. Feel free to leave any feedback on this thread (you can try it at http://brandyourself.com)
I have a question. Why is the title of your http://patrickambron.brandyourself.com/ brandyourself page "Patrick Ambron, Internet"? Specifically, why ", Internet"?
In the top ten for my firstname lastname I have:
a famous chef,
a life coach who is doing branding SEO,
someone else who is a programmer,
a professional photographer
various high school kids,
a registered sex offender
You are thinking the right way by trying to add an initial or middle name to your name. I'd be very surprised if you're name was too competitive to get some results.
Shoot me an email, I'd be happy to take a look and give somem advice pambron [at] brandyourself [dot] com
1) People get so excited to talk to a real person, even if they've just experienced a bug. These people become huge fans
2) It's the best way to learn about who's using your product. It's much easier to design and develop when you're thinking of specific people
I'd recommend everybody do it
How do you start this conversation with a publication? How hard is it to simply cold email Mashable and attempt to get an article?
I'm assuming once the relationship is built it's easy to get follow up posts but do you have advice for making that initial connection?
And yes, once you establish that relationship it becomes easier to tell them about an upcoming story. Even then, you want to keep it short, and focus on the story for them so the hard work is already done. "Hey, we just released a new feature. We can actually tell you when an employer googles you or finds your profile. For example, say you're interviewing at ad agencies in NYC, you might get a alert that says someone from Ogilvy just Googled your name and found your profile" We're really the only place providing this intelligence, let me know if you want more"
> Co-Founder & CEO at BrandYourself.com
> January 2009 - January 2000
I like your product too. It feels more personal than a linkedin.
I have two concerns:
1) What happens when two people with the same name sign up? Couldn't that lead to issues where they're both trying to promote their own stuff while burying the others?
2) Is there any way that someone could pose as someone they're not in order to sabotage that persons google results, or I could see the possibility of a friend doing that in order to pull a prank on you?
As I said I haven't fully explored to site, so if these concerns are addressed on there, apologies. Great article!
1) In terms of duplicate names, the product also helps you optimize for specific relevant terms like "Patrick Ambron, developer" or "Patrick Ambron, BrandYourself" "patrick ambron, NYC" etc. So people looking for you will be able to find you. That said, if two people are competing for the first page of Patrick Ambron using our service, the person more actively updating and creating content will edge the other out (google loves new, relevant content). But, at least they'll be a leg up on all the other Patrick Ambron's of the world
2) This is definately a possibility--in the same way, I can go and create a wordpress site using your name. It's hard to detect, but there are warning flags we look for. If you create an account for Patrick Ambron, but don't have the authentication for any of the other profiles (FB, twitter, LI) it looks suspicious and we check it out. We also have a policy where if you email us because somebody is using your information in an account, we will suspend the account for you, until the user can verify that they are who they say they are.
Do they attempt to create a top ranked page about you, and then monitor IP addresses visiting it, and match that to some db that maps company to IP address?
We could always tell you when someone found that profile and where they came from (they came from FB, or they came from Google after Googling your name", but recently we started mapping the IP address to organizations. That data is really accesible--you can buy a list from most major hosting companies--but it's not really used for this purpose
Most VPS providers will let you change the rDNS record for the IP.
Interestingly enough, one of the things we need to keep our eye on is people going through the trouble to create accounts--including social media profiles---about other people. Would not have guessed that would be a problem
Keep expecting a pivot to small biz though and hope that's in the plans, seems like a much easier group to monetize.
Right now we are focused purely on individuals (it helps us keep the product simple). It stems from our mission, "a person shouldn't have to pay a lot of money to manage or improve their own search results." While small businesses are easier to monetize, we're happy to just help as many people out as possible, and as long as 2% want the premium features, we're in a good place
If someone from the company is reading: I found out I already have an account (probably from the time it launched), but I can't access it. Login doesn't work and when I try to reset my password it says "e-mail not found".
You might as well be proactive and make sure you have some relevant content well optimized. Otherwise you might be represented by something negative posted by somebody else, or something irrelevant, or mistaken for somebody else all together--my cofounder Pete couldn't get an internship in college because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer
In other words, if you don't define yourself, something else will.
Other than that keep up the great work!
Since so many people were curious to see the affect HN would have on our signups, I think I'm going to do a follow up post next week.
As a startup founder, however, it's invaluable. I'm a converted fan, and the process even taught this rookie a bunch about link building and SEO.
Great work, keep it up, and loved the blog post.
If you're interested, just shoot me an email (pambron [at] brandyourself [dot] com)
The reason is, most analytics company's are meant for places that get a lot of traffic. It's not really appealing or useful to have such specific info on one visitor, Instead you want overarching information about all of them
A person on the other hand, probalby has one or two people finding them a month. That means each visitor is someone important. You want as much information as possible to figure out who they were (where did they come from, how did they find me, where did they work, etc) Our goal is to get as much information as possible to you
We basically walk you through a simple process
1) Make sure you have relevant content on the web (FB, LI, personal website, etc)
2) Make sure that's as search engine friendly as possible (are you using you're actual name, is there enough relevant content on it, can search engines index it correctly, etc)
3) Make sure all of your relevant content links to eachother (Your FB should link to your personal website, etc)
On average users find after going through our "boost process" for any given link, it rises a full 1-2 pages(10-20 results) in their google results.
I've also been getting some great feedback from the HN crowd, so these are great signups :)
Also, will there be a "post HN front page" report?
In terms of this push, most of the major US press has been a phenomenal source (which was the bulk of this surge). 2-3% converted in the first 24 hours, and by 8 weeks that number was closer to 5%. Mashable by far being the best, followed by Huff Post
BrandYourself profiles were/are another amazing source. This makes sense too, because it's coming from a trusted source.
Google and Direct isn't quite as strong (which makes sense since the sources are so varied) but we still get above the 2% mark by 4-5 weeks
The signups from foreign publications were pretty bad. They signed up for free at high rates, but they just don't pay (.5%). Not entirely sure why, but until we figure it out, we put people from those places on a wait list
Do you have international friendly payment methods? Regionally tiered pricing? And what do you mean by, "we put people from those places on a wait list"?
It's quite possible that in many countries, it's a small percentage of people who use cc. Anybody know any specific info or data on this?
PS-certain countries are put on an invite list so they can't sign up right now. It tells them to sign up to get on the waiting list
Do you have any experience with this at all?
2) We worked hard on our home page
--we explain what it does, who we are, and how it works in as little words as possible, and lead you right to sign up (we tweaked this language so many times I can't tell you) Everytime it seems clear enough to us, we would put it front of random person. If they didn't completely understand what we did and want to sign up, we went back to the drawing board. We did this over and over again.
--For those who need more validation we lead you to more info: our company story/mission, our press, testimonials, et. I call these "credibility boosters"
3) We give a lot away for free. People like free stuff
You may have seen "not provided" in google analytics for searches that found your site... This is users logged in to google. And with more people using google services such as gmail and g+, more and more results will be hidden. On my corporate, tech web site, I'm seeing 40-50% of results from google as "not provided" nowadays, and its increasing every month.
BTW - I run notprovided.com and have had 100% days of (not provided) keywords referrals....at least I have a good idea of what they were searching for : )
Rather ingenius move overall.
1a) Make a "brand" with your middle name
Google your first and last name. If you’re like most people on earth, you’re one of many with your particular combination. So how can you rank higher?
Never fight a battle you don’t have to. Pick a middle name, real or imaginary. Google your new full name.
Example: My name is Kevin Barry. The Google result is completely owned by Wikipedia and other impossible to compete against sites.
My full name is Kevin William Lord Barry. I think Lord sounds cool, so I’ll make Kevin Lord Barry my “official” online name. It’s much easier to rank for and even helps with personal branding.
Put your new name on top of your resume for consistency.
2) Edit/Create Your Facebook
Take your new name. If your Facebook looks professional, change your Facebook name to your new name. If not, make sure your Facebook doesn’t use your new full name.
3) Edit/Create Your LinkedIn
Take five minutes to create a LinkedIn account with your new name. Put all of your resume information on it neatly. LinkedIn will rank well for your new name, and you can brag as much as you want on it without looking pompous.
4) Make Yourself Look Good on Amazon
Make an account on Amazon, using your new branded name. Pick a couple of books in your industry with good ratings. Read the summaries (read the book, preferably, but I won’t judge if you don’t). Leave a review of the books that makes you look good: show that you know industry terms, talk about your experience, etc.
Each review you leave will go to your Google front page and make you look smarter. This only works if you know enough about your industry to sound smart, of course. You can also do this for textbooks, or fiction that you like if you want to sound interesting.
5) Make Accounts on Web 2.0 Websites
Take five minutes to make an account on sites that allow descriptive profiles with your full name Quora, Yahoo Answers, DisQus, Meetup, or anywhere else you want. Feel free to participate in these communities to help even more, although it’s not necessary.
6) Strut Your Stuff!
Here’s where you can have fun and really seem impressive. Go to Weebly.com and make a free website, called “yourfullname.weebly.com”. Set the page title to “Your Full Name Online” and the page description to “Your Full Name’s Online Website”. Write a paragraph about yourself on one page, and a page with links to your linkedin, Facebook, or anywhere else you want to show people. Go nuts and add anything else you want that might make you seem interesting.
People no longer get me confused with my dad or some guy working for Shell, when I sign up for mail or anything along those lines it has my middle initials in the first name field (unless they have a special field for middle initials) and I don't have issues with my dad and I sharing a name (If we travel together, sometimes the airline will cancel the ticket because they believe it is a double booking ... makes it really fun when we both go to check-in).
Best of all, I now rank really high for Bert JW Regeer. As in, almost everything on the first through third page are exclusively me (may change depending on location) on Google. That makes it fairly easy to find me.
I'm happily employed, but shoot me an email (in profile) and I'll see what I can do for you ;)
Is this a joke?