Everything you need to manage your reputation online and get to any nasty Web surprises before they get to you.
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan
Did you expect to find less than 200 reputation tools, resources and tips?
This list is being updated all the time as I discover more links for you. Bookmark it now or subscribe to JobMob via RSS or emailfor future updates.
Discover & track what's being said about you
What should you be tracking?
Most people will only want to track their full name (in the format “firstname lastname”), but there are other things you might want to watch as well:
Web pages where you posted your resume, portfolio or other online work
Any products that you take credit for in a resume or portfolio
Companies that you're researching in a job hunt
People you might soon work with or for
Major players in your industry
The job market in your industry
Your complete reputation management toolbox
Some of these tools have the same sources but they may not prioritize them the same way, so use as many as you can handle.
RapLeaf – a website that scours the Internet to find information about a given person based on their email address. Sign up for free and tell Rapleaf about any email addresses you use. Within a few hours, RapLeaf will have results to show you. No longer as impressive as it used to be, the results about me were minimal after weeks of searching.
Naymz – a “reputation network” that lets you create a profile and then invite people to vouch for you, earning you points and improving your “Repscore”. Once you sign up, use the Naymz Reputation Monitor as another method to see what the Web knows about you. A nice touch is that Naymz lets you see who has visited your profile, which might be handy in seeing which companies are interested in you.
Spokeo – another people search, this one covers dozens of websites.
pipl – like Spokeo, a people search with a fairly wide reach. Fast too. Recommended.
Yasni – I also like this one. Yasni's search results appear as a profile of the person searched on.
Yatedo – displays results as business cards of the people found.
kgbpeople – nice-looking site, I like the way search results pull in information from many sources while concentrating on social media and also telling you where it didn't find results. Worth a look.
zabasearch – a USA-only search, based on publicly-available information.
PeekYou – this people search only seems to work for Americans even though the site claims otherwise. One thing I like is that it's easy to search on someone by adding their name to the url like this: http://www.peekyou.com/Jacob_share/.
iSearch – a USA-based people search that will also find information from USA-based websites and not just public sources.
yoName – another mainly US-based search, I like how they tell you which social media & blog networks they search through.
123people – this people search gives you results in slick dashboard format, telling you how many came from which source.
Whoisi – a people search over social media sites like Flickr. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work too well- it couldn't find any of my public social profiles.
Spock – claims to be “The world's leading people search engine,” you can search across your Spock's social network or across the Web. The results page is difficult to read and while Spock did find results in my case, it wasn't better than pipl or 123people.
Checkusernames – just what it says, this tool will check over 100 websites to see if your username is being used there. A good way to find out if someone is posing as you or just has the same name.
myusername – this username checker verifies each site one at a time, a bit slower than Checkusernames, but it shows you which url was verified in case you're wondering about a possible error.
Usernamez – fast like Checkusernames, use this and the other 2 username checkers together to quickly check the maximum number of sites.
WhoIsHim – this tool takes a name and creates a page of direct links to search for that person on social media sites.
socialmention – a search engine across social media. Use the ‘All' option first. Annoyingly, putting your name in quotes doesn't seem to improve the results, making this site almost useless right now.
radian6 – a paid solution (mostly aimed at companies) that monitors your brand on social media, has a nice interface and reports.
Joongel's Social Media search – Joongel lets you search many sites at once. Choose ‘social media' as your category to search digg, StumbleUpon and others simultaneously.
samepoint – “a conversation search engine that lets you see what people are talking about.” I like the 3-column search results interface.
RSSmeme – a tool for following the public RSS feeds generated by your social profiles at sites like StumbleUpon or del.icio.us. See what people are saying about you (by searching your name in quotes) or check what you're sharing publicly.
Repcloud – a Facebook app that allows you to see what's being said about yourself or anyone else.
StartPR – an online reputation tracker that follows keywords and lets you manage the results with favorites, read/not read flagging and other handy features.
pressflip – create searches and save them for updating over time. You can then ‘flip' the results that aren't relevant and pressflip will learn your preferences and improve future search results. For the learning to work well, you'll need to come back often to check for new results, which is probably not worth the time.
Swamii – a general purpose continuous search engine. Get results via email alerts.
Trendrr – track a term or keyword across many sources, compare results (the most interesting feature) and even share them.
Yotify – create “scouts” that search for relevant information and notify you when they find it. Has some good features like the ability to include friends in your searching but the site is clunky and slow.
ChangeDetection – track any webpage for changes and be notified when it happens.
WatchThatPage – another webpage watcher but one with many features like letting you decide what will be shown in alerts.
TrackEngine – another site for tracking changes on the Internet, this one is feature-heavy but easy to use.
Versionista – might be the king of following website changes. Versionista checks for updates hourly and will keep up to 5 versions of a page (paid users get more) while allowing you use the site to compare versions or to receive change notifications by email.
Notifixious – a handy service that you can use to keep updated about changes anywhere on the Internet and in the way you choose: email, RSS, even Yahoo Messenger, etc.
notify.me – “choose to have notifications delivered to Instant Messenger, SMS, Email, or Desktop Application.”
Pingie – will send you an SMS whenever an RSS feed is updated (US-only for now).
UpdateScanner – “A FireFox extension (add-on) to monitor web pages for updates. Useful for websites that don't provide Atom or RSS feeds.”
Google Alerts – a very simple service that sends you an email whenever it discovers search results for the terms or keywords you chose, such as your name.
Yahoo Alerts – like Google Alerts, but with many more types of alert to choose from. Also, alerts can be sent to Yahoo Messenger or even via SMS (US cell phones only).
Windows Live Alerts – Microsoft's alerts service, similar to Yahoo's in features but based on their own search engine.
Technorati Search – generate an RSS feed based on what people are saying about you in blogs.
WhosTalkin – branded as a blog search tool, WhosTalkin is actually much more. With a very simple design, you can search across blogs, major news sites, social media and many others. The site is very fast and found the results I expected to see when I searched on my name. Highly recommended.
BlogPulse – search the blogosphere and follow the results via an RSS feed.
Trendpedia – another blog search, what I like about this one is that you can compare up to 3 searches at once to see for example how often your name was mentioned compared to someone else's.
Alerts.com – another free alerts service with even more features and kinds of alerts (including job alerts). Use their RSS Feed alert to follow sites that might have negative things to say about you and your work.
TweetScan – set up alerts based on what people are saying on Twitter. Can also search over Twitter and Identi.ca (another micro-blogging site).
Listiti – “Get notified whenever your brand / product / company / … appears in Twitter Lists of your choice.”
TweetRush – “aims to provide estimated stats on Twitter usage over a period of time.” Another way to learn about someone via their Twitter usage.
TweepSearch – searching across Twitter bios only, TweepSearch is a handy way to get inspired.
Twingly MicroBlogsearch – Twitter Search on steroids, this tool searches across Twitter and other microblogging platforms like Jaiku and Identica while allowing you to follow the results by email or RSS.
TweetVolume – compare the appearance in Twitter history of up to 5 keywords.
TweetBeep – get email alerts based on results from Twitter searches.
TweetTrak – track what's being said about you on Twitter IN Twitter.
EasyTweets – the paid account types allow some Twitter continuous searches plus a whole bunch of other features that you can get for free elsewhere, but not in one convenient place. For your personal needs, don't bother with EasyTweets.
Monitter – lets you track up to 3 terms in Twitter in parallel. Either subscribe to the results' RSS feeds on watch the tracking live on the fly from the Monitter website. I like this one.
TweetGrid – even better than Monitter, TweetGrid allows you to choose a grid of up to 9 (3×3) Twitter searches to track in parallel. A great dashboard for following chatter about yourself and companies you're targeting.
backtweets – backtweets will show you what Twitterers are saying about a url, which can be useful when that url is your website or an article you wrote.
Splitweet – use this to manage multiple Twitter accounts from one place.
IceRocket – a search covering blogs, MySpace and a few other sources, I like how the results are ordered by date.
Blogscope – another blog search engine.
Technorati – a past champion search engine of the blogosphere, Technorati still indexes millions of blogs and also lets you create an RSS feed based on a search of your name, for example.
TinEye – an image search engine, TinEye lets you upload an image and will tell you where it can be found on the Web. Hopefully nowhere if the image is one you'd like to wish away.
Chatter – a blog comments search engine, follow results via RSS feed.
Chatterguard – a paid service, Chatterguard watches social media sites for you and provides alerts and reports. Might be worth the price if you're very active online and have lots of information to track and filter through.
Yahoo Pipes – with this free service you can create an ego feed, a customized RSS feed that pulls in search results about you from many different sources.
MonitorThis – this tool takes a keyword and generates searches of that keyword across 19 different search engines, with the results being generated as RSS feeds in one downloadable OPML file that you can import to your RSS feed reader.
Rich Schefren's Reputation Monitor – does the same thing as MonitorThis but some of the search sources are different. Also, Rich has included his business-oriented blog feed in the generated results, so remove it right away but keep the rest.
Filtrbox – funnels and filters any sources of information you choose. Pick the Free option on signup.
Trackur – an “Online Reputation Monitoring & Buzz Tracking Tool” created by Marketing Pilgrim and reputation guru Andy Beal, Trackur was initially aimed at companies worried about what consumers and competitors might be saying about them online. Trackur is a paid service but there's a free 14-day trial which might be enough time to discover things that other tools couldn't find.
Brandseye – another paid solution, this one claims to be better than Trackur.
Attenalert – “a web service that allows you to find out who is talking about you, your brand, company or products on websites, in videos, the news and on blogs.” 7-day free trial. Like with Trackur, use the free trial to see if you can find any nuggets that the other (free) tools couldn't.
Distilled Online Reputation Monitor – this paid service lets you have a whole free month to test how well it can find information about you.
ReputationDefender's MyReputation service – a paid service (currently US$9.95/month) that generates a report of all information it can find about you online and gives you tips on how to react. Don't be surprised if some of their tips try to get you to buy more of their paid services.
ReputationHQ – another paid service that scours the Web for information on whatever you choose.
BeenVerified – calling itself “Background Checks 2.0”, this is a paid service that tries to confirm your resume and your reputation for display on the Web.
BoardTracker – a search engine that will help you see if anyone's said anything nasty about you in discussion forums. Many features.
Big Boards – a forum search engine that covers international sites, it either has many results or none at all.
BoardReader – a forum search engine with a very wide reach.
Omgili – another forum search, this one with a full-featured advanced search. There's even a Hebrew version.
Yuku Find – yet another discussion forums search engine, it doesn't work very well.
Twing – this site also lets you find out what people are saying in forums.
Linqia – a forums and “communities” search with a nice interface and useful filters, I wasn't very impressed when it couldn't find my name and adding quotes had no effect on the search results.
DataPatrol – originally intended as a way to prevent identity theft, DataPatrol's alerts and reports can be used to find information about you online. There's currently a free 30-day trial offered, but the site is only available to UK residents for now.
BackType – search through comments people – you? – have made on blogs. This is useful because many sites block search engines from indexing (taking into account) reader comments. You can search by commenter's name like a potential employer would do, or by comment text e.g. to see if anyone has written about you in blog comments.
Keotag – a site that makes it quick and easy to search blog post tags across many different search engines. Try searching on your full name in quotes and without quotes.
Commentful – track responses to your comments on blogs.
coComment – yet another way to keep track of the conversations you're having on blogs in one place. Their practical Firefox extension automatically records where you leave comments. Stay notified by responses via the Firefox extension, a Google Gadget, email alerts or RSS feeds. Plus, you can decide whether your RSS feeds should be public or private.
uberVU – give uberVU a url or an RSS feed and it will check to see everything that's being said about it on “blogs, Twitter, Digg, FriendFeed, Disqus, YouTube and many more. We then figure out the relationships between all those reactions, so you can see them as a threaded conversation.” Its nice user interface left a good first impression. Definitely worth trying.
Vanno – although specific to companies, this site is worth mentioning because of nice features like user voting and user submission of stories about individual companies. Could a variation based on people be far behind?
Blinkx – this multimedia search engine lets you find mentions in video clips and their description texts. I love the way the multimedia results let you jump to the exact moment where your keywords are said. Like any self-respecting Web2.0 tool, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of the search results too.
Vizibility – a cool tool aimed at people who are very conscious of the search engine results about them (thanks to Heather Huhman for this).
MyWebCareer – this website can monitor your online presence, score it, and give you tips how to improve it (thanks to Heather Huhman for this too).
One way to test the tracking services I mention above, especially the paid ones, is to see if any of their representatives leaves a comment on this article.
Damage control: clean up or drown out?
Once you've discovered something on the Internet that could lower your chances of getting a job, there are 2 things you can do to make it disappear from the Web:
Clean it up – remove or have removed any harmful content.
Drown it out – create positive content that will appear first in search results, pushing any harmful content so far down search results pages that future employers aren't likely to find it.
Cleaning up your content or someone else's: How to complain about abuse
Taking down content you posted is usually easy to do. Much harder is how to convince other people to remove harmful content that they've posted about you. Whatever you do, don't let it lie. Take action before it spreads further.
First, ask for the content to be removed. Contact either the person who posted it or an administrator responsible for the website where the content was posted. If the posting wasn't done with bad intent and your message gets to the right person, they will usually remove it.
However, sometimes people will post harmful content – intentionally or not – and then “disappear”. That's where this next list will come in handy.
Socioclean – scans your Facebook account for information you've posted that may be harmful, so you can decide how to react. Nice idea, but the user interface needs work.
MySpace – under ‘Please select a topic', choose ‘Reporting Abuse' to tell MySpace why you're frustrated.
Facebook – email abuse [at] facebook [dot] com with your complaints.
Orkut – use the Reporting abuse on orkut form.
Bebo – according to their Safety Tips page, “report abuses by clicking on the ‘Report Abuse' link on the offenders profile.” If you're not a Bebo member, use Bebo's contact form to tell them about what an unresponsive Bebo member has posted about you.
Friendster – go to the profile of the member you wish to report. Click “Report Offensive Content” at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions.
Ning – if you have a problem with anyone in a social network based on Ning's social network platform, contact Ning via their contact form (click ‘Skip' if you're not a Ning user).
Many blogs like JobMob will usually have a contact form you can use. If they don't, try leaving a comment on the most recent article asking the blogger to contact you over email.
MetaCafe – complain about the harmful content by reporting the video to MetaCafe. Remove any of your videos by clicking ‘Remove from MetaCafe' in your account's listing.
Vimeo – email any complaints to help [at] vimeo [dot] com.
DailyMotion – delete your video or send an email to webmaster [at] dailymotion [dot] com to complain about anyone else's content you're upset with.
Revver – remove a video or request a removal via Revver's Contact Support form.
Viddler – for someone else's clip, choose ‘Inappropriate Content' in Viddler's contact form and complete your complaint. Otherwise, go to the “Your Videos” section in your account, find the right video, and click “delete”.
Every discussion forum will have its own policy regarding inappropriate content and the policy will usually explain how to complain about content. Otherwise, look for the administrator's contact information to message them directly. Sometimes you might need to become a member of the site to complain in a specific forum.
Try contacting the webmaster of the website for help. Typically the email address would be webmaster [at] domain, such as webmaster [at] jobmob [dot] co [il].
Ajax Whois 2.0 – WHOIS searches give you public information about a domain name and will always provide you with at least one email address you can try. After typing into Ajax Whois the domain name whose administrator you're looking for, click the text link ‘Whois' and a window will open. Scroll down to find the email address.
If after all your efforts a site still won't remove the harmful content, you have more serious options.
Chilling Effects – sometimes a cease and desist letter will wake up a site's owner. Chilling Effects will generate one for you.
DMCA complaint – if the harmful site is hosted in the USA, you can file this type of legal complaint with Google. If they agree with you, Google will remove that site from its search results. Just the threat of that alone is enough to make most website owners react.
Internet caches and search engine indexes
Even after you try to remove all negative content from around the Web, copies of it may still live on.
The Internet Archive – email info [at] archive [dot] org with any complaints. Include any URLs to the harmful content and explain why you'd like the information removed from their cache. There's no guarantee that they'll listen but it's worth a try.
Positive content can be any web page that has good things to say about you, either literally or by showing your expertise or achievements, and that can be found by search engines and other sites tracking you like in the list at the beginning of this article.
Note: some of these tools are in closed beta testing but look promising. Hopefully they'll be open by the time you visit their sites.
Buy your own domain name e.g. yourname.com using a service like Namecheap (use this coupon for savings). Then use another service like Weebly to create a quick website about yourself with that domain. No programming knowledge needed at all.
Retaggr – create your “interactive online business card,” a type of online profile.
Card.ly – another online business card creator, nice designs and lots of services to integrate.
Repvine – market yourself and let other people vote about you. Choose the Personal version on signup.
Peoplepond – lets you quickly create a professional-looking profile, and then easily integrate it to your blog.
Naymz – mentioned above for its Reputation Monitor, Naymz also allows you to create a resume-like profile that can get promoted on search engines if you have a “good enough” profile. Otherwise, you can use their paid options to get the same results.
Realmee – similar to Naymz, create a free personal website in minutes and use it to promote yourself in a positive way.
Facebook Pages – indexed by Google and open to anyone, use a Facebook page to promote yourself as an expert. Add Facebook applications that can help sell your skills and successes, and get your friends and other contacts to become fans of the page.
Ch.imp – “Bring your digital life together in one place that you own.” Create a personal page where you import and unify information from your other web profiles.
Nombray – similar to Ch.imp but both options are paid and seems to have less features.
Unhub – lets you create a “personal profile bar” which is a nice way of regrouping all your online presences into to one pseudo-website. Very easy to use, you can see my UnHub profile as an example.
iKarma – another site that lets you create a page that your contacts can use to make recommendations about you.
Lookuppage – this personal page creator makes an effort to have you rank in Google's search results.
Gohoster – another personal page creator, this one also lets your optimize keywords for search engines. Nice-looking site but surprisingly hard to use.
bigsight – this is a personal website creator, where you can create a profile, a blog, and more, all geared to having your page be found first in Google.
Daytum – create a public profile to share statistics about yourself. A great way to emphasize achievements in your daily life.
mycrocosm – like Daytum but more aimed towards sharing those numbers in charts and graphs.
Me-trics – create a great-looking numbers-based profile about yourself.
My.AllTop.com – your own page to easily aggregate the RSS feeds (blogs & social streams) that mean the most to you, or that you think are important for others.
Track-n-graph – lets you create charts and graphs based on information you enter manually. Afterwards, display them on your blog or compatible social network public profile.
Google Profiles – if you want your personal profile to be found on Google, this is the place to create one. Low on features for now but it will get better. See my Google Profile for an example of what can be done although there seems to be a bug preventing my picture from appearing.
WhyHire.me – an online profile builder for students. I like the way it brings together a person’s profile, blog and Twitter feed for easy browsing by potential employers.
Post your resume online – one important criteria in this case is to use job sites like Yahoo HotJobs that are indexed by the search engines.
Emurse – another good place to post your resume online, with a clean, uncluttered design and many file formats to choose for readers to download the resume.
GigTide – an online resume builder that creates a unique url for your resume.
VisualCV – post your resume online using multimedia and charts and turn it into a whole sales pitch.
Zumeo – having “live resumes” which can be loaded with multimedia, Zumeo gives you a blog and groups professionals for peer networking.
xtimeline – create an interactive time-line detailing your career, something you created or as a useful reference for your industry.
circaVie – another interactive time-line tool, this one is more geared towards telling about people.
Doostang – a social network for “top professionals”. With a tagline of “where talent lives”, their emphasis is on being found by recruiters. Getting in requires some networking – it's invite-only – or having your resume manually verified.
Zerply – “Your professional presence on the web – easy, beautiful and free.” Let's you search for people by profession.
Xing – a business social network popular in Europe.
ZoomInfo – probably the second-most popular business social network popular in Israel after LinkedIn, you can also integrate with Xing users. The public profile doesn't rank well with Google though.
Ecademy – another business social network, this one has free features specifically aimed at helping your profile appear in Google's search results. Once you join, beware of a wave of contact requests from people you don't know.
Konnects – calls itself “The Place for Professional Networking.” Another business social network whose profiles are indexed by Google.
Ziggs – similar to LinkedIn, also aimed at professionals and also has lots of features with an emphasis on getting found in search results.
Honestly.com – bills itself as “an online resource for building, managing, and researching professional reputation, using community-contributed, professional reviews.”
Industry-specific social media profiles – services such as Flickr can be very handy for photographers or other creatives in showing off their work. Use this list of social networks to find ones to build on in your industry.
Ning – you can also find industry-specific social networks running off Ning's social network platform. Or, you can create one yourself.
Friendfeed – pulls together your activities from different social media, making it easier for people to follow you. On the other hand, be careful what you're sharing if a potential employer might be watching. Very easy to use.
SimplifID – organize related web content in one place that you can then share with other people. A good way to filter your content. Similar in concept to FriendFeed but requires more work from you.
Tumblr – a “tumbleblog” is a lifestream-type blog where you post thoughts, photos, video, audio about whatever you like.
Soup.io – also for tumbleblogging, the creators call it a way to be more creative than other web profiles while taking less effort than a regular blog.
Portfolios – there are many places where e.g. designers can post portfolios online such as Shockfolio or the easy Weefolio.
Blog – whether via text, video (vlogging) or any other medium, your articles will gradually appear among search results. Although this is one of the most work-intensive suggestions in this list, it also has some of the greatest potential. Every new article you produce can be another show of your expertise and another possible result for the search engines.
StepRep – pulls in information about you from around the Web. You sort the results looking for the good pieces which will then appear in your StepRep widget, which you can put on your blog, Facebook and other social profiles, generating multiple links back to the positive information about you, helping it rise in the search engine results.
Twitter – the most well-known micro-blogging service out there, and the best one to start using. Less work-intensive than full-on blogging but more addictive
Plurk – close on the heels of Twitter, Plurk is also becoming very popular for micro-blogging.
Hictu.com – micro-blog service that allows video and audio posts, not just text posts.
Identi.ca – another micro-blog service, this one is based on free, open-source software that anyone can take and use to open their own micro-blogging service.
Ping.fm – lets you update your social profiles all at once, whether for status updates, micro-blog posts or bookmarked links.
HelloTxt – similar to Ping.fm, but more focused on status updates and micro-blog posts, with networks that Ping.fm doesn't have. I like the way links are automatically shortened in messages, but I don't like how those links drive visitors to hellotxt.com first, forcing visitors to click a second time on the link you posted.
Leave comments on blogs – a great way to network professionally and attract attention, blog comments are also indexed by search engines.
Gravatar – similar to MyBlogLog, but compatible blogs usually show Gravatar's avatars (gravatars) when users write blog comments and not just when they visit, so it's less effective for getting a blogger's attention (for example).
Sezwho – a service that follows your comments around the Web and lets others watch and rate.
Submit articles to free directories – if you're a writer or blogger, there are many sites like Ezine Articles where your submissions can attract the search engines' link-collecting spiders.
Wikipedia – write up your auto-biography or write out your resume in a more pleasurable format and then have a friend post the page about you on the Net encyclopedia that Google loves.
Knol – show off your expertise by writing articles on what Google hopes will become as popular as Wikipedia.
Squidoo – somewhat older and more fleshed out than Knol, Squidoo is also a good place to contribute content that will appear in search results.
Hubpages – similar to Squidoo, but Hubpages makes it easier to earn some money from the articles you post there.
Twine – create a “twine” – a group dedicated to finding links on a certain topic – based on your expertise and/or that's related to your profession, or even about yourself.
Social|Median – like Twine but with more features. Creator Jason Goldberg annoyingly appears too much all across the site though.
Timelope – this tool publishes your browsing history on the Web, either publicly or privately.
Videos – using any of the video-sharing sites mentioned above, choose one and start creating video clips using a simple webcam. Like with blog comments, produce clips related to your profession or another subject you're passionnate about and that will put you in a positive light.
Audio / video podcasts – create your own radio or tv shows and let people download them from popular directories like iTunes or Podcast Alley.
There are companies who sell “search results burial” services. If someone else recommends the following two services, know that they're not doing a good job burying their own negative tracks:
Managing your online reputation doesn't need to be difficult. Be careful which information you share publicly with an eye towards making a good impression on anyone who discovers you online, and keep your eyes and ears open for anyone who says different.