That famous New Yorker cartoon from the early days of the Web — “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” — is in serious need of updating.
These days, almost anyone can find out you’re a dog — as well as lots of other things about your animalistic past.
Which is why Social Life Management is launching today via a website and iOS/Android apps. If online users think you’re a dog, or worse, that could affect your search for a job or a date, your ability to launch a new business, or your success in getting into your chosen college.
Apparently, there are a lot of people wanting to better their online selves. A 2012 Harris Interactive study found that 75 percent of respondents had Googled themselves, and nearly half of those said the results were not positive.
Developed over a year-long beta phase, Social Life offers a basketful of search engine optimization, public relations, legal, and reputation management tools for checking, managing, and fixing your personal reputation or that of your business.
The key idea is to increase the good stuff said about you online, and decrease or suppress the negative or false stuff.
To do that, the company has created what it describes as a combination of “Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Reputation.com.” It revolves around the Social Life score, which ranges from 100 to 400 and which the company compares to a FICO credit score.
Although the company is guarded about the factors going into the Score — so as to protect its “secret sauce” — it told me the ingredients include search placement, the Alexa ranking of the sites where you appear, keywords whose searching summons your name or brand, and sentiment analysis that detects the tone of what’s written about you.
CEO Lee Olsen, who has been with the startup less than a month, revealed that his Score started at 185 and now clocks in at 250.
Although he claims a “squeaky clean” past, he noted he has just begun populating his profile and tweaking his online presence to bring his number up.
“There are a lot of Lee Olsens,” he pointed out.
A user starts at a Profile page that summarizes how you look online. You fill out such fields as your address, schools, business, hobbies, and negative links you know of, like mentions of lawsuits.
A Fine Tune screen then shows results of searches, which you can refine by clicking such indicators as whether they are you or are not you.
You can take action in individual areas that affect your Score. A Social Engine offers such social management functions as editing multiple profiles. You can also sift through negative items like Yelp reviews, assess your online visibility levels, and judge your Public Records. You want fewer of those Records available, and there’s a function for removing them.
Fix-it services include a Legal Action section containing letter and form templates, as well as an Affidavit of Identity so you can verify that you are you.
If there’s something offensive up there — a photo of a particularly embarrassing night in college, for instance — a Takedown service can contact the site or the site’s ISP on your behalf for $80 per instance, whether or not it succeeds. Social Life reports a removal rate of 85 percent.
Another service, Link Mover, costs $240 for 8 weeks of essentially pushing any adverse link off the first or second page of Google results, which the company says has been successful 90 percent of the time. Account manager Robert Canyon noted the company does nothing illegal, but creates higher-placing links for the same search terms.
After a free two-week trial period, the main service runs $25/month for an individual or small business user or $90/month for up to four users of a family or larger business, plus custom pricing for enterprises.
Olsen declined to indicate the number of participants acquired during the beta, or the amount of investment raised since the company’s founding in 2013.
He described Social Life Management as “the most comprehensive” tool of its type, in its combination of monitoring, management, publishing, and fix-it functions oriented around the singular purpose of keeping your online brand healthy.
Acknowledging it doesn’t have the depth of campaign management tools in industrial-grade platforms like Sprinklr or Spredfast, Olsen pointed to Social Life’s heavy analytical capability. As for Hootsuite, which a lot of individuals and brands use for their social media management, he noted it is not designed around online brand management, and added that Social Life’s tools extended beyond social media.