BrandYourself is expanding its efforts to take on the big names in the online reputation market (particularly Reputation.com) with the launch of a new version of its service.
The company started out as a fairly simple self-service tool for trying to improve your presence online, for example by creating a website and other content to push down undesirable results when someone Googles your name. (It has become increasingly focused on Google results over time.) The basic service is free, but BrandYourself charges $10 a month for additional features and usage.
With BrandYourself’s freemium, self-service product, it seemed to be serving a difference audience than Reputation.com, but now the newer startup is challenging its more-established competitor in a direct way. With a recently launched concierge service, users aren’t just presented with a list of to-do items for improving their Google results — they can also pay BrandYourself team members to work with them on a strategy and actually do the work for them. So if, say, you don’t have the time to create and maintain your own personal website, BrandYourself will create and maintain one for you. And co-founder and CEO Patrick Ambron said that where Reputation.com can cost thousands of dollars per month, BrandYourself’s concierge services can cost as little as $200 or $300.
Why the dramatic price difference? Ambron insisted that it’s not because BrandYourself delivers lower-quality, cheaper work — he showed me one of the websites created for a BrandYourself customer and it did look like a real personal page. In contrast, he showed me content that he said had been created through his account with Reputation.com, and it was basically just an empty template. (I emailed Reputation.com to discuss how the company saw itself stacking up against BrandYourself, but I did not receive a response.)
The big difference, Ambron said, is that existing online reputation services are built around a model of high acquisition costs and low retention rates — they pay for a lot of advertising to attract customers, and those customers don’t stick around for very long, so the companies have to charge high rates. BrandYourself, on the other hand, can treat its free tools as the marketing funnel for its paid version and concierge service. Plus, Ambron said that with lower prices, customers can use BrandYourself on an ongoing basis.
“We’re really trying to fix the online reputation space, ” he said. “Until it was only meant for rich people and it was notoriously ineffective.”
In addition to the concierge service, BrandYourself is launching a new interface that makes it easier, among other things, to submit links that you want to promote in your Google results. And there’s a new report card showing users BrandYourself’s score of their current search results, the progress that they’ve made with the service, and details about who is actually visiting your BrandYourself website.
The company says it has been used by more than 200,000 people. It has also raised more than $1.5 million in funding and is now based in New York City.