Before anyone interacts with you for business or leisure, it’s a safe bet that they will look you up online first. It’s also clear that one negative article or page popping up in your search results can prevent you from getting hired or romantically involved, and can even work against you in divorce court. To that end, protecting what appears when people look you up is becoming more of a pressing issue–and Social Life Management is an Internet battle station that claims it can legally clean up your online appearance.
There is more to a negative online image these days than an embarrassing teenage LiveJournal account. Sites make money by posting your arrest records and charge you to take them down. Negative Yelp reviews can harm your business. Even other folks with your same name can clog search results when people look for you online. It can be discomfiting to think about trying to bury that DUI report or divorce record or negative article about your business, but your online reputation plays an increasingly larger role in your success. Social Life Management has a few different approaches to counterattacking bad press.
Social Life Management is exactly what it says on the box–a platform to manage your online image, though the “your” can mean individuals, families, small businesses, or massive enterprises. Starting at $25 per month for individuals, Social Life Management does the job of two or three other services, taking a cohesive approach to image management: monitoring how you appear online and pointing out when additional for-pay services might help further. And because we live in an age of scoring, Social Life Management gives you a Social Life Score on a scale of 100 to 400, a FICO-like custom measure of how positive your social image is online. As you use Social Life Management’s tools and scrub up your online presence, your score increases. Unlike Klout, this score is just for you, a handy benchmark for how clear you are standing out from the crowd of people with your same name.
Social Life Management’s toolbox is large, and it takes a second to grasp the power at your fingertips. You start by identifying who you are on the Internet–i.e. which pages are you, and which happen to be people with your same name, along with alerting Social Life Management’s AI about pages that negatively portray you. Social Life Management tallies up your online presence, including social media accounts, and gives you your Social Life Score. Then the platform opens up, with services falling into two camps: passive image maintenance included with the monthly subscription and pay-per-action. The included services make up the bulk of what beta testers have used Social Life Management for: passively tracking your name and mentions of your social media accounts as well as a CMS suite to post content on those social media accounts. The pay-per-action options are more surgical, from paying for written content to paying for Social Life Management to draft up DMC takedowns if you find your work illegally copied online. But perhaps the most intriguing for-pay option lets you bury content that shows you in a negative light.
For better or worse, you can’t just shut down pages that hurt your image (and in return, nobody can shut down your content that hurts their image)–but you can bury that page. Social Life Management’s Linkmover tool publishes positive content to push the page you’re targeting further down search results. Nothing’s foolproof–some pages just won’t stay buried–but in 6 to 12 weeks, Linkmover is 90% successful at pushing a targeted page so far down the search results that it will never again see the light of day, says Social Life Management senior account manager Robert Canyon. It is a bit like fighting fire with fire, or being the loudest voice in the room.
“It’s a real estate battle, isn’t it?” says Canyon.
Burying content is as aggressive as Social Life Management gets, and Canyon assures me that they don’t touch the negative sites–they just play the search-results game to make sure the first few pages of search results about you are full of positive content. By indirectly combating these negative sites, Social Life Management’s approach likely avoids drawing even more attention to undesirable online content–otherwise known as the Streisand Effect. But most of your time at the Social Life Management helm will be spent on positively building your image anyway, tinkering with the content you are posting on your multiple accounts and jumping back to Social Life Management’s analytics dashboard to see how your content performs–and ultimately, how it is improving your Social Life Score.
Including those analytics with the basic subscription gives the service an edge over its competitors, says Social Life Management CEO Lee Olsen. Since search engines are always tweaking their algorithms, Social Life Management has to keep tweaking its own algorithm to stay ahead of the curve. But the company’s next big product release, set to go up before the end of the year, is the capability to analyze what is said in an article and determine its merit–whether it helps or hurts your image.