Consolidating one’s online persona into a single smoothly designed “about me” page has become a real necessity for some people. If you run your own website, you might as well create an “about me” page yourself, however, these efforts are often less than inspiring because most people choose the “shirk it” approach due to constant lack of time and lack of a template. Besides, what do you do if you’re a freelancer who doesn’t have a website (what? Even my neighbour’s cat has got a website!)
That’s where online reputation management services or as they’re also called – online résumés – come in handy. ClaimID was one of the oldest and most popular. Unfortunately, back in December 2013 it stopped working. No public announcement, no backup, just gone. Lucky there is a chap called Joel Purra, who created a utility that allows you to (hopefully) recover your ClaimID account.
The funny (or not so) bit is that thousands of people are still unaware their ClaimID accounts are down, so Twitter is full of professionals showcasing their dead CVs via their Twitter profile links.
Here are a couple of alternatives you can use in case you think you need an online résumé.
The most obvious and most popular service. Although they’re much younger than ClaimID, they were considered novel back in 2009 when AOL snapped them up just 4 days after their Beta debut. We know AOL and its acquisition manner only too well, so you won’t be surprised that eventually Tony Conrad, the cofounder of the service, bought it back for a fraction of the original price. Ever since, they’ve been going from strength to strength, securing further financing from VCs, even though you can’t really see how they can monetise the service in the short term.
What I like about about.me (pardon the double “about”) is their backend analytics that shows you an insight into who looked at you and how they interacted with your profile.
2.: Skype Workspace
Probably not the most obvious solution but if you’re using Skype to communicate with people, there’s hardly a better service to go for. Not only you can create a profile showcasing your photo, bio, achievements and links to your website and social media accounts, you can also create opportunities to entice people to communicate with you. To make the most out of the Skype Workspace Opportunities, create a taster session. For example, if you’re a marketing expert, create a 15 minute free audit over Skype. It’s a great way to drum up potential business.
The free version of Flavors.me is a simple way to consolidate your online profile. The paid version can also be used as a personal website. As you can see from the example, you can make it as minimalist and concise as you wish. Because they also have a paid version (ahem, they’re making money, I’d assume) its way less likely they’d just cowardly disappear like ClaimID did.
This service is mainly aimed at creative professionals. It’s a great tool for networking or indeed finding/filling a job role. The profiles are customisable, you can also show off your personal page or social media accounts. What’s more important, however, people can endorse you just like they do on Linkedin.
5. Something less cool
I was about to suggest Linkedin as a good alternative but I won’t because unless you put some time and effort into creating the profile, interacting with people and actively building connections, Linkedin won’t work for you. Besides, Linkedin doesn’t really work as a consolidator – although you can attach external links to your profile, it’s nowhere near as clean and crisp as an about.me or Flavor.me profiles.
A simplified version of Linkedin, one that allows you to keep a clean, list-based catalogue with your web and social medial links (with nice icons), is Naymz.com. Here’s an example of what a good profile looks like. You can see that this lady is also quite active within her community and is using Naymz more like an alternative to Linkedin. A significant downside is that Naymz will bug you to log in before it will display a user’s profile, and also the profile url structure is rather annoying!
A Word of Warning
The thing about these online reputation management tools is that they don’t quite deliver on the promise of “controlling your reputation.” For example, I know that Alex Tew is using about.me. If you search Google for Alex Tew, his about.me account shows up in the position #16 – there are 15 pages above it, mainly articles and interviews.
Lucky Tew’s reputation is spotless. But what happens if I piss off a couple of popular bloggers and they write stuff about me saying I’m a jerk or something. Then I go and create an online résumé where I explain why I’m not a jerk. It won’t do much good because the about.me profile will never outrank an article on a popular blog.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s necessary to monitor what people write about you instead of just relying on free (or paid) online reputation management solutions. Or better yet, try not to piss off bloggers 🙂