When others people Google your name, BrandYourself is a reputation management company that helps you stand out from the competition, whether this involves an employer, a client, a colleague, or even an upcoming date, all at reasonable prices. Ultimately, this means that BrandYourself can help promote positive, accurate, relevant online results about you, which allows “everybody put their best foot forward on the web, without being overcharged to do it.”
Whether you’re an individual or business, BrandYourself accomplishes this by using “white hat” search engine optimization techniques (more about this in a moment) to suppress negative and irrelevant information and push it further down into the search results.
During the process, BrandYourself states that they’ll form a true partnership with you, while maintaining complete transparency, absolute quality, and consistent communication and collaboration. In fact, when compared to the competition, BrandYourself offers the first DIY platform for reputation management service in the industry.
If you’re even remotely familiar with the reputation management industry, you know that it can be a perilous, high stakes, and high-priced process that might offer more frustration than it does solutions. But is BrandYourself any different? Are they worth the time?
We briefly sat down with BrandYourself’s co-founder Patrick Ambron to help answer many of your important questions and to clear up any confusion, which we’ll talk about in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at how BrandYourself works.
How Does BrandYourself Work?
Overall, BrandYourself offers three different service levels for individuals and one for businesses:
One of the biggest differentiators between BrandYourself and their competition is their DIY software that helps you manage the process yourself, which co-founder Patrick Ambron likens to using TurboTax instead of hiring an accountant.
In order to use BrandYourself’s DIY tool, you’ll first need to sign up for an account and enter your full name to receive your search results. Then, you’ll mark these results as positive, negative, or irrelevant in your dashboard, after which you’ll be given a “search score” that identifies how good you look when someone searches for you online.
Next, you’ll submit content you think people should be finding, such as your personal website, an article you wrote, your social media profile; essentially anything you want. BrandYourself’s software will then analyze your request and provide tips on how you can make your web presence even more search engine friendly, and therefore rank higher for your name.
According to the company, you can continue repeating this process until relevant results fill the first page of Google, while less relevant results are buried far below.
After you’ve gotten the ball rolling on improving your web presence, you’ll continue receiving alerts when your Google results change, as well as when someone else Googles you.
BrandYourself’s Headstart program is intended to be a step up from the basic version, and is aimed at those who might need a more personalized approach.
To accomplish this, after undergoing a branding consultation, one of BrandYourself’s experts will build high quality, state-of-the-art websites and social media profiles for you that are “optimized to rank as high as possible in Google.”
Once this occurs, BrandYourself’s experts will then provide you with a personalized action plan that can help you continue improving your Google results through the company’s premium DIY tools. In addition, BrandYourself will “host your websites, monitor and renew your domain names so they never expire, and give you priority customer support whenever you need help.”
BrandYourself’s Concierge program is relatively similar to their Headstart service in that you’ll begin with a branding/strategy consultation, and by building state-of-the-art websites and social media profiles.
Once this occurs though, BrandYourself will continue managing your online presence over time by:
- Continuously optimizing your reputation strategy so that the content you want is always at the top of search results.
- Creating and promoting content about you, such as blog posts, “rich media” such as presentations, videos, and images; keeping your social media profiles active by regularly updating your status, ghost writing articles, and building/managing your personal Wikipedia page.
- Sending you a comprehensive monthly report that outlines exactly what the company did for you over the past month and provides the goals for the next month.
Here, you’ll first be part of a business strategy session that determines the “appropriate level of service for each of your team members,” the look and feel of your content, and the appropriate marketing materials and approach to drive more leads.
Once this occurs, BrandYourself will work one on one with each of your team members to create a state-of-the-art online presence that matches your company’s brand.
Afterward, the BrandYourself staff will continually update your team’s “websites/profiles/social media accounts,” write blog posts, and more, while informing you of best practices to keep your team’s online presence professional and relevant.
Finally, you’ll receive ongoing monthly reports outlining the new leads you’re receiving and how well your content is ranking in Google.
BrandYourself on ABC’s Shark Tank
You might have first heard about BrandYourself when co-founder Patrick Ambron appeared on season 6, episode 23 of ABC’s Shark Tank, where he ultimately turned down a $2M offer from Robert Herjavec for a 25% stake in the company.
During our conversation with Patrick, we asked him if he still felt comfortable with his decision (the original filming for this episode occurred in June 2014), which he said that he did. In fact, Patrick stated that since the filming of Shark Tank, the company has grown considerably.
Ultimately though, he stated that it came down to being fair to the other BrandYourself investors. After all, how would it look if he gave Robert twice as good a deal, but for half the amount of money?
We did ask Patrick why he turned around and looked back at the Sharks as he walked off stage. In other words, was he thinking about re-approaching Robert? Was he having second thoughts?
Patrick laughed and said that he honestly didn’t remember looking back, but that he felt it was a good experience and he has no regrets, although he noted that Robert would have been an ideal investor in BrandYourself.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
While the term “search engine optimization” might sound technical, the reality is that it simply involves “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results.” In layman’s terms, this means you’re trying to get a web page listed as high on Google’s (or any other search engine’s) results as possible.
According to Patrick Ambron in one of his media interviews, “93% of people never leave the first page of Google.” Because of this, it’s important that you rank on the first page of any search engine if you’re looking to boost your online reputation.
For example, let’s say you own a company that manufactures square widgets, and you want to generate as many online sales leads as possible. To do this, you’ll first create a website (e.g. www.squarewidgets.com) and include content that relevantly references square widgets as much as possible.
Then, to further promote your services, you might feature blog posts about square widgets, customer reviews for square widgets, and maybe even guest articles written by other square widget professionals.
Overall, the better quality and more relevant your content is for square widgets, the higher your website will land in the search engine rankings, thereby (hopefully) increasing your sales leads. And this is what BrandYourself can help with.
Like other reputation management companies such as Reputation.com and Brand.com, it’s important to note that BrandYourself doesn’t eliminate negative online content about you. Instead, they simply use truthful, relevant, and positive content that pushes the negative content farther down.
Despite this core similarity, BrandYourself differentiates itself from the competition through the methods they use to accomplish this.
The fact of the matter is that most reputation management companies have you fill out a brief questionnaire, after which they’ll create dozens on websites, blog posts, and articles intended to flood search engines with the results you want, while suppressing the ones you don’t. And to do this, they’ll often charge tens of thousands of dollars, keep their processes hidden, make outrageous claims, and may even provide a low level of value for your hard-earned money.
BrandYourself, on the other hand, wants “to bring honesty and quality back to a broken industry,” by putting you in control of your own online reputation. According to Patrick, they make the process “embarrassingly simple” by building a real online presence around you, and by providing everything you need to optimize your search engine results.
On top of this, Patrick states that everything is completed in-house and nothing is outsourced, which ensures that the content quality remains high. Also, Patrick emphasized that they provide only real content (no fake blogs, landing pages, backlinks, or “black hat” SEO). You can learn more about BrandYourself’s SEO philosophy here.
Instead, BrandYourself simply lets you know where you should be and what you need to do to optimize your online search results. In short, Patrick stated that BrandYourself isn’t so much about removing the negative as they are about helping you create a presence online.
Are BrandYourself’s Services Guaranteed?
Like other reputation management companies we’ve reviewed, BrandYourself does not guarantee results. According to FAQ: “We can guarantee that if you follow all our steps, your result will be as search engine friendly for your name as possible, which gives it the best possible chance of ranking higher.”
Can You Manage Your Own Online Reputation?
When it comes down to it, Patrick Ambron has been very upfront about the fact that the techniques used by BrandYourself are not a secret, and are something that anyone can learn how to do. In fact, as Patrick outlined in a 2013 VentureBeat article, “If anybody is telling you that you can’t do this yourself and they have a magic formula, it’s untrue … you just may not have the time or knowledge right now.”
And that’s really what it comes down to. While you can learn the SEO techniques necessary to boost your online presence, this can take months (or even years), along with a lot of trial and error in the process.
Instead, BrandYourself claims to offer everything you need in one place, all at a price you can afford.
What Are Customers Saying About BrandYourself?
Overall, BrandYourself seems to have a fairly positive online reputation, although there weren’t many customer reviews available at the time of our research. To be honest, this is a bit surprising considering the length of time the company has been in business.
However, we did find a couple complaints on RipoffReport, which appeared to reference failure to experience results. In fact, one reviewer claimed that BrandYourself’s services actually made a large company’s online reputation worse by including a lot of backlinks.
This same review also called into question the legitimacy of co-founder Pete Kistler’s story about why the company was formed, which is also something that FierceAndNerdy and SwannysRantBox also questioned.
During our communication with Patrick, he did send over a couple links (see here and here) showing a criminal record for an individual named Pete Kistler. However, he is three decades older than BrandYourself’s co-founder, and lives over 200 miles from where the younger Pete Kistler attended college.
From a company perspective, BrandYourself is based out of New York, NY and holds a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau, despite having only one closed complaint (as of 5/1/15). This complaint appeared to reference a violation of the company’s Terms of Service, after which a customer was banned from using their services. However, the company never responded to the complaint.
BrandYourself Pricing & Refund Policy
BrandYourself’s basic DIY service is completely free of charge, while the premium service will run you $99 per year for priority customer support.
BrandYourself’s Headstart program is priced at a one-time fee of $698, and their personalized Concierge service starts at $399 per month.
According to BrandYourself’s FAQ, they offer a refund if you’re not experiencing success with your search results, although no further specifics are offered.
In order to request a refund or to ask questions about their services, you’ll need to call customer service at (646) 863-8226.
Can BrandYourself Boost Your Online Reputation?
Chopping to the point: If you’re looking to manage your online reputation (or do anything else, for that matter), it’s difficult to beat free. And since BrandYourself is the only player in the reputation management industry that offers a free, one-stop DIY tool, they’re the only game in town if you’re looking to get your feet wet without paying an arm and a leg.
Even if you do decide to pay for one of BrandYourself’s higher service tiers though, they’re considerably less expensive than the competition, so you might decide to check them out before committing to another company. On top of this, BrandYourself’s co-founder Patrick Ambron was very open and forthright with us about the company’s business model, which goes a long way to show that they’re a legitimate business with their customer’s needs in mind.
Have you used BrandYourself? If so, what was your experience? What would you like to tell other consumers who are thinking about giving them a try? Be sure to let the world know by writing a review below!
Haven't tried the paid services, yet
I'm still deciding if I should upgrade from the free service, so I'm just going through reviews. Quick thing to mention, I was attacked online for making a political comment in 2015, got tracked down by one very dedicated person who backtracked my aliases and found me on Facebook. The doing of one Internet Troll REALLY hurt my name, my company's name, my online profile, etc. I've spent over a year burying it, and it's only been mildly successful, I just got down to only have one bad mark on Google's first page.
It's pretty difficult to remove bad stuff that was published on a website, I have done it before, but only because one website owner reached out to me for comment and realized that I was the victim of a Hoax. I'm mixed on Ripoff Report's commitment, however it goes without saying: Ripoff Report prides themselves on the idea that they will never take down a review (even obvious slander/hoax), and they have never lost a court case.
It's best to accept that what's on the internet is FOREVER. The only thing you can do is bury, bury, bury, and hope a lot of people have the same name as you (they don't for me), but luckily, someone with my same name was just arrested in Texas. Since he is obviously not even close to looking like me, I'll accept this as a good thing because it also buries any bad stuff about me.
What I have done, so far: I re-activated all my social media accounts, and created a lot of new ones. Pop on every so often to post random nonsense that your average social media butterfly would post. Linkedin is squeaky clean and updated, created a bunch of blogs with my name in the title, subject and url to show off my photography. I name drop myself in any online post that is non-controversial. I bought up 5 domains with my name in it and created a ton of sub-domains. Basically, I flood the internet with ME, and as much good stuff as possible.
From using Brand Yourself, it seems, more or less, to be just a tool to monitor all of the above stuff that I have already done. It's all in one place. It feels a bit like like a credit-monitoring tool, you still have to do all the hard work, yourself. Still, I like having all of my positive/negative results laid out in one spot, like a Control Panel to show how the internet paints a portrait of me. And that's just using the free tool. I'm still reading and debating if I would be at an advantage to pay for their more powerful services.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
Reputation Management does not work. Legal Action Does.
BrandYourself does not work. I had 2 negative articles, a court record and a RipoffReport complaint on page 1. I tried the BrandYourself DIY application and it did not work, so I called them up. Brandyourself said they could get it off no problem with their “Concierge Pro Service”. I was a little alarmed when in the contract it said over and over “We do not guarantee success”, but I signed anyways.
I paid the $6,000 for 12 months, and all they did was get 3 “properties” (free websites they signed me up for, like LinkedIn, Vimeo, and Twitter), on pages 1 and 2. The 2 negative stories are still there. So, after 1 year, they call me and ask for 6 more months and they will totally get it taken care of.
I'm not dumb, so I said no. I asked for my money back, and they said no. Now I feel dumb, because I read online they had a money back guarantee. Turns out, they got rid of it.
I called up a bunch of other companies, and these are my findings:
ReputationDefender aka Reputation.com– I was attracted to their huge publicity and awards. But it seemed like a huge con from the first minute of talking with them. They started off with a $25k quote, then it became $15k, then $5k. Ridiculous. I stupidly signed up with them before BrandYourself, which made me discover BrandYourself through research. They didn't do a thing to help me either.
Reputation Management Consultants – Amazing salesmen, but that's it. He said that Brandyourself only does the first step, they do steps 1-6, and that they have bots that will click on my positive stories and promote them. I finally learned to do research after being scammed by ReputationDefender and BrandYourself, and discovered they had countless complaints against them for fraud.
SearchManipulator – I used their DIY software, but it was too labor intensive so I gave up half way. I had some slight progress however. They have a money back guarantee for infinite time, so I took them up on it, and they refunded me. The salesman Conor says they do professional services for suppression too, but he was super honest and said he didn't want to take my case on because there was no way page 1 would get completely clean. He said because there is a RipoffReport at the top of page 1, then there is a zero chance of success, no matter what company or suppression tactic is used. I wish BrandYourself told me that before they stole my money!
GuaranteedRemovals – Really nice guy named Chris in Canada, they focus on removing articles. They work on a pay per performance basis, but you have to pay upfront. Great reviews online about them. The price tag was way outside my budget though.
RipoffRemoval.com – A boutique shop with two attorneys, a paralegal and one salesman in San Francisco who focus on removing complaints and news articles via legal action. They work on a pay per performance basis, where you only pay if they are successful. They got both removed in 9 weeks for $7,500.
I am not a salesman for Ripoffremoval.com, or even advocating them, but my advice to all of you is to hire an attorney and get it taken down permanently. Make sure to find an attorney on a pay per performance basis,
It seems like suppression only works if your negative stories are already on page 2, and you want it back a few more pages.
There are so many complaints on all of these reputation firms, and the fact that SearchManipulator and GuaranteedRemovals are the only ones with money back guarantees left, it isn't worth rolling the dice with these scummy companies who merely promise success. Yeah, it's cool Brandyourself was on SharkTank, but that doesn't mean they won't steal your money too.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
11 out 14 people found this review helpful
Not worth the time
I did not like the BrandYourself experience. At first it seemed to work but, once I completed all of the steps that I could do myself on the website, the guys from BrandYourself contacted me daily offering to help me for only $400 a month. After telling them I wasn't interested they continued to call, and after not answering all of the calls, they purposely sabotaged my files.