en years ago, we identified ourselves online with handles, and anonymity ruled the web. It was not unusual to correspond with “Jetsfan77″ or “HikingGirl_06.” The idea of having all your information attached to your name — your real name — seemed crazy. As we’ve moved away from handles, using our legal monikers has ushered in an era of more authenticity and accountability on the web.
And as distinguishing your identity across the web becomes increasingly important, it has also become increasingly difficult. With almost 30% of the world’s 6.7 billion person population using the Internet today, there are bound to be many of them who share the same name.
There are 149 other “Sarah Kesslers” on Facebook. Twenty-six of us have Twitter accounts, 93 of us use MySpace, and 78 of us are Linkedin. Staking out digital territory across the web, needless to say, has been difficult. And my name isn’t even among the most common.
In a world where almost 80% of hiring managers Google job candidates, it’s important to make sure that the people looking you up find you and not someone else with your namesake.
This importance became clear to Pete Kistler when he figured out that he was being turned down for jobs because he shared a name and age bracket with an ex-convict. To help others like him, he started Brand-Yourself, a personal online reputation management service. We caught up with the site’s Chief Marketing Officer Patrick Ambron for his advice on staking out an online identity when there’s competition for your name.