Internet Start-ups Take on 'Personal Brand Management'

Anyone who wants to control information that is presented about them during an Internet search, now has the tools at their disposal.

New Internet profiling services can help people manage what other computer users see when they look up names in search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

"We are moving into a world of personal brand management," Tim DeMello, chief executive of start-up Ziggs, told Washington Post columnist Leslie Walker. "It is important that Tim DeMello be able to manage his profile on the Web and make sure it is of value."

Boston-based Ziggs, which has 2.1 million profiles, lets anyone build a free profile with name, job title, employer, brief biography and contact details, and it allows others to search their data. Ziggs also lets people direct searchers to existing online bios rather than creating new ones.

Ziggs, which launched in October, hopes to profit by a $50-a-year premium service that places sponsored links to your profile next to the search results that pop up your name is entered at Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines, Walker wrote.

Another new player is Jigsaw, which targets sales representatives and recruits. The way it works is users sell contact information about friends and colleagues in exchange for points that can be used to buy information on others. Users upload a person's name and contact info, and if no one successfully challenges it, you can download two profiles. In one month, members must either pay $25 or upload 25 valid new contacts, which means the users add and verify the contacts themselves.

"The beauty of Jigsaw is it is self-cleansing," said Jim Fowler, chief executive of the San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which launched in December.

Walker also discussed Eliyon Technologies Corp., which has 25 million electronic dossiers and is planning to release new people-searching services next month. Eliyon Technologies allows people to search information by certain traits, by job or university attended, for example. Eliyon also allows people to change their Internet profiles.

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