BrandYourself, the startup that changed direction this past March to focus on providing do-it-yourself tools to help individuals monitor and change their search engine optimization themselves, is reporting an impressive milestone today: just two months after its relaunch, the company now has 100,000 users signed up for its service. BrandYourself CEO and co-founder Patrick Ambron credits much of that success to the introduction of a tool just last week that allows users of the service to see what company people are searching for them from on Google.
That new feature allows people to see not only where geographically others are Googling their BrandYourself page (which is essentially an online resume/profile) from and how they found you, but also what company they’re working for (using publicly available information like that employed by tools like Google Analytics). That feature, which resembles LinkedIn’s search history for your profile on the network, but works for the whole web instead of just one limited network, combined with new social sharing tools is what Ambron credits for the growth explosion, which has exceeded the company’s own projections four times over.
“Besides just this new feature, we also released viral tools, making it easier for people to share things, [like their] profile, search score, the fact that links related to them have moved up and down on Twitter and Facebook, etc.,” Ambron said. “That combined with the new feature, which got a lot of press, created this loop and it’s kind of gone from there.”
By contrast, BrandYourself had only really ever been able to reach about 15,000 sign-ups a year before it switched gears from being a more broadly focused online reputation management tool, to a laser-focused DIY SEO operation. And in fact, the company had to start gating access to prevent being overwhelmed by demand, Ambron said.
“We’ve actually slowed down traffic from other countries [outside main ones like the U.S., UK, etc.] because while we’re actually scaling fine, we pull Google results for our users via Google’s API, so actually we’re hitting all their limits,” he said. BrandYourself if working with Google to make sure it can continue to grow at a managed pace without crossing any limits or breaking any rules, thus endangering their ability to continue to deliver services to the users who have signed up. As a result, Ambron said that the company now has an extensive waiting list of users who want to get on board above the current 100,000 pool.
BrandYourself makes money by converting free users to paid, offering subscribers additional recommendations and more granular information about who’s searching for them when they pay a $9.99 monthly fee. Ambron revealed that the company has over 1,200 paying members already, and he’s pleased with that conversion rate.
By offering users features that web developers have been able to glean from Google Analytics data, without requiring any technical expertise, web programming or installation process, and by unlocking one of LinkedIn’s key features for the wider web, BrandYourself appears to have struck pay dirt. We’ll be watching to see if that traction can continue.