Internet Identity Management

Online Identity

Ninety-Five percent of all businesses are listed online in thousands of website directories like Google Places and Local.com, manta, and hotfrog. That’s a good thing if the directories get the information right, because they usually include a link to your website, providing free advertising and lots of additional traffic.

However, over 40% of that information is incorrect. Why?

#1. These directories don’t just contact you and ask for information about your business. They simply comb the internet, find “whatever stuff” about your business, and list it for the public, right or wrong. They might have the correct company name and services but have the wrong address or phone number. The address and phone number may belong to your competition. Guess who is getting your business!
Interestingly, a search last year for Google in Google Places listed the company as “CLOSED”, and the site picture displayed was of a vacant lot. One of my customers had their Summerville Trolley Road listing pointing to a vacant lot on Hwy 61. It took several weeks to get that one fixed.

#2. Unclaimed web directory listings can be claimed by anybody, even your competition. A major tire company claimed hundreds of competitors web listings and put their own contact information in them. Websurfers thinking that they were calling ABC tire were actually calling somebody else. Are your web listings benefitting you or your competition?

#3. A local partnership decided to go their separate ways. One partner formed a competitive business with a different company name. However, ALL of the web listings for the former business had the competitors phone number listed. After two years, there are still directories found with the old partner’s phone number. What a mess!

#4. Bad Reviews. Most directories allow folks to review the company listing. “0 Stars” = bad; “5 Stars” = Excellent! They also allow you to leave a detailed message about what the experience. One of my Main Street customers bought a company that had received poor reviews for service in the past. Several directories listed “0 Stars” and had references like “Poor Service”, “Took Too Long”, “Left my car with grease marks all over my seat covers”, and “Forgot to tighten down the oil filter and nearly ruined my engine”. Problem is, if you can’t find the directory listing, how do you know that you have a bad review? How do you fix something you can’t find?

Time: On our own business, we allocated a couple hours to finding, claiming, and correcting web directory listings. After a week, we were still finding stuff. Two of us took nearly 100 hours and still didn’t find them all. Plus, there are new listing popping up all the time. And how do you know which listing might have a bad review tomorrow?

We decided to use NetCare+ to help us “Reclaim and Manage our Online Identity”, and this is what it did:

#1. Claimed and corrected all of the existing online directories

#2. Listed our company in over 300 directories with correct information and links to our webpage

#3. Created a “Web Card” that is used as a template with all the correct information that web directories feed (or receiver their information) from.

4# Multiple submissions to web directories rather than once a year to keep listing fresh and up-to-date

#5. Facebook Business Fan Page with correct information

#6. Twitter Business Account with correct information

#7. Foursquare Business Account with correct information

#8. Google, Yahoo, Bing and MapQuest Map Variation and Submission

#9. GPS Database Submission (TomTom…)

#10. 411 Directory Assistance Submission

#11. Mobile Device Database Submission

#12. Telematic Service (On-Star…) Services Submission

And the Reporting is fantastic:

#1. Quick Listing Report

#2. Total Visibility Report

#3. Info Cast Newsletter with Online Identity Ratings.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions (Provided by NetCare+

How does the claiming process work?

To begin with, we review the listing information you’ve provided and determine whether listings for your business already exist on the sites covered by our Claimed Profiles service: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter. The results of our initial review determine the next actions, as discussed below.

When can I expect my listing to start appearing?

As the directories and search engines each have varying data refresh schedules, we suggest 60 to 90 days as a general guideline. Some directories may change the information within weeks, but others refresh their data on longer schedules. We cannot control that, but we can assure you we will make the data available to the publishers and database vendors as quickly as their schedules permit.

What does Quick Listing mean and what sites are included?

Quick Listing refers to manual submission to approximately 15 sites for faster visibility of basic information: business name, address, phone, website, and category. This service is ideal for newer businesses without much internet presence on sites such as Yelp, Insider Pages, Angie’s List, Brownbook, Manta, Kudzu, MojoPages, Yahoo, Just Click Local, Foursquare, Yellowbot, Show Me Local, Citysearch, and EZLocal. (We reserve the right to update this list periodically.)

What if I already have a listing on some Quick Listing sites?

The objective of Quick Listing is to make your business visible where it does not exist already. A search is done on each site for the business name, and if it is found, we bypass that site so as not to create a duplicate listing. Corrections and/or enhanced information (hours of operation, photos, etc.) can be added by the business owner in the near term. NetCare data syndication through InfoGroup, Acxiom, and Dun & Bradstreet will, over time, correct and augment your listings.

What is a Webcard?

A Webcard is a simple web page that includes all of the elements of your certified business profile: contact information, logo, products and services, hours of operation, and more. Once you’ve submitted your listing information to NetCare, we post that information to the Webcard immediately so that you can see how your master business profile will appear across the web. Your Webcard is like a calling card for your business online, and having one boosts your search ranking and online visibility. There’s no extra cost for this service, and your publicly posted Webcard can even be used in lieu of a business website.

Can I make changes to my Webcard?

You can make changes to your NetCare profile at any time, and those changes will be immediately reflected in your online Webcard.

What happens if I have no existing listings on Google, Yahoo, or Bing?

If our research does not detect an existing listing for your business, we will create a new listing. We’ll set up an account for you on the site and submit the listing data you’ve provided.

What if multiple listings already exist on Google, Yahoo, or Bing?

If multiple listings are found for the business on any of these sites, we will provide links to the listings that were found, and through research and communication with you, we will determine the best course of action before proceeding with any claiming or verification.

What I if I have one existing Yahoo listing?

Phone or postcard verification is not required for Yahoo local listings. Yahoo offers both Basic (free), and Enhanced (paid) listings. Some listings will display in Yahoo search results with a green check mark, indicating a listing status of Merchant Verified. Merchant Verified status is granted to paid local listings, to businesses that purchase search marketing services directly from Yahoo, or to listings Yahoo has obtained from another source like Yellowpages.com or Citysearch.

If your Yahoo listing shows a status of Merchant Verified, we will not attempt to claim the listing. We will determine the verification source (e.g., customer, Yellowpages.com), and we will upload any photos in your NetCare listing. If your Merchant Verified listing is currently in your control and you provide login info for your account, we can access the listing and update other elements to match your NetCare listing.

What if my Yahoo listing is not Merchant Verified?

If your existing Yahoo listing is not Merchant Verified, we will claim the listing using an account we’ll create for you. We will then edit the listing with the listing data you’ve provided.

Please Note: We have no way to know if the customer has already claimed a Yahoo basic listing, unless this information is provided to us by the customer. If we claim a Yahoo basic listing that a customer has previously claimed with another account, then the listing status may change in the customer’s existing account to "Deactivated." This status indicates that another Yahoo user has overwritten the listing (in this case, NetCare has done so on the customer’s behalf). No duplicate listing is created. If you choose, you can get control of your listing back from us by claiming it once again, using your original account. You may also manage your listing using the new account we have created for you.

What if I have one existing Bing listing?

We will claim the existing listing using an account that we create for the customer. We then edit the listing using the data you’ve provided and submit for publication.

We will claim the existing listing using an account that we create for the customer. We then edit the listing using the data you’ve provided and submit for publication.

Please Note: Before Bing will publish your listing, we need to verify your listing with a phone or postcard PIN. This process helps protect your listing against unauthorized changes. In the event we discover the customer has an existing Bing account and has previously verified their listing, we can cancel the verification process. The Bing claiming process does not create any duplicate listing concerns even where control of the listing changes hands. If the Bing listing is in your control and you provide us with account login information, we can access the listing and make edits and updates as desired. We can also complete the verification process and move the listing to the new account that we create for the customer.

What if I have one existing Google listing?

Phone or postcard verification is required for Google Places listings. Some Google Places listings will display a green checkmark and the phrase “Owner Verified.” This status is obtained by completing phone or postcard verification for the listing.

If an existing Google Places listing shows a status of “Owner Verified,” we can’t claim the listing.

If your Google Places listing is not “Owner Verified,” we claim the listing using an account we create for you. Next, we update the listing with the data you’ve provided. After the listing has been verified the claiming process is complete.

What is the process for Facebook?

For businesses with no existing Facebook presence, we create an account, create a Page for your business, populate that Page with information from your NetCare business profile, and provide you with a link and login credentials. If we detect that you already have a Facebook Page, we include a link to that page in your completion report.

What is the process for Twitter?

For businesses with no existing Twitter presence, we create a Twitter handle and populate your Twitter page with information from your NetCare business profile. We provide you with a link and login credentials. If we detect that you already have a Twitter account, we include a link to that page in your completion report.

What is the process for Foursquare?

For businesses with no existing Foursquare presence, we create an account, create a Venue page for your business and populate that page with information from your NetCare business profile. If a Venue already exists for your business, we add or modify its information to match your NetCare profile. In both cases, we claim the Venue on your behalf, a process that requires phone or postcard verification. If we detect that you already have a claimed Foursquare presence, we include a link to that page in your completion report.

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