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12/8/2010
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Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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Intelius Debuts Reputation Management Service

The personal information broker that supplies the data for several people search site is rolling out tools for discovering and managing your online reputation. The service is intended for consumers so far, but it would also be useful for small businesses named after their principals.

The personal information broker that supplies the data for several people search site is rolling out tools for discovering and managing your online reputation. The service is intended for consumers so far, but it would also be useful for small businesses named after their principals.Intelius calls itself an "information commerce company," drawing on multiple publicly available data sources to power people search services (the company owns Zabasearch, for example) as well as provide background checks, employment screening, and identity theft prevention. The company has now launched the beta version of a new subscription service called TrueRep, which enables people to not only find out what information is available about them on the Web but to exercise some control over it. TrueRep's purpose is "awareness, protection, and promotion" of personal information, according to Intelius senior vice president Prakash Kondepudi.

The "awareness" piece comes from a summary of the information available about someone online (after an authentication process to ensure the user is who they say they are). The information comes in five categories: address history, personal information, professional information, criminal records, and civil judgments. The service also provides a "reputation score" that summarizes the subscriber's stability, trustworthiness, and safety (based, of course, on the information publicly available on the Internet).

Once a subscriber knows what people can learn about them, TrueRep lets them exert some control over it. For example, you could suppress certain addresses from the information that turns up on Intelius-run people search sites. Or you could add a comment to the record of a civil judgment explaining that you were fleeced by a former partner.

Finally, TrueRep provides suggestions for how a subscriber can improve their online image. For example, you could set up a website, hosted on Intelius.com, and display a positive reputation score on the site. The service also provides some SEO tools and tips for increasing your visibility on search engines.

Obviously, most of these features would also be of interest to SMBs. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey provided by the company, 78 percent of U.S. adults think it is important to look up information about people and businesses online before deciding to do business with them. At the moment, given the service's consumer orientation, TrueRep would really only be useful for people doing business under their own name. (Besides managing their reputation, for example, they could choose to suppress their home address and phone number from name searches so that people only found their business.) But, says Kondepudi, extension of the service to cover small businesses that don't have just the owner's name is on the Intelius roadmap.

The service will be in beta for several months before it launches fully sometime next spring. Interested parties can sign up here; subscriptions cost $9.95/month or $90/year.

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