Have you ever had a moment of narcissism and Googled yourself? You might be surprised at what you’ll find. It’s amazing how fast your words can get picked up, twisted and turned around and BAM…you’ve got bad press, leaving you to sit there, saying, “wait, I had press?”

Because information is no longer sacred and because privacy seems to be a thing of the past, you and your good name may be a target for malicious burglary. That’s right, I said it, there are name burglars out there. And not only can they take YOUR name, but your company’s as well. Good news? There is a great solution to this criminal problem.

Ever the crafty company, Google, of course, has a nifty little program that will allow you to track all aspects of names you own, trademark or were born with.

From Google:
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Basically, fast paced things or keywords (or just basic items of interest to you) are what Google created Alerts to target. (Case in point would be a query for “Lindsay Lohan” because right now, that girl is everywhere). But the best and most productive use for this tool, that Google does not highligh, would be to keep track of your own brand name.

I signed up for Alerts the other day just to test it out, the query in this case being my name. I was previously aware of some of the alerts because I have searched for my name before but some were new to me. Because I am am writer and my work is pasted in a few nooks and crannies of the web, tracking my name allows me to follow my articles to see if they have been misused in any way, shape or form. So in your mailbox, you can click on the alert link and it takes you to the page where your query can be found.

Using Google alerts to track the whereabouts of your name, brand and thus reputation, gives you peace of mind. Prevention is always the key.

If you want to know a little more about reputation management, I highly recommend taking a look at this post from StuntDubl where further steps to secure your online reputation are laid out in great detail. Plus, Todd is always a fun read! Enjoy!