“Norton Top Search” is a new service that allows you to create what is essentially an ad that will appear at the top of the SERPs when people search for your name. You create a headline (up to 25 characters) and a description (up to 35 characters) and provide them with a URL. You are then asked to verify your identity via your Facebook account. This YouTube video explains it in a bit more detail.
I applied for one of these ads for my name, and received the following message:
“Congratulations! Your online reputation is now protected. You will receive an email in a couple of days when your Top Search Result has been approved and published.”
It remains to be seen how this will work, though it seems that it will use AdWords and Norton will foot the bill up front. But what happens if (when) multiple people file for ads with the same name?
Anyway, I couldn’t help but wonder what Norton had to gain by offering this for free, so I did a little research. First of all, the itself seems poorly put together, at least from an SEO standpoint. The domain isn’t canonicalized (www vs non-www), and check out this poorly-written meta description:
“Protect your online reputation on Google with Norton Top Search Results. Get you name before any one else does.”
The WHOIS info for the domain goes back to “Red Dog Communcations” in Luxembourg, and doesn’t seem to be affiliated with Norton in any way. I may be reading into this too much, but it does raise a flag.
The YouTube video that explains the service is on the “Norton Nordic” YouTube account. Not sure what the deal with that is, there are a lot of videos on there dating back to 2007.
Also, the service is only free until the ad is clicked five times. According to the Terms and Conditions on the site, “the service functions by way of providing the Customer with the top search result as an Adword-ad which can be modified in accordance with the desires of the Customer and the service is provided until such time when five (5) clicks have been made on the link in the Adword-ad.”
I signed up for this earlier today, but didn’t have time to look into it further until just now. I’m not worried that my identity is going to be stolen or anything, but I’m not as stoked about this as I was when I first signed up. I’ll update this post when (if) the ad goes live, or if anything else of interest happens.
Anonymity on the internet is becoming a thing of the past. For a lot of reasons that’s a good thing; business opportunities, faster communication. But the bad is worse: databases of YOUR personal information stored waiting for someone to access it. Your Name, Address, SSN, Credit Card Numbers.
Maybe I’m old school but I keep myself as anonymous as I can. (With out masking IPs, etc) Facebook doesn’t really do it for me, I haven’t even had an account since I was in college. But I’m noticing more and more the media and companies trying to force you to get Facebook. Start counting the Facebook propaganda, take a shot each time you see one. Maybe that will kill off Facebook.