I was talking with my good friend friend Brian a couple of weeks ago when a new startup he was working with came up. Quick note about Brian because he’s awesome – he’s an amazing pixel-perfect designer, he built the website for Bold Metrics and has done some pretty cool sites for companies like Akamai, Kammock (such a cool product), and many more.
Okay, now back to our conversation. Brian mentioned he was building a site for a really cool startup called Yourself.online. I checked out the site, thought what they did was super cool 😎 , and was also interested to learn more about why they picked a .online domain. So Brian connected me with James, their CEO – this is James ⬇️
I asked James if he would be open for doing an interview on my blog, he said yes, and here we are. I think Yourself.online is really onto something and I’m really looking forward to watching their adventure unfold 🚀 Thanks again to James for taking the time to answer my questions – enjoy!
1) When did you start Yourself.Online?
I first started working on yourself.online back in 2018, and we launched our paid product in April 2020.
2) How did you come up with the idea originally?
A few years ago I used to work at Google as a Data Analyst, focusing on e-commerce. Whilst I was there, I saw first hand how the digital trails consumers left behind were used to make deductions about who they were. As I looked deeper into the topic, I found that people weren’t getting jobs, credit or even things like dates because of the content they had on their profiles, even if it was from years ago. At the same time, managing the stack of privacy settings on different sites and cleaning up old content is difficult and takes time.
3) How did you decide on a .ONLINE domain name for the company?
I wanted something that encompassed our vision of being the online guardian to consumers, and was clear to understand. Given we’re just getting started with the features we have right now, it needed to be broader than just the name of a feature and yourself.online was available and worked really well. The price was affordable too, I paid around $500 for it, whist yourself.com was just way too expensive!
4) You offer a number of different services to help with privacy online, which is seeing the most traction now?
We launched with 3 features; social media clean-up, privacy settings management and password breach monitoring. Of these, Facebook clean-up has been getting the most traction. Around 50% of our users connect and scan their Facebook; typically we analyse around 1,000 posts and photos per user for any profesionally damaging content. The feedback from our users has been great too, they’re finding it easy to shed those cringy college photos and lockdown their privacy.
5) When it comes to Social Network Clean-up, is there anything people should know about to mitigate risk?
We’ve found that large employers are now widely using screening tools like Fama.io to assess new candidates and their current employees, which has a huge implication for someone’s privacy. They’re looking for anything that could be damaging to their brand but also to get an idea of ‘company fit’ for the new hire. We recommend people clean everything up and lockdown the accounts they want to keep private and then create the online persona on their public accounts that aligns with the job they want to get. We’ve written a handy blog about it here (https://yourself.online/blog/the-age-of-digital-transparency/)
6) Are there any new features you’re planning on adding over the next few months that you’d be willing to share?
I’m really excited about launching a browser extension that connects with our service in the coming weeks. This makes it super easy for a user to delete pieces of content or lockdown their privacy settings as we’re able to drive their browser for them saving them stacks of time vs. them doing it manually. It’s also the next step towards us becoming a proactive assistant that deals with people’s privacy settings as they use different sites and services.
7) Last but not least, what is one fun fact about you, James, that people might not know?
Good question! I really love adventure travel. A few years ago, a friend and I drove half way around the world from London to Mongolia as a team in the Mongol Rally. It’s a bit like a ‘Gumball Rally’ trip, the only exception was we did it in a car we bought on eBay for $1,000. Took 6 weeks driving 11,000 miles through 17 countries but we made it in the end with a few good stories to show for it!