Intelius Allows Individuals to Monitor and (Somewhat) Control Information Available Online; TrueRep Service Available Now in Beta
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Intelius, the Web-based aggregator of public record and publicly available information, has launched a new subscription service that allows individuals and businesses the ability to view and analyze the information that is available online about them. The TrueRep service also allows subscribers to exert some (small) level of control over by suppressing contact information (address and phone number) in selected sites.

In addition to the public record and publicly available information already available in Intelius reports, TrueRep introduces the Reputation Score that offers a quick analysis of the information. The numeric Reputation Score is viewable only by the individual (or business) to whom (which) it belongs. "The score will initially be tallied based on 15 different parameters from an (sic) subscriber’s public profile based on three key areas – stability, trustworthiness and safety," according to Intelius' press release announcing the new service.

The press release goes on to describe the service this way:

TrueRep is fundamentally about providing consumers awareness and control of their online reputation.

  • Awareness. After proceeding through an authentication process, new subscribers are shown a summary of their background information available online. Content is presented in five categories: address history, personal information, professional information, criminal records and civil judgments. This information represents the foundation of their digital persona and gives consumers full transparency of the public information – right or wrong – that is associated with them.
  • Control. TrueRep introduces several tools for subscribers that can be used to influence how others see them online. The service will enable subscribers to suppress sensitive contact information, including two addresses and one phone number from their online profile so that anyone conducting a people search or background check on certain Intelius sites* will not be able to see that information.** In the future, TrueRep will also enable subscribers additional tools to enable consumers to control their online reputation. 
  • Promote. In addition to those tools, TrueRep will also empower subscribers to promote themselves if they wish. Tools are provided so subscribers can improve Google results associated with their name and increase their visibility online.

(Note that the press release desrcibes the limited universe of "Intelius sites" from which users can "supress information," denoted above by the single asterisk as, "Intelius.com, LookUpAnyone.com, PeopleLookUp.com and PublicRecords.com." Intelius further qualifies this limitation by indicating that this list represents the options available "at the beginning of the beta period," adding that they plan to include all of their sites at a later date.) Also note that, in the press release, Intelius refers to "criminal records and civil judgments" as part of the "foundation of their digital persona." While this is true, neither the press release nor TrueRep's Terms and Conditions explain the limitations of online, electronic availability of these records.

“Each of us has a digital footprint that begins to take shape the day our first baby pictures are posted on the web,” Intelius' Chief Privacy Officer Jim Adler noted in the press release. “As that digital identity grows with public records and commercially available information added year after year, the pool of information from which people can formulate a judgment about us continues to evolve. We have reached a point where we can no longer ignore our digital persona but must be aware of it and take steps to control our reputation, online as well as off.”

While much of this information is already available for free or at low cost from other existing sources. TrueReps' aggregation of the information into one report and the calculation of the Reputation Score are novel. While the announcement's claims of being able to manage one's online reputation and control one's digital persona may be a bit hyperbolic, TrueRep does give subscribers the ability to edit/limit/suppress some contact information from a selection of Intelius' constellation of popular people search sites. There is however, no mention of whether that suppression continues after the cancellation of one's TrueRep subscription. (We're awaiting a reply from Intelius/TrueRep on that question.)

The beta release of TrueRep is currently available to existing Intelius customers. Non-customers can subscribe at http://www.truerep.com for $9.95 per month or $89.99 per year. Intelius announced that it expects the beta period "to last several months with new features added during that time to provide more tools and value to subscribers. Intelius expects to launch TrueRep in the Spring of 2011."

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