Interview with Michael Streko of Knowem.com

The following is a sponsored post and part of new advertising option I’ll be announcing later today.

For this post we’re going to be talking to Michael Streko Co-Founder of KnowEm.com. For my readers who might not know, you can you tell us a little about yourself, and some of your experience in search marketing.

Michael Streko: Sure Michael. I started in search marketing four years ago when I was told by the owner of the company I worked for to “Make our website be found on Google.” I started reading and experimenting and was quickly able to achieve very good rankings.

I took what I had learned and began to build out affiliate sites for myself. A few months later, I was picked up by a head hunter and took a job in NYC as the director of search marketing for an affiliate network. I stayed there for over a year but left March 2009 to start my own company.

You and Barry Wise started KnowEm last year. Can you tell me about your company, what it does, and why that’s important for businesses and publishers?

Michael Streko: KnowEm is the original social media profile reservation service. In a nutshell, an individual or business will come to us and ask us to let them know where their name, brand names, trade marked terms, or intellectual properties are taken. Where they are available my team goes out and registers the name on their behalf. We also offer a protection service and sign your name up on new sites as they are launched.

Let’s talk about businesses and publishers who aren’t involved in social media at all, or who are only involved in a small way. How important is it for them to use your service?

Michael Streko: If I had told you 6 years ago that a website with the simple concept of a 120 character updates would be used by major companies, individuals, celebs, and just about everyone one else who wasn’t living under a rock – not to mentioned featured in world wide advertising campaigns – you’d probably have looked at me funny.

The truth is, no one knows what the next twitter, facebook or myspace is going to be. But we want to help everyone be sure their flag is planted at that next large site. So far we have been doing a good job at it. We have signed up over 500,000 profiles to date and we expect that number to hit a million very shortly.

Our service is not off shored, which is why we have been able to become the large player in this industry. Nothing is automated. Everything is done by hand by our employees here in the beautiful state of New Jersey.

In your opinion what are some tips, tricks, or key ways people can get the most out of your service?

Michael Streko: Our subscription service – it’s by far the most powerful tool that we offer. We have a full time employee whose only job is to discover new social media sites. We display 350+ on the site, but our library of sites is well into the thousands. As I said before, you never know what the next “big” site is going to be, but we can help you get on there first.

Remember when MySpace was huge, and everyone had their top 8? Did you ever notice that originally your top 8 was determined by the order in which your friends had signed up for MySpace? I can remember three to four profiles that were on almost everyone’s top 8. Think of how powerful that would be for a brand or an individual trying to get their name out.

The service is also used heavily for ORM (online reputation management). You’d be surprised what 100 or 150 profiles created by us will do to the first 3 SERPs.

In your opinion is it a better strategy for publishers to try and be involved in as many social websites as possible, but not very deeply, or should they just focus on the bigger sites like Facebook and Twitter?

Michael Streko: Plant your flag everywhere you can. I cant stress it enough. Still focus on the mass sites – but you will find the smaller sites are more tight-knit and, if marketed to optimally, the reach can be great.

Let’s change gears. Last week I talked about something your partner Barry brought to my attention: the Google SERP’s now include results based on people you had friended on different services (aka your social graph). Does using a service like KnowEm to have presence in a lot of different places help you at all?

Michael Streko: I think its going to heavily influence Google’s algorithm. I mean, if you look at how they are presenting the social graph to show your closest contacts and what sites those contacts are on, you’ll notice they are actually detecting a lot of social media sites. Here are my thoughts about the way the algorithm is going to evolve.

So out of the thousands of people in my social graph, it turns out that:
20 of them search for the exact same term.
8 of them click the same organic result.
9 of them click the same sponsored link.

I then do the exact same search logged in. Don’t you think that the algorithm will pick up on what my social graph had clicked and alter the results presented? This is going to be true Social Ranking and, with the latest hires to the Google social team, I really believe that this is where the results pages are headed. They wanted this with search wiki – but it was a failure. This is the next most logical, automated way to achieve the desired result.

Let’s take out the crystal ball. What other types of information do you think Google will start taking from the social web? Do you think we’ll see Bing or Bing/Yahoo using this data in their algorithm at all in the near future?

Michael Streko: I think Google is going to start ad serving in the same way. This is a whole new road Google is going down and it will be interesting to see exactly where it ends up.

I think Bing and Yahoo both need to figure out what they are doing first before either should attempt anything like this.

Last question … what do you think is the biggest mistake companies make with social media, and what do you think they should do to fix it?

The biggest mistake is not putting a face to the name. We tell companies that sign up for our service to always use a real name with the profile. Social media is about being social. When I am communicating with a company, I like to actually see and know who the person is that I am talking to. I don’t like to think that I am speaking to a big logo. The more human you are, the more rewarding social media will be.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

Anytime!

If you’re looking to register and claim your name, business name, or product name on over 350 social media sites, be sure to visit Knowem.com. As I said last week with Google’s social search now live, this is a very good time to make sure you’re involved in social media.

The preceding has been a sponsored post. Find out more information about sponsored posts.

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