Clean Up Your Old Web Presence

While Googling recently to find performance samples for a gig application I came across something unexpected: a hit for the profile page of a former band. This surprised me because when I left the band I had turned over all of its digital assets (domain name, website, Sonicbids account, MySpace, Facebook, CD Baby, etc) to the band leader after removing my payment information from any which charged fees – and as far as I knew that person had not renewed any service that was not free.

Given that this transition had occurred a couple of years ago, I was concerned that perhaps I had not successfully removed my payment information from that Sonicbids account – I could see that it had not been updated since my last visit so I knew that the band was not currently using it. Searching my email archive I came up with the old user name and password, and logged in.

The account information did say that it was inactive and had no authorized valid credit card number, although it still allowed me to edit the band’s information and the “contact the band” link still seemed to work. This relieved my concern that I might still be paying for it,  but the continued public accessibility of the profile and its visibility in Google posed a potential PR/contact problem for the band since the information on it was outdated (e.g., website link no longer functional since the domain wasn’t renewed, email address connected to the “contact” button maybe no longer used, old audio samples, no recent gig calendar information).

I bear the former band no ill will, so made some minor profile tweaks to help a visiting stranger find them (changed the defunct website address to their Bandcamp URL and added their Facebook page), then messaged their manager with the above information to take whatever action they might deem prudent.

The take-away for you:

– Clean up, and if possible delete, any website presence you no longer wish to maintain.

– Google yourself, your band, your company, etc. periodically to make sure the old stuff is actually gone.

I’m as guilty as anyone of being lazy about this, especially if I know the site in question makes account deletion difficult. So another result of this experience was that I’ve finally set into motion the cumbersome procedure to delete my one remaining MySpace account, into which I hadn’t logged for over a year (though it at least had a live gig calendar feed from my Sonicbids account). Looking at my MySpace friends I didn’t see any who had logged in since mid-2011 either – yet your MySpace link always appears at the top of any Google search for your name. Is that what you want a potential customer/fan to see first about you?!

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