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Yes, you can dodge Google

Want to share your resume, photos, or other information with only a select group? These three sites help keep their clients' content off search engines' radar.

By Jessi Hempel, writer
February 5, 2009: 11:50 AM ET

(Fortune) -- Most companies judge their success based on how high they can rank on a Google search. An entire industry of search engine optimizers has sprung up to help businesses rise to the top. But not every person or company wants their information to be found by search engines. Here are three sites that make a business out of helping its clients fly below Google's radar.

Drop.io

(www.drop.io)

Sure Facebook is great if you want to share your photos with, well, the whole world. But what if you want to use the web to share snapshots, videos and documents with select associates? Drop.io, founded by Sam Lessin (a Harvard classmate of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) is a file-sharing site that quickly is winning fans for its easy-to-create, private web pages.

Drop.io lets users store and share private information on personal web pages called "drops," which they can selectively distribute. Drop.io's technology is based on a theory called "casual privacy," which is a bit like leaving your house key under the doormat. The key is safe because only you and friends know to look for it there. Drop.io ensures that the content of its drops isn't tagged, so Google's crawlers can't find it.

The tool is catching on with businesses. MTV Networks International's PR department uses Drop.io to share news releases and creative material like music and videos. The documents are somewhere out there, but they're un Googe-able.

Gilt Groupe

(www.gilt.com)

Gilt Groupe is an online sample sale site. It hosts roughly 20 sales a week, each starting at noon and lasting exactly 36 hours. Everything goes at flat-rate discounts of up to 70%. Merchandise includes clothing, accessories, and housewares; designer names range from up-and-coming Page Sargisson to ruling gentry like Paul Frank.

One reason these designers agree to host their sales with Gilt is that founders Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and Alexis Maybank promise them the sales will only be available to Gilt members. The sales will never pop up on a web search, which might compromise the luxury appeal of a designer's brand. The site has a handful of competitors - ideeli.com, HauteLook.com, and Editor's Closet, to name some -- that have similar strategies.

The Ladders

(www.theladders.com)

As an executive job search web site, The Ladders lets members upload their resumes and sift through job opportunities for high-paying gigs. As the unemployment rate skyrockets, it's grown to more than two million subscribers, according to founder Marc Cenedella. Part of the allure of the site, of course, is that job seekers can't access the job postings unless they're members. If, say, your boss Googles you, she might uncover all kinds of odd information about you, but she won't discover that you're circulating your CV.

Basic membership is free: you can upload your resume and look at the jobs available. Premium subscribers pay $30 a month to view and apply to all the jobs in the database and connect with recruiters. Many other job sites are adopting similar models, which protect the privacy of the job seekers. To top of page


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