We Acquired DIYORM.com from the Michael Streko Benefit Auction

In: Industry News & Happenings|Online Reputation Management - ORM|Social Media

4 Sep 2018
by Chris Silver Smith

A couple of weeks ago, internet marketer Joe Hall, announced that he was auctioning off a domain name as a benefit for the son of Michael Streko, a prominent figure in the industry who tragically died on August 11th. We’re pleased to have participated in the benefit auction, and we won the DIYORM.com domain name.

DIYORM logo, circa 2014: Michael Streko's project.

DIYORM logo, circa 2014: Michael Streko’s project.

We worked with Michael Streko years ago and knew him as one of the pioneers and luminaries of the internet marketing industry. Along with his partner, Barry Wise, Michael helped to pioneer the KnowEm company which was centered right in the convergence of internet marketing, social media marketing, trademark and brand development and protection, and online reputation management. KnowEm is a company that facilitates the claiming of names on a broad combination of websites, blog platforms and social media services.

I had met and listened-to presentations by Michael at various conferences where we both spoke. Not only was I impressed by his technical knowledge and go-getter personality, but also by his company. I used the KnowEm service a number of times with various projects, and was impressed by it. I also visited with him some during a period of time when Universal Business Listing company (for which I was an advisor) was considering the possibility of acquiring KnowEm.

Later on, after Michael departed KnowEm, he called me up to talk about his new project idea, which was DIYORM.com. As I recall, he spoke passionately of providing a membership system with tools to help individuals manage and improve their own online reputations themselves, saving on the costs that agencies typically charge. The idea sounded very good, and I offered to write a review of the service in my column on Search Engine Land.

Until Michael passed away, I didn’t realize that others were collaborating with him on the DIY project. On Twitter, Joe Hall wrote:


Following my discussion with Michael, I pinged him a few times, along with some feedback on the registration/login interface of the website, but it seems that DIYORM.com never fully crystallized. Life events happened to all involved, and the concept fell off of my radar screen until I heard the news of Michael’s passing away.

Before Michael had pitched the DIYORM.com idea to me, I had in fact been already planning a similar sort of service. For any involved in the online reputation management industry, it’s common knowledge that ORM is often fairly pricey. Compared with typical SEO projects, ORM is rather labor-intensive. Instead of getting one webpage to rank prominently for a keyword phrase, the aim in reputation repair projects is to displace one or more items from the first ten listings of search results — and, that can entail trying to get ten different pages to rank on page one instead of just getting one page to rank on page one. With multi-pronged optimization efforts, work also multiplies and prices must follow for the effort to be profitable.

While I have large companies that contract us for reputation management, I have long tried to find much lower-cost options for individuals who have less resources. For some individuals and small companies, there is both the ability and motivation necessary to accomplish a reputation clean-up effort, but frequently such people lack the necessary knowledge of how to go about it. There have been other companies that have attempted to provide some level of DIY service, but none have really connected all of the dots sufficiently to be as effective as a customized agency campaign.

When Michael chatted with me about DIYORM.com, we also explored an option whereby I might leverage his service by referring people to it, or through white-labelling it as our branded service. Since I’d already begun exploring a sort of do-it-yourself option, I thought this might end up being ideal. Michael would definitely be open to collaborating with me some on what and how things could be provisioned, and I might as well not duplicate things that he was perhaps already further down-the-road on developing.

But, it was unfortunately not to be, and DIYORM.com never appeared to get beyond the concept stage.

At Argent Media, we believe that we have developed a systematic approach that individuals may be able to follow in order to clean up reputation-damaging materials online, and to take better control of their brands and identities on the internet. We’re working to introduce this self-powered program at very reasonable pricing, and hope to make it available soon.

We are unlikely to leverage DIYORM.com as a brand name as we go forward*, but when the opportunity to obtain it appeared, combined with a chance to contribute to Michael’s son, Everett’s future, we were delighted to join the bidding. We wanted to tell an important bit of internet marketing history and to highlight Streko’s legacy.

If you were helped-out by a reputation cleanup project in the last decade, chances are good that you may have benefitted from some of Michael Streko’s thought leadership and work. If you benefitted from him, or if you knew him in the industry, we encourage you to donate to the GoFundMe campaign which has been set up in his name to benefit Everett:

For more information about Michael Streko, see:


* “ORM” is not a well-recognized acronym among consumers. We have other branding ideas on the drawing board.

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