In the Loop

Is that you, or your "Googleganger"?

Posted at 10:30 AM on September 14, 2007 by Sanden Totten (6 Comments)

Anyone who tells you they don't Google themselves is lying.

We all do it. There's nothing like going through your sordid past on the Internet -- from your first posts on some discussion board to pictures from last year's holiday party. By the way, that "seasonal sweater" you had on? I'd leave that home next year . . .

But for some people, there's a problem. When they Google their names someone else comes up. That person is a Googleganger. It's someone with your very name, but often a totally different life.

Check out Maureen Johnson's blog for some examples. She's a writer in NYC who shares a name with a real estate agent, a crab conservationist and a loud-mouthed drama queen from the musical Rent. Apparently *that* Maureen Johnson is the best known of them all. The writer Maureen says she gets asked about the Rent Maureen regularly. It must be frustrating when your Googleganger gets more attention than you and she's not even real!

Do you have a surprising Googleganger? Come on, tell me about it! With a name like mine I'll probably never have a Googleganger so I need to experience the joys and sorrows through your tales of Internet doubles!

Comments (6)

There's a comedian by the name of Ahmed Ahmed (part of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which I saw in Mpls. a few months ago), which also happens to be the alias of some major Egyptian terrorist--so when you Google him, the first hit is the comedian's site, followed immediately by the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist site.

As for myself, my name is too common to bother googling--though I do know that I'm a character in _Bringing Out the Dead_.

Posted by Mary Burke | September 14, 2007 11:46 AM

My name is Robert Fischer. Don't you dare call me "Bobby".

As if it wasn't enough to be carrying that guy's name, and to be a geeky kid in grade school when "Searching for Bobby Fischer" came out, it's now totally ruined my ability to get my Google rank up.

I'm a tech management consultant these days, trying to make a name for myself. I've spoke at conferences, I've consulted in a bunch of places, and I'm an avid blogger. After three years of posting my full name over and over and over again in my blog, I've *JUST NOW* gotten onto the first page of results for Google. Victory at last!

My only question at this point is if I'm vain enough to put myself onto Wikipedia's "Robert Fisher" disambiguation page. That's Google hit #2, so it might get me up the pile...

Posted by Robert Fischer | September 14, 2007 11:48 AM

Actually, that's a funny thing about my name - I'm the only one. Pavleck is a very regional name - not sure what the original name was back in the old country, but when we came here, it was changed to Pavleck - the normal way people spell it is Pavlik, Pavlek, etc. Because of that, virtually everyone you meet that has my last name is related to me, and I'm the only Jeremy Pavleck that exists.
That's neat and all, but it adds a further concern - I have more worry about what my name will pull up, so I have to protect my online identity as if it was my credit because in this day and age, it pretty much is.

Posted by Jeremy Pavleck | September 14, 2007 11:49 AM

Wow, Robert, that's a tough one. Were you called "Bobby" as a kid? Did you stop once that movie came out?

Have people ever asked you if you were *the* Bobby Fischer?

Posted by Sanden Totten | September 14, 2007 2:29 PM

I never thought that I would have a googleganger with my unusual name either, but apparently there is one other person with my name. She is president of the Wildlife Rehabilitators Network. Now that I am married though and changed my last name to something even MORE obscure, I am the only one out there. The real google info on me has my twitter messages (I post to the public timeline), my bookmooch profile with the books I am giving away, comments to your lovely blog, my times in the 5ks and inline marathons I have done recently, and the fact that I am on the charter commission in my town. A decent little profile I think if an old classmate or someone tries to look me up. And if they look me up by my old name and mistakenly think I am president of the wildlife rehabilitators, well, that is just fine by me too - I'd be proud to have that job. The reason there isn't MORE stuff out there that is googlable about me is that when I do stuff on the internet, I rarely give out my last name which I think is a pretty good privacy plan - seems to be working on google anyways.

Posted by Elizabeth Wickoren | September 17, 2007 6:00 AM

My Googleganger is a brand of wine in California. Maybe I should write to her and ask for samples for old Googleganger's sake.

Posted by Carol Shelton | January 5, 2008 3:50 PM

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