If you come up whenever someone Googles your name, how can you find out if anyone else has the same name?
April 26, 2004 8:09 AM   Subscribe

If you've more or less Google-bombed so that you come up whenever someone googles for your name, how do you find out if someone else has your name? (explanation inside)

Okay, that was a strange question -- let me explain.

I, on occasion, run my name through Google just to see what people are saying about me. I'm a fanfiction author. When fanfiction authors aren't writing, they do their other favorite hobby -- talk shit about other fanfiction authors. So I occasionally see if anyone's talking about me.

Which is all fine and dandy. I discover that a lot of people don't know how to block their sites from Google, I realize exactly how much fanfiction I've written, and I have a bit of a laugh.

Except, last night, while I was going through it, I found out that someone with my name is on The A-List, the epic gossip collection. In association with Justin Timberlake.

Now, okay, I'm desperately amused by this. But, at the same time, I'm curious. Is there someone else out there who is using the name Kate Bolin? Is she currently cranky that she'll never get anywhere on the Internet because there's this chick in the UK with twenty billion fanfiction stories filling up the world? Have I secretly been sleeping with Justin Timberlake and just not known it?

Any ideas on what I should do? I'm already considering playing detective and finding out how the name got mentioned on the gossip site, and where they got that source, but I'm also just curious as to what y'all think.

(plus, okay, I'll admit it. I have to brag about it. Me & Justin! 4-eva!)
posted by Katemonkey to Computers & Internet (21 answers total)
Er, what exactly *is* fanfiction?
posted by salmacis at 8:15 AM on April 26, 2004

This happens to me a lot. Basically there are three Jessamyns with big web presences and I have the domain name. Every now and again something happens in the world relating to a Jessamyn and by default people think it's me since they've never known another one [I, however, know many]. Usually what I do is either search for Google and specifically delete my own site[s] by using the minus to eliminate sites that mention jessamyn.com, or I go into a people-search type website [Yahoo people, phone directories, etc] to see if I can track them down that way. Large phone directories that span multiple states are a good way to start. We have one here at my library and I show one Kate Bolin in the US, in Las Vegas. I can send you her number if you want it.
posted by jessamyn at 8:31 AM on April 26, 2004

I hate to state the obvious, but it could just be someone else with your name.

Someone with my name (exact same except for the three "I"s at the end of mine) used to be the admin for "alt.sex.super-orgasm" or something in equally bad taste. No one (to my knowledge) ever thought that it was me (or my dad or late grandfather) despite it being a fairly unusual last name. Don't sweat it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:32 AM on April 26, 2004

Er, what exactly *is* fanfiction?

Fans of various TV shows/books writing their own stories/scripts/sequels as if they were part of the true continuity of the show. E.g. a Star Trek fanfiction would be a script for the show written by a fan as if it was actually an episode of Star Trek. Sadly, one of the easiest ways to identify a fanfic is if it involves pornographic situations between two of the major characters. Fanfics can range anywhere from believable and enjoyable to excessive and creepy, as proven once by MeFi link to a fan-created hundred-page comic book about Chip n' Dale, Rescue Rangers. (Yep, it had sex)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2004

I just moved my web pages from the domain they've been located for the last nine years and the pages are all 404. Google's already purged them.

But, until recently, I was neck-and-neck with "Keith Ellis, Motivational Speaker" and, off-and-on "Keith Ellis, Theoretical Physicist" for the first pages listed by Google. As you might imagine, there's (a bit of) reason for people to perhaps mistake me for the latter; but the possibility of being mistaken for the former is something I find mortifying. I mean, damn. That's surely worse than being known as someone who writes Justin Timberlake fanfic. Or, maybe not.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:49 AM on April 26, 2004

I have the opposite problem: I don't know which one is me.

I second the idea of telephone directories, especially online ones which allow name searches. They tend to be a little nationality-centric, however (like Canada 411). Outside of that, I suspect it would be too much of an investment for a whim.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2004

Ethereal Bligh: I'll see your motivational speaker and raise you a Nazi war criminal. Although admittedly there's not too much reason for me to be mistaken for someone ~70 years older than me.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:03 AM on April 26, 2004

I'll see your Nazi war criminal, and raise you a Medieval Re-enactment nut.
[shudders with the unspeakable horror of it all]
posted by seanyboy at 9:18 AM on April 26, 2004

I just checked mine, and without googlebombing have managed to move ahead of the MoH winner who jumped on a live grenade in Vietnam. Who said virtue is its own reward? Sadly I have been pipped to top spot by some waster with a girl's middle name in a Barnes and Noble search page.

Actually, why would a B&N search page be googeleable, is something dodgy going on there?
posted by biffa at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2004

Well, I'll see all of that and raise you a big-time fanfic author[1]

1. Assumes one is a "fan" of wars the US never fought, but should have.
posted by yerfatma at 10:03 AM on April 26, 2004

Ouch! I feel your pain.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:28 AM on April 26, 2004

Sadly, one of the easiest ways to identify a fanfic is if it involves pornographic situations

Why are sex fantasies cause for sadness?
posted by jjg at 10:50 AM on April 26, 2004

Why are sex fantasies cause for sadness?

Spoken like someone who's never read any. Not safe for anywhere textually. You can thank Mayor Curley for finding that and burning it into my frontal lobe so I was able to share it with you.
posted by yerfatma at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2004

Ouch! I feel your pain.

Eh. Don't cry for me. I'm looking forward to ten years from now when I'm the one of the last people left who doesn't come up in a simple Googling.
posted by yerfatma at 11:14 AM on April 26, 2004

Wow. I wish I had the mistaken identity problem instead of my own: I am the only person on the internet with my name. (It's a hyphenated last name thing, I think.) Makes googling oneself really boring.
posted by dame at 11:59 AM on April 26, 2004

Ooh, you write lovely fanfic, katemonkey! (I went and looked, I figured MeFites' writing is a good place to look). I've added your LJ, hope you don't mind.

/completely off-topic
posted by livii at 12:37 PM on April 26, 2004

Yeah, if I still had my hyphenated last name, there'd only be one of me, too.

Actually, I still haven't informed the Social Security Administration of the divorce, so on some official documents, it's still the hyphenated version. I guess since it's been ten years, I ought to get around to it, huh?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:39 PM on April 26, 2004

Why are sex fantasies cause for sadness?

How about "rp [real person] slash" fanfic about the Hanson brothers, written by a local barista? That's right, the MMM-BOP boys gettin' busy together. Or fanfic about hobbit actors Dom Monaghan and Elijah Wood, including things like Dom meeting a woman (a friend of the writer) at Mardi Gras and sleeping with her, after which he spouts quotes like "Is it too early for us to move in together?" (this after she serves him pancakes, "...at the sight of which he almost came again.")

Ehh, whatever does it for 'em, I guess.
posted by Shane at 1:08 PM on April 26, 2004

Hmph. An Australian windsurfing champion and a former deputy commissioner of insurance in South Dakota.

But dammit, I'm trying to keep my blog relatively pseudonomyous (sp?) and I'm the #1 result for my name. Guess a few people link to me using my real name, much as I wish they wouldn't.
posted by Vidiot at 7:53 PM on April 26, 2004

I have a mother's website dedicated to her stillborn child as the top result, but mostly my name resides in genealogies going back to the 18th and 19th century. Comes with the name, comes with the name. Unless I beat those, at the moment I am quite hard to find on Google (I don't believe I've ever found myself there).
posted by Gnatcho at 2:48 AM on April 27, 2004

The top five results for my name are all British academics - different ones. Weird.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:41 AM on April 27, 2004

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