"When Your Namesake Gets More Attention Than You"

Education & Training with Steve Hoffacker LLC

When you were born and given a name by your parents, you had no say in the matter. Now that you literally are trying to make a name for yourself in business and online, there often are complications that likely were never foreseen.

Even if you have a very distinctive name that is shared by very few others, what if a famous or budding athlete, author, actor, scientist, or performer has your exact same name - at least your first and last name?

When someone does a google search (or bing or yahoo), they find several references for your more famous namesake or namesakes but may not find you until page three or later. Sometimes you can get lost in the shuffle altogether. I have seen this happen.

Your parents probably didn't intentionally name you to compete for online recognition with a contemporary. Maybe they wanted to use a famous first name from the past that they were fond of, and this may cause some issues of people finding you in an online search. Nevertheless, there shouldn't be a lot of confusion in locating you versus someone from a generation or more ago. 

The real issue is when someone gains a following because they are a TV or movie actor and they share the same name as you. They are going to come up first in the searches. The same is true for a football player, musician, or recording artist.

So what's the answer? How do you make a name for yourself when all of the names are the same? Say that your name is Steve Smith - do a search and see what comes up.

It's time to change your name - nothing formal. Just add a middle initial (even if it's a "made-up" one or a nickname that you invent). So, you can be Steve (or Steven) X. or Z. Smith (when the X or Z stand for nothing except as a differentiation tool). You can be Steve "Skip" Smith (even if you have never used this name before).

Unless you want to remain buried deep within the searches - sometimes there are 20 or more people on Linked-In with the same name - you need to come up a name modification that will identify and go with you.


Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging in place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Comments (2)

Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I have that problem..Gary Waters is a Cleveland State basketball coach (where is Cleveland State?) and then there is a big Canadian store named Gary Waters.  I add my middle initial to see if that helps!

Oct 29, 2015 01:07 AM
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

What is in a name? great post on the subject could it be applied to branding as well. 

Dec 04, 2016 04:33 PM