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Repairing / Establishing Online Reputation?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the footnote-the-resume dept.

Privacy 564

illini1022 writes "I'm currently a senior nearing graduation from college. With studies focusing on power and energy I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment. I have one concern. The top search result on Google for my full name is a blog posting regarding an article about a pedophile that happens to bear the same name as myself. The blog also originates from a city I lived in during one summer (specified on my resume). Upon closer inspection, it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me. The person of interest was in the military, and I have never been. However, I fear this unfortunate coincidence might cost me chances at employment with companies I'm now applying to. I have absolutely no issue with any employer finding anything I've put on the Internet; I have been careful to protect my reputation. My concern is with an employer mistaking me for someone else, and disqualifying me from recruitment. I've attempted to contact the blog owner to no avail. What are my options? Am I overreacting? Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting? I appreciate any insight/advice."

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Short answer (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891069)

Am I overreacting?

Yes. Any employer worth your time is either a) not going to be doing something as petty as e-stalking you, or b) doing it properly, and making sure that the person is really you.

Re:Short answer (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891303)

I disagree to some extent, it is relatively common for HR to look into those sorts of things quickly. But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

It's often part of the screening to do to make sure that they're not going to be embarrassed by web information. I don't think the practice will continue into the future, especially in light of the fact that it's going to be increasingly difficult to avoid candidates that are completely clean or non-existent online.

But honestly, many employers do have a prescreen which would catch both that as well as the lack of a criminal conviction. It would be potentially dangerous legally to use wrong information of that nature in a decision to not hire.

Re:Short answer (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891669)

But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

Let's say you're correct and they do use it. How do you prove it? They can always find a reason not to hire you. My favourite: your skills don't match.

Re:Short answer (1)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891333)

Agreed. Given the high cost of hiring an employee (usually >$20k, IIRC), HR tends to be rather thorough. They will do a background check, which would (hopefully) reveal no charges related to pedophilia. In the event that they run your name through Google, they will certainly bother to read the links, both to make sure sure it's you and that the title is not misleading (morbid curiosity probably helps too).

Also, I recollect that many companies explicit searching potential employees for legal reasons in much the same way they will frequently prohibit engineers from checking whether a design infringes on any patents. Less commonly (or in addition) they don't count web info as admissible as it can be misleading and does not usually add a whole lot of new information (see above mentioned background check).

Re:Short answer (1)

Aminion (896851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891355)

You're wrong. MANY recruiters google people they are about to hire because it's a cheap and easy way to weed out obviously unsuitable people.

Re:Short answer (4, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891441)

And? I didn't say no companies at all did this, I said no company worth your time does this.

Re:Short answer (4, Insightful)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891581)

I agree that anyone who does this is an idiot. But, in this day and age, many people have no choice but to work for idiots.

Re:Short answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891627)

What fantasy world do you live in where you only have to work some place where you agree with the moral decisions made by management?

The rest of us work anywhere that will pay us.

Re:Short answer (0)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891649)

Depends what we mean by online research.

Running somebody's name through google and yahoo and then assuming that every result points to the potential candidate? Yes, I agree that's probably not a company you want to work for.

Checking the social networking sites for pictures and video you've posted showing yourself street racing and smoking crystal meth? Fair game.

Re:Short answer (1)

Atomic6 (1011895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891719)

With the unemployment rate as high as it is, I can't imagine a person who has a family to feed getting picky over a company's screening policies.

Re:Short answer (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891631)

I would also agree with that it's overreacting.

Maybe the OP should include a cover letter that mentions this and provides a quick and easy way to verify it wasn't him.

Sure, it will be a little inconvenient, but it's a lot better than trying outrank a search ranking, etc.

Not over reacting (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891705)

The only thing I can suggest is do things to raise the profile of anything connected to the real you, so that your work rises to the top of any Google search.

Re:Short answer (2, Insightful)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891735)

I wouldn't think that drawing any attention to it at all would be a good a idea. Like what was said before, any employer with their spit will double check to make sure that it was not you in that blog, just think of all the people with the Last name Smith, if they were worried about name association the Smiths of the world would be in really bad shape, or maybe in really good shape.....probably bad since that is more readily remembered, but still I would not worry, and if they blame you wrongfully you can alway sue! The all American dream! But in all seriousness, no worries.

Re:Short answer (1)

evildopey (153031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891695)

C) most employers tend to have a background check done on you along with the pre-screen nonsense too.

Although, that said, if they're creepy enough to be e-stalking you, they'd click through the link to only find out it wasn't you. No issue there.

Re:Short answer (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891811)

Indeed, this poor lad is looking at the subject the entirely wrong way. He seems to be going to employers and saying, "please! I am good! help me out! give me a salary!" Serve the man. Bow to the establishment. Be a tool! Etc.

Finding a job is really negotiation. You go to the company and let them know, "I am capable of this and this, which will be useful to you." A good company will see that and desire your services. If not, that's ok, you can find someone who will. Because you actually are capable, and have knowledge that is valuable in this world.

You need to know that you have true negotiating power, and that you're looking to make a deal; your not looking for an apprenticeship or servitude.

That is the proper way to look for a job.

Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891071)

Am I overreacting?

I would think that you are although I sympathize with you as I also have a common name whereby my first middle & last in quotes returns 5,140 hits in Google.

Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting?

And then what about the results on Yahoo! Search? Or MSN Live's Search? Where would you stop?

It may benefit you to just relax and hope that your future employer will be smart enough to recognize that's not you. I think most places of work do background checks but maybe I'm wrong. If someone turns you down and you're not sure why, ask them. If they hint at anything like this, ask them to do a background check to clear your name. I highly doubt this will happen but who knows?

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891205)

Agreed. The companies that superficially search your name and that don't even make an attempt to find out that the pedophile is not you are the ones that you don't want to work for anyway.

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (4, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891317)

Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting?

Of course.

You want the top search on your name to be you, not some low-life with your name. Carpe webium.

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891377)

Hah! 5,140... That is nothing.

Try 1,180,000 hits on Google with my first middle & last name in quotes.

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891635)

Are most of the hits related to what a kick-ass bass player you are? And you waste your time here? Dude?!?!?!

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891667)

If I search for my full first, middle and last name in quotes, I get zilch. My short form first name, middle and last name in quotes, I also get zilch.
My full first name and last name in quotes, I get a single result for somebody who's on the other side of the Atlantic.
My short first name and last name in quotes, the first and second results are linkedin.com pages of someone on the wrong side of the Atlantic again, and the third result is me.
7 of 10 on the first results page is me, including an abstract for a research paper that I'm named on as one of the facility employees that helped with research.
There are still only 98 total results.

I guess it pays to have an uncommon name. Unless you're a jerk.

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891771)

Hah! 1,180,000 is nothing! Try 7,390,000 for my full first, middle initial and last name in quotes. Suddenly I feel far less special than I ever have...

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891565)

My full first and last name return about 31,100 hits [google.ca] in Google, with quotes. Using the colloquial version of my first name returns over 146,000 results [google.ca] . It helps that I share a name with an NHL coach, I'm sure.

When I first started using the web heavily in 1995, I couldn't use my first initial + last name, first name + last name or various versions of the above as sign-ins on major websites at the time as they were already taken.

I began signing my name on E-mails and the like with my middle initial included, to try and differentiate my identity. All of the top ten results [google.ca] on Google for that, in quotes, are currently me. Some of the 16,000 other results may not be.

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891709)

I have a friend whose name returns a porn star when you google her. She's still gainfully employed - she just makes it a point to mention it to the HR person in conversation during the interview process.

Re:Offer a Background Check If You Suspect This (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891725)

In some ways it's kind of nice to have a large number of hits on your name - it gives you a level of anonymity. With just my first and last name in quotes, everything that google turns up is directly related to me. This of course means that anything I write online with my real name is very easy to find, so I find that I have to be very careful about what I sign my name to.

Make a decision. (2, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891083)

I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment.

I disagree. You can't think for yourself.

You've got 2 options.

1. Do something.
2. Do nothing.

If you do something, like put up your own website, things may improve.
If you do nothing, things stay the same.

Re:Make a decision. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891265)

Option 3: Stop touching children.

pervert

Mod parent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891347)

+1 Asperger's

Poster shows quantifiable accuracy but no understanding of social graces.

Not insightful, stupid. (-1, Flamebait)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891379)

Why is this modded insightful? It's stupid.

Did you not consider the possibility, however remote, that by doing something, he might make things worse? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not insightful, stupid. (2, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891593)

The Streisand Effect applies if he were to try and draw attention to what he sees as the negative portrayal of himself.

If he simply minds his own business and creates a personal website about himself with no reference to this other hypothetical blogger, it should have no such effect.

An employer who Googled indiscriminately might then find both, and wonder which is the person applying for the job in question.

Re:Not insightful, stupid. (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891645)

One problem is if the pedo's site is #2 and the real persons site is #541 on the listings. The employer might not even see the real site.

Re:Make a decision. (1)

illini1022 (1480073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891495)

Hey, I really do appreciate the advice, but its a bit of a dilemma. There is a very fine line on the internet between helping and hurting yourself sometimes.

Re:Make a decision. (3, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891505)

Good idea -- they should do something to get noticed. You know, perhaps they could find some super-popular tech-related website. Explain their problem. Get posted in the front page for doing so, you know that sort of stuff.

And use their real name and a link to their website.... doh, blew that chance!

Better luck next time, "illini1022"

Put a note about it on your resume (2, Funny)

the0 (1035328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891097)

Put "I HATE KIDDIE PORN" You can also add this optional statement "REGULAR PORN IS FINE, LOL". That'll tell them outright that you're not the pedo that Google brings up.

That'll be no charge. =)

Re:Put a note about it on your resume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891477)

Just don't mess it up and put the word FUZZIES in there

Re:Put a note about it on your resume (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891501)

A CAT IS FINE TOO.

Not to Worry (2, Insightful)

Wovel (964431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891103)

Any employer that would disqualify you soley based on blog postings from a Google search is not a place where you want to work.

Re:Not to Worry (3, Insightful)

karvind (833059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891161)

Agreed. And there are more reliable ways to do background search than randomly putting your name on Google. Because it is equally likely that if there is a Nobel Prize winner with same name as yours, they wouldn't be thrilled either.

Re:Not to Worry (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891229)

Exactly.

If you're really concerned, make your own website and put its link in your resume/cover letter. Don't give it any further thought. By strongly trying to disassociate yourself from search engine results, you may be sending the wrong message.

Re:Not to Worry (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891273)

I disagree. HR is a bunch of idiots and they do the "hiring" and background checks. Ostensibly, they have nothing to do with the "business" of a company. That is if you are not HR.

You're looking at this wrong (5, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891117)

Ask yourself if you really want to work for a company that would assume that anyone with your name is you, even if - in your own words - "it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me." If they're willing to do that, they'll be willing to assume you're to blame for anything anyone accuses you of to cover their own ass, and a host of other sins that employers commit ever day.

Think of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

Re:You're looking at this wrong (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891249)

hink of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

Be sure to tell them you don't want to work for a goatse. They're bound to run and google it and click a link.

Re:You're looking at this wrong (4, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891521)

Think of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

Unfortunately, in reality, if any employers do see this as an issue, they'll never bring it up. They'll just refuse to interview you in the first place, or fail to make you an offer after your interview.

If you ask, you'll get a vague response like "We don't think you're a good fit".

Most employers will never give you specific reasons for turning down your application, largely as a CYA move.

Re:You're looking at this wrong (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891607)

I think the OP's point still stands thou. If they deny anyone an interview based on such a thing, "We Googled this John's app there but it came up that a John was a 'bad person' so we better not invite him in," they fail on a number of levels.

Re:You're looking at this wrong (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891825)

A bullet dodged is a bullet dodges, whether you hear the sonic crack or not.

Put your real name on the internet more (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891119)

Really, do it, this Slashdot artical alone would have knocked that listing off the map of Google.

Re:Put your real name on the internet more (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891241)

And linking to the offending blog would skyrocket the costs to keep it up.

Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891123)

Frankly, I wouldn't worry about it. Any company that wouldn't hire you after doing a Google search and finding that, without even asking you about it, no less, isn't a company worth working for - especially if you are "set ... up extremely well." At the very least, they suck at communication and that's never a good thing.

Use it as a reason to call. (4, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891125)

90% of the applicants are going to call to verify that HR got their app. How many are to call to clarify that they are not in fact the pedophile of the same name. If nothing else you know they'll look at your resume after that!

Re:Use it as a reason to call. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891523)

Applicant: "Yes, ahhemmm. I was calling about the resume I submitted. Just in case you got the impression that I was a child molester I wanted to let you know that I am not. There was a man with the same name as me who happened to live close to me who was the actual molester. It wasn't me!" Yes, use it as a reason to call, great idea!!

FTFY (4, Interesting)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891149)

Submit a story to Slashdot that reads

"Hello, my name is $REALNAME, and I'm currently a senior nearing graduation..."

Re:FTFY (3, Interesting)

illini1022 (1480073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891507)

I was seriously considering that, for all I know it would make the other page more popular as well. The internet is tricky sometimes.

Re:FTFY (2, Interesting)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891731)

In general, you can use the nofollow [wikipedia.org] -attribute for cases like these.

But there is no guarantee that commenters or potential bloggers that might pick up this story would use it too, so I see your point.

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891599)

Hello Slashdot, my real name is identical to that of a famous sports commentator. Should I give up on the death slog that is the IT industry and the non-sexiness of being like you nerds, and go get a high-paying job in TV using this other guy's credentials? Am I overstating my chances?

get dirty (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891157)

if this is one of those blogging services, send a fake complaint to the company behind it saying that this person is literally claiming to be you to ruin your reputation. They won't spend much time looking into it, they'll just delete it.

You're screwed (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891163)

Now if you google for illini1022 and pedophile, you'll get this story. I don't think there's much you can do, other than provide people with google queries that help isolate you.

Tell your future boss to google for "John Smith -pedophile". That will assure him you're a good person.

Re:You're screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891793)

Now if you google for illini1022 and pedophile, you'll get this story. I don't think there's much you can do, other than provide people with google queries that help isolate you.

Tell your future boss to google for "John Smith -pedophile". That will assure him you're a good person.

Interesting enough, I just did this. He plays the guitar [youtube.com] , probably goes to Purdue (seeking tickets) [illinihq.com] , and is/was a member on the webforum Guru3D [guru3d.com]

Google is fun.

It should be illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891169)

It should be illegal to do a background check without a proper license. And typing a prospective employee's name into Google should be considered a background check. I doubt that's how it is now, but it would be a good idea to make companies leave the investigations to people that know how to do it.

Re:It should be illegal (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891369)

I believe that in most cases the prospective employer farms out the task to a third party. Anything really worthwhile would require verification via court files anyways. And most of the time they really don't want the added liabilities of knowing anything beyond what they really need. The screeners typically give just the information that they need to make a decision.

But most of the time you have to agree to the background check or forgo the opportunity for consideration.

Whether or not it's illegal really depends upon the jurisdictions involved.

Heard it all before (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891171)

Thats what Hans Reiser also said.

For one thing... (4, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891195)

You should've put your real name on the Slashdot article. That probably would've topped the Google search in and of itself, displacing the pedophile article.

Re:For one thing... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891267)

He's not kidding. Many are the times that I've wanted to look something up from a slashdot post. So I paste a quote into google to get more info, the /. post is frequently at the top of the list. Even articles posted the same day make it into google.

Now that you posted here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891197)

Now that you posted to /. - you have pretty much screwed yourself in the eyes of your future employer... unless, of course... it's a kiddie porn ring...

One perfect solution... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891199)

Find the other you and kill them. I'm sure the stories about John Doe killing John Doe over his online reputation will shoot to the top. And, if you're killing a pedophile, I'm sure the judge will go lightly on you and just give you a life sentence. Okay, that last part isn't perfect, but it's a start.

Sane Precautions (1)

resistant (221968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891207)

By all means set up your own blog and "swamp" mentions of your name with positive links and commentary. It will help anyway, and push mentions of the pervert down on search engines in general. Don't even mention the pervert, because you don't want any attention drawn to him (or her) with which to begin. Don't try too hard, though. Just gradually build up a body of links and commentary via blog entries and trackbacks or comments on other blogs, using your own name naturally. Anyone who purposefully searches for dirt on you will find the pervert anyway, and realise in all probability quickly that the pervert is a different person.

Re:Sane Precautions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891367)

"Stupidity common more hydrogen than. It you combat. Not try! Hard think, or not think!" - Sensei Yoda

Please, for the love of FSM, remove that sig. I'm press charges on you for eye rape.

Is your name common? (5, Insightful)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891209)

If you have a very common name, then seriously, don't worry about it.

Even if it's not a very common name, I still wouldn't worry too much about it. Most employers will be doing a criminal background check, which is a lot more reliable than some random blog posting.

Lastly, if you find yourself getting into a pattern of great interviews followed by curt rejections, you might consider being proactive and having a humorous, but prepared statement that you can give during an interview about online reputations, mistaken identity, evidence that the pedophile in question could not be you, as well as how much the situation has taught you about protecting your own reputation, and by extension, the reputation of your employer. Most anything can be spun into a positive.

Why don't you write your congressman? (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891223)

This is a serious problem with data integrity. Check out Choicepoint. They aggregate every piece of data they can with a person's identity. And they are not apologetic about it if they get it wrong. In other words, they are able to create a profile of you without any accountability and sell it as a trusted piece of information that you have no control over. This is similar to your credit report. These things are not regulated and can affect your life.

Otherwise, there is nothing you can do. Your employer will use a background service and it will not show a conviction of you being a sex offender. I would pay for a background check of yourself with the services your employers use so you can see what is being reported.

NAMBLA here... (5, Funny)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891235)

As a member of the North American Marlon Brando Look Alikes, I feel your pain...
I would advise you to join our group for some moral support, but I somehow doubt that would help you...

Re:NAMBLA here... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891543)

Please-- having the name that your parents gave you slandered on the internet is no laughing matter. I too have suffered this misfortune, and I'll thank you not to make light of it.

Sincerely yours,
Stephen A. Twogirlsonecup

Re:NAMBLA here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891819)

I feel your pain. If only there were a way to prevent these miscreants from misusing our names.

Regards,
James Q. Goatse

I wouldn't worry too much... (2, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891243)

Unless your name is really unusual and/or the town in question is teeny-tiny, most recruiters would first consider that it's a coincidence and, if they felt it necessary, they'd check further with regards to it, and probably communicate with you on the process.

These days, most big organizations require a background check anyway, and if the person in the blog had been convicted, that would show up in the record. Of course, if they weren't convicted, or if they were a minor at the time, the blogger might have to remove their post, as there may be legal repercussions for posting potentially libelous commentary and/or information about a minor which may be protected.

I think I'm paranoid (4, Insightful)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891251)

You're paranoid and overreacting. I know that doesn't help you very much, but run through the logic, man:

Being falsely accused is something we all fear. I understand how you feel, I bet it makes you terribly anxious. But you can quickly demonstrate you're innocent, right? If you're innocent, you shouldn't be worried about it, right? Furthermore, if they're interested in you enough to Google you, they're probably going to be interested enough to click that link and read into it. Just think about it...

I've said it a million times before... (4, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891259)

...and I'll say it a million times more. The primary function of giving someone a name is to allow you to single out one person from a collection of people. If you call someone John or David or some other common name then you are failing in that one simple task.

Names should be unique identifiers. For some strange reason, the one segment of American society that understands this issue are vilified for using "black-sounding names". What's so hard for people to get? Stories like this are the inevitable consequence of selfish parents copying names from people around them. Frankly, I think anyone who calls their kid John should be guilty of child abuse.

The only thing I can suggest is suing your parents.

Re:I've said it a million times before... (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891489)

That is why I named my son hjretgwjsdfk. I was sure he would be the only one. I heard that his friends call him John. Don't understand why...

Re:I've said it a million times before... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891531)

Well said!

--
exp(pi*sqrt(164))

Re:I've said it a million times before... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891643)

Changing your legal name is not out of the question either, of course.

Here is what you do (5, Informative)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891285)

Set up your own blog on a domain using some part of your full name. Write a dozen posts or so about your professional/personal life using keywords like your name that your employer would search for. Then do some link building with your name as the anchor text. Unless your name is a particularly competitive search term (guessing it isn't) this should bring you up pretty high in Google and most major search engines.

just forget it (1)

localoptimum (993261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891287)

Don't spend any time worrying about it. It won't change a thing, and if a potential employer accuses you of being a paedophile based on a google search, you do NOT wanna be working for them :P

illini1022 for city council! (4, Funny)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891307)

Nothing will bury search results like filing to run for office.

(Nothing will dig up your dirty laundry as fast, either.)

Let me guess (0, Troll)

One Brave Prune (1470115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891313)

You also happened to be in the military...

the rule of assassins and famous killers (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891321)

Now you know why notorious killers and assassins are always referred to by their full names. Lee Michael Oswald can flatly deny having anything to do with assassinating Kennedy. John Wayne can point out his last name isn't Gacy and he never owned a clown costume. I guess when it isn't a matter of national notoriety, middle names get dropped.

I suppose you could always introduce yourself as such: "Hello, I'm John Doe. No, not the pedophile, though I get that a lot." Somehow I imagine you saying that with "Hi, I'm a PC's" voice.

Of course, you could always try making yourself more infamous so that you'll be the one everyone thinks of when they hear your name. Then the other guy will say "No, I'm John Doe the pedophile. Please don't confuse me with the other guy. I have my standards."

Michael Bolton (2, Insightful)

Viking Coder (102287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891327)

From Office Space: Why should I change my name?! He's the one that sucks!

But seriously...

Add a middle initial: "J."

Rocket J. Squirrel
Bullwinkle J. Moose
Michael J. Fox
Homer J. Simpson

Whacking (1)

SmellyTheDwarf (1473345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891381)

You could have the pedophile "whacked". The story would probably be on the news and trump all other google searches. Then you're home free. The new employers will go "Oh...that pedophile guy is toast. This can't possibly be the same guy...can it?" and call you for an interview. Your new mob ties may come in handy as well.

Re:Whacking - careful when soliciting bids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891659)

When selecting and interviewing a hit man, make sure you're speaking with the genuine article. Unscrupulous members of law enforcement have been known to impersonate hit men. This can often end badly.

Ask to see their hit men's union card!

Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891397)

Start your cover letter with the words "I am not a pedophile."

That should do it.

background checks (2, Interesting)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891455)

At least one commercial background checker uses a herd of part time hires, who are evaluated primarily on volume. The incentive is wrong for evaluating exceptional cases like yours, so I wouldn't trust that were I in your shoes.

As another poster pointed out, that's a good excuse to call HR.

step 1: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891537)

stop having sex with little boys.

Usenet character assasination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891563)

Here is a related problem. A sociopath has repeatedly posted anonymous articles on usenet claiming I am a child pornographer. I have a relatively uncommon name. A Google web search on my name turns up these articles as the top results.

Hours of time wasted arguing with the Google help desk have been of no help whatsoever. At one point, the help desk drones had me painstakingly document each and every instance of defamation, along with swearing in each case that the statements I was making were true. Finally, after doing all this work and thinking I was making progress, the drones looped back to the "We're sorry, there's nothing we can do..." nonsense.

Google claims 1) Under the terms of the Communications Decency Act, they "can't" help me (not true); 2) I should contact the "third party" content host and ask him to take the postings down (Google is the content host).

The community at large seems to feel that any leverage a person in my situation might have on Google would somehow send internet "freedom" down the toilet. But this is a clear and simple case of defamation, and, frankly, it sucks. Google sucks, actually, and so does the community for tolerating such abuse...

Let me guess... (1)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891589)

Is that you Christian Bale?

Legally change your name (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891611)

Preferably to "John Smith" or something equally difficult to google.

Breach of Breakfast (1)

QuincyDurant (943157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891637)

Wait for someone to discriminate against you on that basis and sue for libel, slander, and breach of breakfast.

it's easy . . . (1)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891639)

Join a lot of forums and your profile will be listed before that blog post. Also join social networks like LinkedIn/FaceBook and make your profile available publicly, you're all set. In a month or two no one will remember the pedophile.

Disambiguation section for your resume (1)

ender8282 (1233032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891641)

Add a section to your resume that covers your internet presence. Look at the disambiguation section of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:AndrewDressel [wikipedia.org] for an example. Note: I am not Andrew Dressel.

Well I'll tell you what.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26891647)

I'm sure there are plenty of usenet trolls that are willing to help you out.

Where is your name??? (1)

janeuner (815461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891663)

You should have put your name in the description. Instead of hitting the pedophile, it would have hit this story, which is a far better option.

I'm not a gay porn actor (2, Insightful)

Scorpinox (479613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891715)

I have a similar problem, a google search for my name reveals over 40,000 hits to a gay porn actor. Seriously. My issue is that I simply can't build any reputation as a good blog writer, website designer, etc. because anything to do with my name is buried under gay porn. So far I've been using a pseudonym, but it's hard to get taken seriously doing that.

SEO (1)

mwolfe38 (1286498) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891723)

This is probably overboard, but if you build a personal website with your name in the title (but keep your titles different on each page, just make sure your name is there). Then get some backlinks, Put in a pdf with your resume, your interests, whatever. Of course that takes time, especially if you haven't built a website before.. I'd recommend use a CMS like drupal [drupal.org] with the Page Title [drupal.org] module. SEO really isn't that difficult when there isn't much competition.. Also you can get hosting for as low as like $4 a month and a domain name is only $10 a year..

Searching Google... (1)

Rgb465 (325668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891781)

Searching Google I find that, apparently, I was a porn star in the late 70's. I hope this doesn't hurt my chances of getting hired somewhere.

Play it up (5, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26891787)

In the interview, just mention that there happens to be a child molester out there with the same name as you, but that it's definitely not you. After that, say something like this, "I certainly haven't been discovered, yet, but if I don't get this job, I know a certain someone's kids who just might get molested! Hahahaha." The humor will set the interviewer at ease, while at the same time making him think, "Hmmm, this SOB might actually molest my kids."

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