While not common, recently a member of GeneaBloggers realized that their blog name had been used by a new blogger when creating a blog. Usually this happens when there is a fairly common name in use. But there are times when someone is simply trying to work off of the reputation you’ve worked long and hard to build as a blogger.
Why Worry About Another Blog With The Same Name?
One aspect of the genealogy blogging community that I cherish is the lack of competition. What I mean is that many bloggers understand there is room for many at the table: we all have the same goal of telling our family histories, educating others on sound genealogical research principals, etc. And some of us who are on the speaking and writing circuit or who sell genealogy-related products leverage our blogs as part of our marketing efforts.
When it comes down to it, as a blogger not only do you put yourself out there each and every time you post, but you are building an on-line reputation and a brand. In fact, some bloggers actually create a brand by using a psuedonym rather than their real name. You have every right to protect and safe-guard your reputation and your brand.
Just as I’ve mentioned the need to make certain the text of your posts are not mis-appropriated by others (see Blog Content Theft – How To Deal With Slogs), so too is it necessary to watch out for “imposters” whether their actions are wilfull or not.
New Blogger Due Dilligence
With over 600 genealogy blogs listed here at GeneaBloggers there are some similar blog names but no duplicates or names that might cause confusion. To avoid confusing readers and to ensure the good will of your blogging colleagues, as a new blogger you should take the following steps when choosing a name for your blog:
- Check Your Blog Name. Use the blog roll at GeneaBloggers or the Genealogy Blog Finder maintained by The Genealogue and see if the blog name is already in use. Also do a search using Google Blog Search.
- Check Domain Names. Use a service such as Whois.net to check and see if your blog name is already in use as a domain name. While technically you could still create a blog with that name, you might want to select a different one to avoid confusion.
Ways To Protect Your Blog Name
- Register Your Domain Name. Consider regsitering your blog’s name as a domain name. You can then either redirect the domain name to your blog or even use the domain name for your blog. Even if you don’t use it, the minimal yearly fee is worth preventing some other person from reserving the name. See What’s the Difference Between a Domain Name and a Hosting Plan? for tips on registering your domain name.
- Use Google Alerts. You should be monitoring the use of your blog name using Google Alerts. This way you will receive an e-mail each time the name is used on a website, blog post, in groups, etc. and you can monitor how your name is being used.
- Check Accounts. There have been several stories of imposter accounts set up at Twitter and other sites. One way to check and see if your preferred account name is taken is to use a site like User Name Check. Even though you may never use Twitter or some of the other services, it might be better to reserve the name by setting up an account now rather than later.
What To Do If Someone Starts Using Your Blog Name
A friendly, non-confrontational e-mail is probably the best solution. Let the person know that you’ve been using the name since a certain date and that you’d like to avoid confusion between your blog and theirs. If an e-mail address is not available, see if you can leave a comment on a recent post and ask them to contact you via e-mail.
In a case where the person appropriating your name is doing so wilfully, the strategy will be similar to dealing with a splog but a bit more difficult. Unless you’ve trademarked your brand name or registered the domain name, it may not be easy to get the other person to abandon their blog or website name.
© 2009, coyright Thomas MacEntee