Unluckily, there’s a mass murderer who has exactly the same name as me. Like, the same middle name and everything. I’d tolerated this fact for a long time, but last year, I took the decision to tweak my name and start calling myself ‘Martin SFP Bryant’ professionally.

When I was an employee, it was less of a problem. But when I struck out on my own, I need to be Google-able in my own right. Having the first page of search results filled with the other guy is a bit of a problem, as you can imagine. Even if no-one confuses him with me, it’s not a great first impression.

A few years ago, I made music as ‘The Star Fighter Pilot,’ and as a result, I used ‘MartinSFP’ as my Twitter user name when I signed up there. Given ‘MartinSFP’ already pointed to me online, it made sense to retrospectively work that handle into my professional name.

I changed my name everywhere I could: Twitter, LinkedIn, this website, relevant profiles around the web… I even asked TV and radio producers to refer to me on air with my tweaked name when I was asked to comment on news stories. Given the circumstances, they usually said yes.

BAM! It worked. I changed my professional name just enough to make a difference, and the other guy haunts my search results a lot less as a result.

If you’d like to read more, The Atlantic wrote about my search engine woes last year.

3 Comments

  • Totally sympathise with this Martin.

    When you google my name, you get loads of news stories about a completely different Richard Frost. In 2018, he was jailed for 12 years for causing death by dangerous driving during an 18-hour cocaine binge!

    Not quite as infamous as Martin John Bryant, admittedly, but I do worry people might confuse the two of us online.

    Maybe I need to start calling myself Richard SFP Frost…

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