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Stop, thief… that’s MY nickname!

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I don’t contribute to the SEO forums like I should. I’m obsessed with the posts, but I don’t tend to comment because of time restraints. When I do post, my nickname is “billse”. I used to go by “billthemountain”, a play on my favorite Frank Zappa song.

Like any super-nerd, I Google myself. I even Google my nick names. To my utter shock (well, not really ‘shock’), I discovered another “billthemountain” posting around. To make the story more funky, he’s was active in the SEO forums I would frequent. From the posts it sounds like he’s more of a web designer looking for some optimization tips, a little bit of a beginner, and more polite than me!

Now, I don’t think he’s an impostor. This isn’t identity theft. I think it’s all fun, playful innocence. I’ve always known I wasn’t the only one using the nick – I tried to sign up for several things with it, only to be told ‘sorry – this account name is taken’. That’s part of the reason I quickly bailed on it.

But in all candor, it does make me wonder about the signal of ‘reputation’. I don’t mean reputation management per se, but the emerging idea that a person’s reputation or a site’s reputation might heavily affect link equity. I think this makes sense – we know social computing is going to grow to skyscraper levels, and we know that engines are engaged in leveraging the new ‘personality’ these platforms provide. I think this is an arena ripe for improving universal search if algorithms could eventually reign it in.

Could SEO’s be tasked with reputation management for high-profile Facebook users in the future? It would be weird, but I wouldn’t discount it as a future tactic.