Have you googled yourself recently? Have you googled the name of your business?
Some people reading will be thinking “well, of course I have!” and others may be more along the lines of “Hmm, no, I’ve never needed a reason to”. Well, your name is your brand whether you’re a small business, big business, or an individual person getting by in life
Something happened this week that was simply weird, and highlights why you need to Google yourself, today (right now. Seriously, why are you still reading this?)
Living in North London, I’d noticed a new BBQ style restaurant called Brisket by Finsbury Park and had been interested to try it out for some time. This week, I finally decided to go for it, so googled “Brisket finsbury park” to find the website. The top link came up as http://www.brisketbbqkitchen.co.uk/
Looks pretty basic but does the job. Social links for some reason only go to facebook.com/twitter.com rather than the actual social accounts (which do exist), but the Menu works, there’s opening times & maps and all information someone would need before visiting!
Great – The menu looked awesome but most importantly, their opening times suggested they were open on Thursday evening…!
On turning up to the restaurant, I was very surprised to find that it was closed. It had been closed all week (though there were people inside)! – I called the number from the website and got through to the manager inside who casually informed me that they are closed preparing for a new menu. I asked why they wouldn’t update their own website to say they were closed, and this is where things got super weird.
The manager informed me that they don’t have a website. Huh? What? Now that was a confusing thing to hear. I explained I was outside and had the website on my phone, so he came out and I showed him the site. He confirmed:
1) It is the right phone number
2) It is the right location and name
3) It was a fake logo
4) There was a fake email address
5) It wasn’t a website anyone involved in the restaurant has created
This is by far a very abnormal situation, but let’s take a look at how this might have happened
– Maybe the owner created this long before the current manager was hired, and then forgot about it?
– Maybe there is a scam going on… Someone sees a new restaurant, registers the domain and builds a basic website to build up traffic and increase SEO ranking, and then if the restaurant gets popular, blackmail them into paying or doing something nasty with the website if not..?
– Any other ideas? I guess I could have been lied to, but I have more faith than that!
Ok, so now lets get a bit more technical and do some digging. I’ve checked the contact details of the person who registered the domain and we see this:
This gets even stranger as while http://www.mtiwebdesign.co.uk/ is a real company (that registered the domain), the address is some random residential address and the name Adam Carter, is from the TV series Spooks. Creepy right?
What should Brisket do next? Well, they need to contact MTI Web Design, get the site shut down, and potential start a legal claim to get the domain back in order to be number 1 on Google. Alternatively, buying their own domain and building a good website, with good SEO, would have a similar effect.
People reading this may now still think that regularly googling their own name isn’t necessary, but seriously, the web is a big place – A lot happens on it, and there is a lot of history around your digital footprint. It’s becoming more and more common for employers to google staff names to see what type of digital world they live in, and if that brings up some nasty surprises you could find yourself out of a job!
In summary, make sure you start googling yourself! Pro tip: Use speech marks around your name and add some extra data such as location to get a more accurate result set. If you’re called “John Smith”, then you don’t have to worry too much, but searching for:
“John Smith” Leeds
Will narrow down the results but may bring up your Facebook profile if your location is public.
Happy Googling y’all!
Tweet me @thejsug !