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It's not uncommon for more than one person to have the same name. What do you do if you don't approve of what the other person does?

I googled my name last week and found a porn star with my name that had a free video. Since I am the only one in the city I live in with my name, and since the porn star looks to be my age, and somewhat looks like me, have I been setup by someone who does not like me? How hard would that be to setup someone one to look like a porn star? Or is this purely a coincident? It is very annoying and I think I am going to legally change my name.

While I suppose that it's possible someone's setting you up (it would be pretty easy), I'm of the opinion that this is simply coincidence.

My question to you: is it really so horrible as to be worth the expense and hassle of changing your own name?

Let me explain why I ask that.

You're Unique ... Like Everyone Else

One would think that having a unique name would insulate you from this kind of situation. What's difficult for more people to grasp is that with over six billion people on the planet, it'd be more surprising if there weren't someone else who shared your first and last name.

"... rather than running away from who you aren't, make a statement of who you are."

Leo Notenboom seems pretty unique, right? Not so much: I know of at least one other - and that's just looking online where I pretty much dominate the search results. Who knows how many others there may be. (Though, admittedly, to the best of my knowledge none are in the porn industry.)

My concern is that unless you choose a completely bizarre new name you're just as likely to have the same name as someone else. Someone, perhaps, with an even worse reputation.

Like, perhaps, a politician.

And you'll have spent a lot of time and expense to do so.

Maintaining Your Identity

The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is rather than running away from who you aren't, make a statement of who you are. Use some kind of online presence to claim your name and who you are - even if it's just to say "I'm not a porn star".

In fact, I need to do the same, so let me give you this example:

My name is Leo Notenboom. I've noted my name appearing on a number of "MFA" (Made For AdSense) splogs (spam blogs) as a commenter making assorted claims and endorsements of various products. For the record, I do not and have not ever commented on or endorsed kitchen decor, weight loss, comedy movies, GPS tracking, saving your marriage, health care, "hot deals" sites or any of a whole host of random and unrelated topical sites. Further, I generally only comment on or endorse technology on my own site: http://ask-leo.com or sites whose domains are registered with the same information as ask-leo.com. Any instances of my name used in other contexts is very likely not me and more probably either someone attempting to use my name fraudulently as a false endorsement, or it's a different Leo Notenboom.

That situation is real and my position is clear.

No need to change my name. Rather, I claim my name.

Perhaps someday there will be a porn star with the same name - I'm not sure how I'll react, but I doubt I'll get particularly upset if that's all it is.

I'm fairly certain there won't be much confusion, though.

Article C4473 - September 29, 2010 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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8 Comments
John
October 5, 2010 11:18 AM

.... Someone, perhaps, with an even worse reputation.

Like, perhaps, a politician.

LOL

Somehow our society thinks being naked is a horrible thing while it is acceptable to lie and steal. Just generalizing here of course.

Darrel Riffle
October 5, 2010 2:21 PM

Someone once told me they saw pictures of some guy on the internet that was exposing himself naked-that looked just like me. But I have been told I look like Hank Williams Jr. too. Personally I dont care what others think, but if someone attached my name to that or tried to set me up, I think thats a form of harrassment and is against the law. Thats when you contact FBI

Nick
October 6, 2010 2:32 PM

I have the same problem. I am a successful porn star and there is some boring bloke out there with the same name as me!

Philbert
October 6, 2010 8:13 PM

If you want to get an idea of how common your name is, you can go to howmanyofme.com, which bases its results on the 1990 and 2000 censuses. For Leo Notenboom, it says there are 1 or fewer in the U.S. That's only an estimate, though, as names with few entries are not listed in the census for privacy reasons. The site doesn't say what the cutoff number is, but for one name I got a result of 4 that was not an estimate.

John
October 6, 2010 8:48 PM

... you can go to howmanyofme.com

You have just been phished and got your full name linked to your IP Address and sold to some data base somewhere.

Same goes for submitting your photo to turn it into a cartoon etc. Face recognition database phishing.

Bassam
October 10, 2010 7:01 AM

Hello
can I change my username in hotmail,
for examble I have username ****@hotmail.com
I want change this to ***.**@hotmail.com
please help me

No you cannot change it. You can only create a new account.
Leo
10-Oct-2010

Henk
October 10, 2010 1:28 PM

Hi Leo,
As you are of dutch origin you might try www.wieowie.nl and find some persons with 'your' name.
Or use http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/nfb/ to find the number of Notenboom's in the Netherlands (1235 in the year 2007).

michael
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