I have a confession to make. I monitor the Internet for mentions of my name and reviews of my books. Google is fine. But I prefer Addictomatic because it pulls from a broader range of websites with a single click. At one time, I was indulging my new-author ego. Now, I wonder if search tools are essential for self-defense.
Yesterday, “Norb Vonnegut” registered a hit on a site I had never seen. So I took a look and, much to my surprise, learned that I had commented on a review of a “bestselling” fantasy novel. The author is a Princeton graduate, who now teaches at a major American university with a storied football program.
Apparently, I had commented on the review as follows:
No offense to the fantasy genre. I respect all authors—we work hard and put our feelings on the line every day. And we do it because there’s nothing more satisfying than telling a great story, which rewards readers for spending a few hours with us. But all that said, there’s no way in hell that I read her book.
(Hat tip to Prague, Oklahoma’s Kaitlin Nootbaar, who used the word “hell” in her graduation speech and is standing tall even though her high school won’t award her a diploma. But I digress.)
I won’t name the blog. I don’t want to send them the traffic. Or call them out if they have nothing to do with the theft of my name. I responded to the comment supposedly made by me, identified myself and my books, and wrote, “This is not cool.” But as of this post on Algonquin Redux, my response does not appear on the rogue blog.
Nor am I naming the author. She may have nothing to do with this fraud. I am suspicious, though, and would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Every single comment on the blog extolls the virtues of her book, which appears to be the best thing written since the bible. When does any author score 32 out of 32 positive comments?
One other point. To the best of my knowledge, there’s nobody else out there by the name of Norb Vonnegut. If there is, all I can say is, “Sorry for leaping to conclusions, cuz.”
Moral of the Story: When I was a stockbroker, I paid attention to reputation management and recently blogged about the topic on CNBC.com. According to Burke Files, a friend who specializes in these matters, it’s important to have a game plan ready for those times when the Internet spins your reputation out of control. I’m sad to say, I don’t have a plan.
Sure, this fake blurb may fall into the category of no harm, no foul. Life in the Internet lane, right? But I don’t like fake attribution, and I’m wondering how to handle the problem—especially because the blog has not released my comment: “This is not cool.”
Help! I’m not sure what do. Has anyone run into this problem?
Do you think I should send this link to the author in question with the hope that she’ll address the problem? Or is it better to identify the rogue blog?