Is this the author of the Aspen Moore Novels?
A few weeks ago my twitter handle was @authorkelly. I decided it didn’t say enough about me as there are probably hundreds of authors with either the first or last name of Kelly. What I needed was to reference Cochran. My problem was the handles, @Cochran and @KellyCochran, were already taken. I thought about changing it to at @Kelly_Cochran but that too was taken. I toyed with the idea of changing it to @KellyCochran_, which was available; however I was worried people might inadvertently leave off the ”_” behind my name. In the end, I decided to change my twitter handle to @KellyLCochran even though I don’t use my middle initial in my author name. It all seemed great to me until fellow author Kaye George searched for my website using “Kelly L Cochran” and informed me that the first site shown was a mugshot site and it contained a photograph of the woman below, Kelly L. Cochran, along with multiple felony charges, including possession of cocaine and grand theft auto. (**original post contained actual mug shot of public record – see bottom of post to find out why I replaced image).
To make matters worse, no reference to me – Kelly Cochran the author – showed up in the search results until page 16. That result happened to be my author page on GoodReads.com. In fact, my own website, KellyCochran.com never showed up in the search results. Although normally it might not seem like a big deal, this Kelly L. Cochran happened to live in Florida, a state where I have lived and reference in my author biography. It made me wonder if perhaps people might think I’m writing about crime from firsthand experience!
What was I going to do? I could change my twitter handle again, leave it as is and not worry about it, or I could see if the domain name for Kelly L Cochran was still available. I chose option three. I purchased not only KellyLCochran.com, but KLCochran.com as well, in case sometime in the future I decide to write books using my first initials instead of my name. Although these two domains are currently parked, in the near future I’ll be posting a page to those domains with information about me and a link to my KellyCochran.com website and series website, AspenMoore.com. We will see how effective this is after the next time Google crawls the Internet and updates the result positions.
Do you already have your author domain name? If not, you should. Don’t chance losing your domain name or any derivatives to save a few dollars a year. Registering your domain name and parking it cost less than one dollar a month. If your domain name is already taken, you’ll have to get a little bit creative. You can check to see if a .net or .org domain is still available. Although these extensions were originally designed for network providers (.net) and non-profit organizations (.org), those lines have now been blurred. Another option is to add the word author before your name, or the word novels to the end of your name. Just know, the longer you wait to register your domain, the more likely it is to have been registered by someone else.
If you already have your author domain name, you may want to take a few minutes and search on the variations of your name to see what pops up. If you find your name associated with a convicted killer, a prostitute ring, or any other nefarious activities, you just might want to think about adding the other domain names to your inventory.
It is easy to conduct a search to see if your domain name is available, you can simply go to a site like namecheap.com or godaddy.com and do a search for your name to see if it is already taken.
What happened to the Kelly L Cochran that is not the author of Aspen Moore Novels? I did a quick search and it looks like she was convicted on the cocaine charges and given probation. I hope she is now on a better path and living a happy life.
**In continuing to research the standing of my own name and images in Internet search engines, I came across Kelly L Cochran’s mug shot when I searched on “Kelly Cochran Buying Time”. I truly do hope the other Kelly L Cochran has turned her life around and even though her mug shot is public record and shows up if you search on “Kelly L Cochran”, I decided it was best if I didn’t add to the obstacles she might face in cleaning up her image on the Internet.