Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Tom Parnell Google Wars

Oh no you don't.

Yes, Tom Parnell, Intellectual Hooligan. The Real Tom Parnell. That's me.

(And, with an almighty and resounding pffft, the shrunken and flabby remainder of my online anonymity flaps around the room before collapsing, shriveled, to the ground like a burst balloon.)

... And the Tom Parnell Google Wars begin.

You see, a name like mine (Tom Parnell – got that?) is just about uncommon enough to be googlable. For those John Smiths and Jane Joneses amongst you, this is an unfamiliar sensation: you (and everyone else) realises that googling your name is not likely to return results that pertain to you.

At the other end of the spectrum, you Xavier Mountjoys and Barnabus Bantamwrestlers will rest sure in the knowledge that Google is yours and yours alone. No interlopers, pretenders or usurpers.

But spare a thought for the Tom Parnells.

(Or, in fact, specifically for this Tom Parnell.)

Tom Parnell is the kind of name you might expect to slot into Google and be met with a jackpot of relevant results. You might not be on your guard against faux-amis amongst the Tom Parnells that fill your screen.

ESPECIALLY if one of those Tom Parnells happened to be about the right age, in the right country, working in about the right industry and featured in about the right kind of newspaper.

In that situation, surely, you'd think: 'This is the Tom Parnell I'm lookin' for.'

Which is a pity. Because here is Google's number 7 result for the search 'tom parnell':

Blind date: Ursala Roy meets Tom Parnell
Ursula Roy, 28, outreach officer meets Tom Parnell, 28, web editor.

As if that weren't bad enough, click through and read the whole degrading article, why don't you? No photograph to disabuse the reader and (calamity indeed) a humiliating mismatch in 'ratings' very much to Tom Parnell's disadvantage.

So not only is this bastard bringing shame upon the Tom Parnell name by indulging in public, newspaper-publicised blind-dating; he's also GODDAMN RUBBISH AT IT.

Damn him!

As if it weren't bad enough that Thomas Parnell was a depressingly mediocre 17th-18th century poet. (Any poem that includes the phrase 'pants in your heart' is surely fit for a kicking.)

In conclusion and summary:

Tom Parnells of the world, would you please buck up your ideas? If you're going to do something, at least do it well. And preferably, even if you do, KEEP IT OFF GOOGLE.

How You Can Help

How would you feel (damn it) if people were potentially mistaking you for a scruffy, spark-free Guardian blind dater and 'insane babbler' every time they googled you? SPARE A THOUGHT.

You really can help me on this one. All you have to do? If you have a website or blog – however small, however infrequently frequented, link to this post. Link to it with link text 'tom parnell'.

Tell Google who's the Real Tom Parnell. For me.



Anonymous said...

haha very well written and funny, enjoyed it!
my name (which i'll keep to myself), is a fantastic google name, everyone who shares it is doing us proud. Hope the other tom parnells sort themselves out soon

Billicatons said...

Thank you, sir, thank you.

Congratulations on being in such good nominal company. I must admit that there seem to be a few Tom Parnells out there who aren't entirely tarnishing the brand ... But too many high-ranking miscreants, still.

louise said...

Hey that's me in that picture up there with my best friend tom parnell!

I think he's representing the brand well overall. He's never done guardian dating. He's just a super cool bro and soon to become Dr Parnell, therefore elevating himself into a whole new google search bracket. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Billicatons said...

My kindest regards, Louise, to your illustrious sibling, the good Dr Parnell. He is obviously no brand-tarnisher: we need more like him.

Thanks for dropping by...

Anonymous said...

Duh if you're that bothered about the Guardian article why are you linking to it (thereby improving its rankings in Google)?

Billicatons said...

Maybe it's because I'm actually not really that bothered?

It's a possibility we should at least consider, eh?

Anyhow, thanks for sharing your scything insight.

Tom Parnell said...

As the Tom Parnell in question from said Guardian dating blog I would like to say the following:

1) Surely people with the same name should stick together. I can't say I much care for the poetry of our namesake, but at least he made something of himself and other people seem to like it. What have we done to deserve our place in history?

2) The dating article was a disaster through and through, which I only agreed to as a favour to a friend who works on the Guardian. I met the girl, we didn't get on at all (personally I would give her a 5), but we agreed that as this was going in a public forum we would both give each other 8s so that we would at least come across well to others. She later reneged on this, which I think tells you more about what kind of person she is.

3) You don't appear to be adding anything to the value of the name Tom Parnell. As far as I can see from your writings you are neither intellectual or a hooligan, you have merely chosen a pretentious epithet and set out to gain notoriety by degrading others.

I find it a real shame that you have chosen to SEO this post to make it the top of Google results for our name, and I am aware that my adding comments will only strengthen its position there but really I am not going to enter into such a meaningless online game. I just thought it at least fair to add my side of the argument if this inane post is going to stay live.

Best of luck with the future, I hope achieve whatever it is you feel you need to achieve within the small field of people named Tom Parnell.

Tom Parnell said...

Hi Tom …

'Meaningless online game' — you've got it exactly right, just there. That's how I see it too, and I certainly have no other agenda with SEOing this post (which I did in the most half-arsed and inexpert way imaginable, without — if you can believe it — any expectation of success).

Anyhow, I stand by my point, which is that people who knew me and read that Guardian article would quite possibly think it was about me. And I didn't massively want them thinking that.

(Actually, I really don't care all that much. It just gave me an idea for a mock-dismayed blog post.)

But, yes, I do feel guilty about calling you out: sorry. It appears you were brought low by treacherous guile. Your date was clearly an unprincipled manipulatrice.

I should close by admitting that my main motivation in this whole blog is actually (implicitly) to take the piss out of myself. As the kind of person who'd actually bother to write a crap and trafficless blog about this stuff. That's a niche I like to think I fill with aplomb — though, you're right: it's far from adding value to anything much.

Best of luck to you, too, and apologies.

Anonymous said...

how appropriate that you two made up on Valentines Day.

Tom Parnell said...


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