When Vanity Searches Go Wrong

As is increasingly common, I have a handful of “vanity searches” set up wherein results for those terms are sent to me via Google.  One of those terms is “Atlantic Council,” since I manage their Web presence and want to know as soon as possible what’s being said about us online.

Quite frequently, that particular search yields false positives, particularly because there are other Atlantic Councils other than the Atlantic Council of the United States and because of NATO’s North Atlantic Council.*  Few, however, match up to this one:

The good news is pouring in, said Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. Council leaders in Washington, DC, also just voted to recognize same-sex marriages

It refers to a story in The Week on Vermont legalizing gay marriage and the “Council leaders” refer to those of the DC City Council, not the Atlantic Council.  So far as I know, while most of my colleagues likely support the idea of legalizing gay marriage, we’re taking no official stance on the matter as an organization.  If we did, however, it would involve a transatlantic approach.

*I could probably tweak the algorithm to eliminate most of these but I don’t want to risk missing legitimate mentions.

Photo by Flickr user Will Lion, used under Creative Commons license.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Boyd says:

    If we did, however, it would involve a transatlantic approach.

    Hence Sullivan’s involvement.