What’s In A Name?

This weekend, I read a blog post by our own Todd Bailey in which he discusses Scott Van Nuzer’s recent photo opportunity with President Obama at his pizzeria in Florida.  After reading Todd’s blog (and subsequently, watching the the video which accompanied the post), I decided to research the topic a bit further and surprisingly found that according to Google’s suggested search… Scott Van Nuzer doesn’t exist.

Where in the World is Scott Van Nuzer?
Google Instant, a feature that was designed to supplement suggested search, (A.K.A. autocomplete) has been around for a while now and has actually proven to be fairly accurate and effective at predicting queries as users enter them.  However, the term “Scott Van Nuzer” offered no Google Instant results.  Instead, the search engine recommended the term “Scott Van Duzer”, which yielded a plethora of relevant results from legitimate, authoritative sites including news outlets and popular blogs.

Digging a bit deeper, I found that “Scott Van Nuzer” also provides results from sources such as ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo! and New York Magazine.  The pages and articles found within the SERPs for both terms are clearly referring to the same individual, but obviously, only one name can be correct.

Van Nuzer vs. Van Duzer
As far as Google is concerned; the pizzeria owner question is in fact Scott Van Duzer, although many other sites refer to him differently.  The nomenclatural nightmare seems to stem from his restaurant’s Yelp profile.  In various comments that appeared on the page following the “bearhug” incident, several commenters referred to the Big Apple Pizza owner as “Van Nuzer” and many news and media outlets followed suit.  Google’s algorithm was able to sort out the confusion in the SERPs, but other small businesses may not be so lucky.

The Butterfly Effect
A simple grammatical error could have significantly affected Scott Van Duzer and his business’ online visibility following a publicity stunt which should have actually helped his brand gain awareness on the Web.  Such issues validate the usefulness of digital brand management and should serve as a reminder to business owners that it is absolutely critical to carefully monitor their company’s presence online.

Virtually every company can benefit from incorporating brand management techniques into their marketing initiatives; online and offline.  If Scott Van Duzer’s story has taught business owners anything, it should be the importance of both their name and brand and how these terms are being presented throughout the Web.

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