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I'm considering a pen name to use, and I wanted to see if its firstlast.com domain is available, but it wasn't. So, I thought I could change the domain to something like firstlastwrites.com, authorfirstlast.com, or firstlastnovels.com, etc. which is available. But I'm concerned that someone who searches "First Last" would receive both sites in their search result, and mistakingly assume that the real First Last is also a writer.

Is it ok to have pen names that have name associations with real domains owned by others?

Notes

I recognize that I could pick a different pen name. But I kind of like the one I picked.

  • If you're that concerned, you could always make your domain name thefakefirstlast.com. ;) (I think you'd be better served, though, to investigate the legal implications.) I happen to know that somebody else has an email address that uses my own first and last names. I have no idea if their real name is the same as mine—but it doesn't bother me either way. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Mar 21 at 2:52
  • Monica's answer was quite good but we ask folks to please wait a full day or two before accepting an answer as best. That way you encourage more people to answer, which is of course what you want. You can always go back and accept her answer later on (or someone else's) and you'll still get those extra 2 points to help push you over to 1000. – Cyn says make Monica whole Mar 21 at 5:09
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Names are almost never globally unique. This is true whether the owner chooses or the owner's parents do. Author Alex Feinman even has a note on his web site (.net) saying "looking for the other one? that's .com" with a link. If you search Google or LinkedIn for a name, odds are good you'll find more than one person.

Use the name you've chosen, and try to provide enough information on your site to tell visitors which First Last you are. If you're concerned about confusion with the owner of the "obvious" domain (the one that was already taken), add a link like Alex did. Or rely on visitors to sort it out; yours will hardly be the first case of uncertain identity.

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    And, if you want to be really fancy, then contact the other First Last and suggest that you both link to each other. (Though in fairness, that will probably work better if you're both on approximately equal footing. A brand-new, perhaps even as of yet unpublished, author asking that of a well-established one might be seen as somewhat pretentious.) – a CVn Mar 21 at 9:36

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