Marketing Monster

Helping you understand the digital world.

Marketing Monster header image 1

5 Name Search Tools for Social Networks

April 24th, 2012 · Branding, Business, Career, Social network, Technology

What’s in a name?

When dealing with the online world, your name is everything. Having a unique name for your product, service or yourself will help you to be found easily in search engines and on social networks.

I was surprised last January, when on Friday the 13th, I was followed on Twitter by someone with the same name as my sister. It being not all that uncommon a name, there was some momentary confusion on my part that ended with a great DM chat and a new friend made.

Things got even stranger that Friday the 13th when I was followed by “Adele McAlear.” What!?!

My last name has an unusual spelling, the result of a spelling error by immigration officials in the 1840′s when an ancestor from Ireland named McAleer came ashore. My first name is also not common (that is until that other Adele started sweeping Grammy awards, netting me a slew of followers on Twitter who are clearly chasing the wrong Adele.)

Only once before in my life had I encountered another person with my name: A woman with the first name Adele who married a distant cousin, lived in a town a few hours away, and had a low profile online. When I first discovered her 10-years-ago, the concept of another person having my name was so bizarre to me that I briefly thought I was a victim of identity theft.

The Adele McAlear (@Adeley90) who followed me on Twitter back on that odd Friday the 13th, lives in Glasgow and was given this name at birth 20-odd years ago. She is friendly and doesn’t appear to have a large digital footprint. What’s more important, from a search point of view, she is not in the same line of work.

But what do you do when you are neck and neck in Google results with someone who has the same name and they are in a similar business? Well, if you’re my buddy Mark Goren, you discover that the other Mark Goren and you have so many uncanny similarities that you befriend them and work together.

5 Name Search Tools for Social Networks

What if you are launching a new startup or business service? Clearly, you’ll be checking trademarks in the US and Canada. But, almost more importantly, you’ll be checking for domain names. So many domain names are taken that  companies turn to alternate spellings of common words, made up words, and unusual TLDs, like .ly (Libya). One of my favourite tools for alternate domain name suggestions is the search tool, which not only gives alternate spellings, but pairs your chosen words with others that you many not have considered.

When looking to find where else your name may be online, and in particular on social networks, try these tools. searches 159 of the most popular social sites. They also have an iPhone app. A test run on my own name showed about a 20% error rate. Free. searches 590 social sites, 150 domain name registries and the USPTO registry. Thy  have a USPTO search app for Android and an automated service to secure your name and add your profile on up to 300 social networks. Paid and free levels. is heavily supported by advertising. The ability to search by country, province/state makes narrowing your search for common names a bit more effective. It plugs into other services offering public records and background checks, phone book, email addresses, LinkedIn profiles, photo albums, online documents and other tidbits. I found lots of obscure references to my name here with many yielding false and incorrect results. Paid and free levels. searches social, blogs, dating, photo, music, video, review and shopping sites. You can also reverse email search and reverse phone search. I remember seeing this service back in 2007 and how uncomfortable it made me feel then. Although it has many of the elements that other online name search sites does, the inclusion of dating, review and shopping sites makes it a little too much like personal stalking for my comfort level. Paid service. is a simple, uncluttered search engine that does not use a recommendation algorithm when serving results. When you search on Google or Bing, your previous searching history is used to determine which results should be served to you. This ends up (un)naturally skewing any searches you make with information that Google or Bing thinks you might want, not necessarily what you should see. DuckDuckGo does not track or bubble what you search for, which yielded me some very interesting results that I’d not seen previously. Free.

So, when you are looking to secure a new name for a business or service, or are doing vanity searches for your own monitoring and reputation management, what tools do you use?

Thanks to Twitter friends for their contributions: @MassimoFarina, @LBT, @jimmyrey, @anthonymarco, @ChicagoLeah , @SylviaTan, @Pakoken, @duanebrown, @prsarahevans, @lachances.

→ 7 CommentsTags: ·······

Social Media for Dentists

March 29th, 2012 · Business, Social Media

Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the Nation’s Capital Dental Meeting in Washington, DC for the second year. This conference brings together dental practitioners from Washington, northern Virgina and Maryland for professional development. Although most of the sessions were geared towards the hands-on aspects of dentistry, there was a lot of interest in how to use social media to attract new patients and to manage their reputations.

It’s clear that there are plenty of dentists just taking their first steps in the digital space and evaluating where to start in social media. I was impressed by how much some were doing, including one attendee who is actively using boards in Pinterest in addition to other social networks and blogging.

Overwhelmingly, there is a concern about reputation management, particularly when negative reviews are found on sites like Yelp and Google Places, as well as on review sites that can only be viewed behind a pay wall.

And, like many small businesses, they are struggling with how to manage it all, particularly when marketing is not their chosen area of expertise. My advice to the attendees, and any small business, is to start small and with a plan. Before you start think about these 5 Ws:

  • what you are trying to accomplish,
  • why are you different,
  • who you are trying to reach,
  • when is the best time to reach them, and
  • where should you reach them

Establish these things before jumping into Facebook, Twitter or any other social media tools. Start slowly, choose one channel, and experiment while learning the ropes. Only roll out other channels when you know that you have the time to keep up with them.

Here’s my presentation from today’s session. (It was 3 hours long, so be forewarned.) It should be useful for any small or medium-sized business wading into the social space, or for those looking to ramp up their efforts a notch.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

→ No CommentsTags: ·····

A Tale of Two Cities: A Personal Update

March 27th, 2012 · Career, Personal

(…with clichéd road sign graphics.)

Au revoir Montréal, Hello Toronto

It became apparent very early this year that I would be moving to Toronto. Looking for my next job was a numbers game: The amount of available jobs for someone at my career level was three-times more in Toronto than in Montreal.

For me, the pool of opportunities in Montreal shrinks even more when factoring in my French-as-a-second-language proficiency. Any gig I take in Montreal would have to be focused on English-language markets, and those are in short supply.

From the moment my last blog post went live, I was in the exceedingly fortunate position of fielding calls from people interested in exploring opportunities. They were all in Toronto and they were diverse, challenging and incredibly interesting.

Over the past 10 weeks, one company emerged as the best fit for me; A fabulous digital agency with an international presence, high-profile clients, and an incredibly talented team at the helm. I was particularly eager to work alongside the amiable and down-to-earth executive leading up the strategy and social side.

On Monday morning of last week, we discussed the offer and everything was agreeable. I had my start date and was waiting to sign off on the formal offer which would be in hand by the end of the week. Preparations to move were under way. I made calls to the Toronto school board, sent emails about rental properties, and started cleaning out cupboards.

My husband was completely on board about moving and was really excited about starting a new chapter in our lives. We were just waiting on the signed offer before telling our 7 year-old daughter the news that would change her life.

Putting on the Brakes

Then, on Monday night, out of the blue, my husband was offered a new job based in Montreal. Not just any job, but one that would turbo-boost his career. He’d be taking on some cutting edge technology in a rare environment. It would be a learning and growth opportunity that he would not find again. In the long-term, this job would elevate him to another level entirely.

For 48-hours we hashed out our options, asking the what-ifs, the whys, and the what-abouts. In both cases, one of us would have to find work while the other would bear the responsibility of success. We looked at best-case scenarios and worst-case catastrophes. On most things, the two offerings were about equal.

Neither of us wanted the other to miss out and we were each pushing the other not to turn down their option. We were not approaching our decision selfishly. After 20-years together, we know that supporting the other person is key to our success as a couple.

Bonjour encore, Montréal

In the end, we decided to stay in Montreal. It was the fact that I have more diverse career options that are not entirely dependent on my physical location that swung the decision.

Last Thursday, I declined the very generous agency offer in Toronto. I am an independent and career-driven woman, so turning this down was an extremely difficult thing for me to do – made even more so when they were so understanding and supportive of our predicament. I hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to work with them and thank them for choosing me for such an incredible role. I wish them well in all their plans.

My husband has already started his new job and it is exceeding his expectations. It’s wonderful to see his future unfolding in such great ways.


Now that I know I’m staying in Montreal, it’s time to take stock of my assets and reboot my direction. Some things that I know I love:

  • marketing, strategy, social media, technology
  • speaking, writing, educating
  • startups
  • digital legacy

Interestingly, over the past week during this U-turn period, I’ve had three media interview requests for digital legacy, have mentored startups in the current FounderFuel cohort, received two inquiries from companies wanting to explore opportunities to work together, and two speaking inquiries.

The adage about one door closing and another opening appears to be true for me right now, and I’m grateful and humbled by my good fortune.

In the coming weeks I’ll be defining my direction and coming up with a plan. If you have an opportunity you think might be of interest, I’d love to hear from you.
Twitter: @AdeleMcAlear

Thanks to all of my family, friends and colleagues who have been so supportive of me now, and in the past. Stay tuned.

Obvious sign

→ 14 CommentsTags: ·····

What’s Next on My Horizon?

January 11th, 2012 · Career, Personal

That’s the question I asked myself last night after I got the news that my position as Director of Operations for Measurement and Analytics at Edelman had been eliminated.

In the 5-months that I spent at Edelman Digital in Montreal, I learned a lot.

Measurement and Analytics are a must-have knowledge set. Just as in 1999 I pursued learning HTML because I thought it would be an essential skill for marketers and my career (and it has been), I believe that having measurement and analytics chops are mandatory to truly bring value to any company’s strategic decision-making. I will definitely continue to educate myself in this area, and encourage anyone who’s responsible for driving results to do so as well.

Corporations can be progressive. My return to the corporate world was long in coming, though in this case, brief. For being so large, Edelman is surprisingly agile in responding to the market and opportunities. This, I’m sure, accounts in large part for its incredible success. Some of the corporations I’ve worked for in my career sure could have learned a thing or two from Edelman’s approach.

Push yourself beyond your limits. When I left consulting to join Edelman Digital, I did so to go further in my career. I chose to narrow my focus to a small segment of my abilities in order to rise to other challenges, stretch and grow. It was a great way to learn new things about myself and to reaffirm some other things that perhaps I’d lost along the way.

Be grateful. I am truly grateful for my experience at Edelman. I am thankful for my successes, but more so for any missteps that I had while learning the ropes. Again, these were opportunities to learn so that I will grow and improve for the next time. I’m also grateful to have worked with so many amazing measurement and analytics pros, PR practitioners, web developers and senior management who impressed me with their dedication and talent.

What’s next for me? I’m looking for my next move. I want to use my talents in a more comprehensive way and integrate my experience – 5-years in social media with many more in marketing and communications.  I want to expand on my achievements in brand-building and strategic development, while continuing to stay at the front of the technology wave. I like trailblazers and organizations, big or small, seeking to make a difference. I want to do work that matters.

If you know of something that might fit the bill, please get in contact:


In the meantime, it looks like I’ll finally have time to get back to blogging ;)

→ 9 CommentsTags: ·

I’ve Joined Edelman Digital

August 1st, 2011 · Uncategorized

Today I’m excited to announce that I have joined Edelman Digital as the Director of Operations for Measurement and Analytics in their Montréal office.

I am heading up the great team in Montréal that specializes in providing social insights and measurement and I will be liaising with other Edelman offices to provide clients with analysis and insights that will help guide their business decisions. I’m happy to be joining the company that is home to my colleagues in social media – David Armano, Steve Rubel, Dave Fleet, Rob Clark, Zena Weist, David Almacy – and so many more bright people that I’ll be getting to know in the coming months.

But What About…?

With this announcement, I will be retiring my consulting practice. I want to thank my clients and partners for making the last 4 years so fulfilling. Thank you for your confidence and for entrusting your marketing and social media to me. I’ve learned so much from you.

A special thank you goes to A.C. Riley and Mark Goren for your unwavering support and for always putting a smile on my face, no matter how tough a day I’ve had. I’m privileged to have worked with you both and to count you amongst my dearest friends.

Of course, I am grateful to my family who took the brunt of my crazy hours (remember when I was working on an Australian clock for 10 days while still juggling day-to-day, or the all-nighters on deadline? #goodtimes) and the waves of unpredictability that go along with striking out on one’s own. I could not have survived and thrived these last 4-years without your love and support, and I thank you for always being there for me.

Thanks also to my friends and all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way who sent me leads, had me speak at their event, and gave me a leg up when I needed it. I do my very best every day to pay your kindness forward.

This blog will continue, though with an expected change in focus and updated look (like I haven’t got enough on my plate ;) ).

My research and speaking on Death and Digital Legacy will go on a bit of a break until I get my feet under me at my new gig. I’ll get back to it as time allows. In the meantime, if you’re interested in the topic, please be sure to follow my buddies Evan Carroll and John Romano over at The Digital Beyond.

I will also continue to stay as active as I can in the social media and tech scene here in Montréal and elsewhere, including being a mentor at startup incubator FounderFuel.


Some people might wonder why I’m giving up the freedom of my own business. My answer is simple. As my friend Shel Israel wrote a few months ago, it’s time. For me, the writing has been on the wall for the last year and my feelings about the future of social media consulting were confirmed in conversations with at least a dozen of my contemporaries at SXSW last March.

I need a new challenge and I am ready to dig into a niche. It’s exhausting work to be a generalist in social media because the pace of change makes it extremely difficult to stay on top of every aspect. In my new role at Edelman Digital, I’ll be happily diving into monitoring and measurement, while swimming in analytics and influence. I’ll be unfettered by the need to know the latest Twitter management app or Facebook custom page tool. Sure, I’ll be interested, but it won’t be essential for me to know. Narrowing my focus will help to alleviate the inevitable social media burnout.

And, the great thing about joining a company vs. being a lone consultant is that I get to work with a team of smart people who are just as passionate about this space as I am. It’s lonely out there on your own. I’m looking forward to doing my best work because of the collaborative process that teamwork brings.

So, here’s to new horizons and the next phase of my career!

→ 28 CommentsTags: