Hiding in the search results

A friend just mentioned a band I’ve never heard of. After typing their name into a search engine and seeing the long list of famous songs and a couple of computer games with the same name that ranked higher, it hit me that this may be the new hip. Let search result camouflage a name so that only the initiated can find it. To stand out by anti-page-hits. One can never hide of course, but if one makes sure to only be found with some effort, and not as the top the search results, then that may be an indicator of status. An entrance test, a Turing test, to sort away those who act like robots. To find those who actively wants to find you. To be so niche that you have zero incoming links. That may be the only way to be genuine.

Then I remembered that William Gibson wrote about that kind of phenomena in his Blue-Ant trilogy. The broader trend takes many forms there, but the first things that comes to mind is the Gabriel Hounds ‘brand’ of the third book, Zero History.

Those are brilliant books by the way, captures as nothing else the previous decade, and I highly recommend them: Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History.

Update 2013-10-15: My friend Niall emailed me pointing out that unsearchable band names were discussed earlier by Warren Ellis and also by Angela Watercutter in Wired.

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