Keynote speaker, OD and Business Consultant, Coach and Mentor Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock
Share this content

I'm having an identity crisis ... on the internet

5th Aug 2014
Keynote speaker, OD and Business Consultant, Coach and Mentor Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock
Share this content

I was shocked and surprised to find out that Amazon have changed my identity to an Aikido instructor and I also find myself to be nearly 20 years younger .... some good things in this then :-) ... but some less good things if you consider it from the point of view of my "HR brand" .... There has been much debate around how people appear on social media in terms of their Facebook profile, but this is made more difficult if other people misrepresent your HR brand.  Here's how my profile currently looks - the book listings are correct, but I have been "genetically modified" to a younger model:

Here's the listing with the correct profile:

On closer inspection of the page, I found that they had also changed aspects of my profile page, mixing me up with other Peter Cooks around the world. My Twitter feed had been changed from @AcademyOfRock that of Peter G Cook, the well-known Australian "Founder of the Financial Independence Company 'Love Your Business' and Inventiologist". Somewhat sadly, he also looks younger than me !

This is the third time Amazon have actively gone into my author page and made changes to details I uploaded without my knowledge. Imagine that this was your business and the potential damage that could occur to your brand as a result. Previously Amazon have removed books from my profile and added ones about fascinating topics such as tropical fish and skin care. In short, it's what Jeff Bezos of Amazon says "Your Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room". I did not expect this to include the recapture of youth and a new career as an inventiologist! 

In case you are wondering how all of this could happen to your business, let me explain how the process works:

  • An author profile is a 'self service' process i.e. you the author directly upload the details and not Amazon so it's not due to errors with uploading
  • Author profiles are password protected, so other people cannot change your details, so it's not down to mischief (or even mischef) on the part of the other Peter Cooks in the world

So, it cannot happen, but of course it has. I can only assume that Amazon actively go in to modify profiles without any consultation or intelligence.

Transferable Lessons for HR brand managers

  • If others are responsible for your brand, make sure they are competent
  • Don't assume that large companies have got this right when it comes to accuracy of their websites or their IT capabilities. As Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic Park "Life finds a way", commenting on chaos theory
  • It seems that it's never too late to become an Aikido instructor!

Related content

Replies (4)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

Image of Jon Ingham
By Jon Ingham
06th Aug 2014 12:50

Thanks for the tip Peter.

I've just noticed that I've written a second book according to them - a city guide to Toronto!

I must say it was much easier to do than my first one.


Thanks (0)
By Peter Cook
06th Aug 2014 13:47

Ha ha Jon!! 

This could be a virtuous circle of having books released which we never wrote :-)

Thanks (0)
Jamie Lawrence, HRZone
By Jamie Lawrence
06th Aug 2014 16:53 JK Rowling.

If I'm lucky they'll merge our bank accounts too.

Thanks (0)
By Peter Cook
06th Aug 2014 17:28

That's the one bit of Amazon that they seem to get right Jamie - ensuring their bank account remains full ...

Thanks (0)