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Advisor or Adviser?

In our review of insurance advertising, we often see both Advisor and Adviser used, usually following “Financial.” We comment on the use of the term Financial Advisor/er in the context of an insurance-only producer, and on the potential confusion that term can create in the mind of a consumer. But beyond that, I have to confess that I react more positively to Advisor than Adviser. I know that both are acceptable, but I continue to react.

So this morning I gave in to the desire to research and see if there was any basis in grammar or usage that would justify my emotional reaction to one spelling version over the other. My Google search indicated I was not the only one thinking about this. One discussion on Yahoo! Answers resulted from Firefox and other spellcheckers’ preference for Adviser, though the person asking the question, like me, preferred Advisor. The answer to the question discussed the equal treatment given in the standard dictionaries, but said a Google search found that Advisor returned 85,100,000 pages compared to only 21,500,000 for Adviser. Since this was not a particularly recent discussion I decided to try it myself. Today my search results were 801,000,000 for Advisor and 76,300,000 for Adviser. Vindication! I am in the majority with my preference for Advisor.

But I also learned something else. Google has a Google Advisor (note: Advisor) and it is described this way: “Google Advisor makes it easy to find financial offers from multiple providers, compare them side-by-side and apply online.” Who knew? Unclear whether “financial offers” might include insurance, I took a trip over to Google Advisor. There I found easy comparisons in the categories of credit cards, CDs, and checking and savings accounts. I am very curious how long it might be before Google Advisor adds an insurance component as well. It is hard to imagine they haven’t looked at it yet.