So everyone who has ever used the Internet is guilty of this one time or another. Whether it is a current beau, an old flame, or maybe just your hot neighbor, I would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t researched someone else online (what I like to refer to as online stalking). It is actually amazing the amount of stuff you can find out about someone using Google and many of the other tools. Somehow I became good at this and now all of my friends have me research the guys they meet at parties or go out with on dates (I have become a regular web sleuth). As I am running our of time to do much else besides work (silly 11 hour days and 6 day work weeks) I decided to put together my notes on how to find out about whomever it is you are searching for (since it is an interesting blog post and now I can tell my girlfriends to first try all the steps before enlisting my help)….

  1. Start with the social networking sites. If you have an email address that makes it easier since both MySpace and Facebook provide email searches, but you can still narrow down using name and/or location. You should also try Wink.com which is a new site that compiles lots of information from social networking sites and allows you to search for them all in one place.
  2. Use the professional networking sites. Many people have a Linkedin profile that can contain job history, former colleagues and other details. Also check out Spock.com which is a site that seeks out web mentions of the name and presents them clearly with pictures.
  3. Use the old fashioned information. You can troll around the white pages, or make it simple and use a site like ZabaSearch which combs over all sorts of public records to find things about a person (great for physical information like addresses and phone numbers–even unlisted ones). If you have a phone number and not the name you can also use the white pages reverse look up–a great to figure out who is calling you at midnight.
  4. Look for press mentions, records, and other web pages. Searching news feeds and using sites like Google are another great way to get information. Now there are even sites like Pipl which is a “deep” search (their terminology) and tends to be more comprehensive that the regular old search engines.

My last and final tip is to know what to search for–try first, last, “first last”, add location, add schools, add friends names, etc. Just try lots of different combinations. That tends to result in lots of interesting information. Happy searching!

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