How to Cyberstalk Yourself: Discover and Monitor Your Online Presence for Free
January 28, 2011 2 Comments
Would you like some simple ways to discover and monitor the information that others may find about you online?
Originally, I wanted to blog about how to legally cyberstalk and gather intelligence for free on prospective customers or clients. So, I decided to cyberstalk myself as an experiment. Of course, I found the usual: Facebook, Linked In, website, current blog, etc. But, what an eye-opener it was to find so much more, and in a few cases, things I had FORGOTTEN about (fortunately, nothing embarrassing).
Some things I found:
- A blog I had written when my son was in college (forgot about this one!)
- A guy has used one of my definitely female and rather unusual user names on a dating site
- Videos I and others have put on YouTube
- Forum Posts and articles I’ve written
- My email addresses
- Lots of photos, some put on the web by others
- My home address
- Satellite photos of my home
- What I paid for my home and what it is worth now
- Names of relatives
- Places I used to live
- And lots more!
Want to see my home? See it below courtesy of bing maps. I was able to rotate the view, although some views showed photos taken in different years. You can also get satellite views at google maps, too (although the picture quality wasn’t as good as in the bing map for my home). You can get estimated property values for an address at Zillow.
How to conduct a quick search to get an idea of what people can easily find about you:
Google Search and Google Alerts
1. Put “Firstname Lastname” in the Google search bar. Like this:
Putting the search terms in quotes will find that exact search term. Unusual names may not need the quotes. If your name is fairly common, you can add your place of work, or city. Also try nicknames or other name variations.
2. Search on the part before the @ sign in an email address—many people will use that as a username. For example, if you have an email address like Mike92124@aol.com and you also use Mike92124 as a username, search Mike92124.
3. Use Google Alerts to monitor the web for new content. Get email updates with news, blog posts, etc. related to your name or business (or your customer or even your children).
People search sites:
Try these out–you may be surprised what you find!
http://webmii.com/ (you can even get a web score for how “Popular” you are on the web. I got a 4 and Barack Obama got an 8.9. My 18 year-old daughter got a 0.4.)
You might have to dig a little to get the free public records (do a search on Public records, County, State). Here’s the site for my county, Hennepin County. I can look up some property information if I know an address.
Google Search, Google Alerts, People Search Sites and Public Records are only a few of many ways that people can find information. Check out what people can learn about you and use these search tools to enhance your knowledge of prospective customers or clients.