Sunday, April 22, 2007

Creating and Claiming Your Online Identity

Kevin Poulsen, creator of Onxiam, found that he was constantly explaining to people, “On [this website] I am [this name]." This was getting tiresome, and I thought that there just had to be a better way of promoting myself to my friends, my family and to the online world as a whole.” He thought there had to be a better way to connect, without having to recite multiple usernames and identities for people to find him.

There are quite a few different concepts popping up recently, all geared towards managing your online identities. Having multiple online identities in one place would make it easier to find people, as well as adding convenience for people who use multiple social networking sites. sites like Findmeon and claimID offer to manage your online identity.

When internet users surf the net, not much damage is done to your online reputation. However, for those who choose to participate in online discussions such as message boards and blogs, permanent records are being created of everything that is written. It’s best to be conscious of what you write, because it may not be easily removed from cache files from search engines like Google. But it’s not all bad. Chances are, it will make finding people, such as past loves, friends and family members, just that much easier.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How to Run a Business Search and How the Information is Used

Much of what you would want to know about a business can be learned online. How the information is used is up to the researcher. But there are some very common uses for the information that you can pull up in a business report, and some of them are very handy to the right person. If you find yourself needing to know more about a company’s history, a business search just might be what you’re looking for. They are easy to obtain, and could help save your business thousands of dollars.

Most of the basic company information for just about any business can be found online, such as the name, address, and phone number, as well as in a local directory or phone book, or by calling 4-1-1. But the basic information is limited, and some of the more detailed information can only be found when you do further research, including running a business search on the company. The search should return more complex data, possibly information such as the physical description of the building that the business is located in, and the corporate filing status and information. You can generally find out who the controlling officers or agents within the company, as well as the owner’s name.

Running the search is fairly easy, especially if you already have the basic information. By entering the information into a database query form, you can easily sort through the initial results and choose a report that has the type of information you are looking to return in the final results. Most reports are available instantly, helping you make good use of your time. This information was not always available online, and in the past was much harder to track down. The online databases have made it simple and quick to retrieve information on just about any business or corporation.

But what can you do with the information once you have it in your hands? Probably one of the most common reasons businesses are checked is to establish credibility. But sometimes it is used for collection of unpaid bills, assessing a company’s credit, or to find out the owner of a DBA. Another common use is to determine how long a company has been in business.

Over the past decade, it has become extremely common for small businesses to start up, rack up thousands of dollars in unpaid product charges, and then simply shut down, leaving the unpaid bills behind. They can then easily start up another company, selling the products at 100% profit. It is quite common now for companies to protect themselves by requiring that anyone asking for credit with a business must be checked through a business search first, and determine how long they have been in business, as well as their track record.

While most of the more commonly used information can be found using databases like PeopleFinders, you can really get into the details about a company or corporation by utilizing other business resources and tools. There are quite a few available through PeopleSearch, and a complete set of tools to fit your needs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

YouTube for Finding Old Friends?

Did you know that you could actually use social networks or photo and video sharing sites to locate people from your past? It doesn’t normally occur to people that the sites could be useful in finding people, but they are actually a great tool in finding current information. Some sites are even offering to combine online social networking identities, which could even make it easier to use when searching for a person.

As far as YouTube, I stumbled across a couple of old friends, simply by accident. It may sound a little strange, and I wasn’t actually looking for my old friends from high-school, but there they were on YouTube. I’ll spare them the embarrassment of sharing the video and we’ll just say it was late-night karaoke, and leave it at that! Interestingly enough, the video was taken at a local area hotspot, and it let me know that they still lived in the old neighborhood. I wouldn’t have guessed finding friends on YouTube could be so easy, but hey, if it works, it’s a great tool to use when initially starting a search. Start with first and last names, combinations of first names of friends or relatives. In my case, it would have been found under the first names of the two singing sisters. It sounds like a long-shot, but it just takes a few moments to search, and could be worth the time.

Once I had the sister’s names and where I believed they were located, I would actually begin to search for them using databases. I would run an initial search using a database website like Zaba Search or People Finders, and see if the results match up to anything remotely familiar. If so, then I could purchase the full page reports, each showing exactly how to get in contact with them again. Many results show up to 20 years of address history, making it very easy to match up the dates that you knew them, and contact them at their current location.

Many different types of information show up on some of the reports, and can be very useful if you are in need of finding a relative. In the case of the YouTube find, two of the women in the video are sisters. Since there was a link to someone’s username, and from their profile I was able to find a MySpace page. From there, I was able to find some of their friends, and contact another friend we had in common. Finding people is actually really easy, and once you have determined the general area in which the person is currently located, plug that information into a people search database.

In the past, people relied on paper trails to lead them to a person. Now, in the world of internet and instant information, we can not only follow their paper trail, but their web trail. People use the internet to share pictures, blog, join communities, business, journals, and other things that log a web trail. With this type of internet usage, there are usernames, real names, personal information, interests, and other information that can be accessed by users, and make you – and others, easier to find.

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