The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
This weekend on Twitter, @People_Searcher tweeted “People Search Website [Pipl.com] Will Scare Your Pants Off http://tinyurl.com/c46a4f”. For me, that kind of statement is like waving a red flag at a bull, or placing Havarti cheese in a mousetrap; I’m going to go for it. Plus, Pipl.com (which calls itself “the most comprehensive people search on the web”) always seems to come up in conversations about free people search sites. So, I decided to “Pipl” myself and hope that I didn’t lose my britches. (Regular readers know I’m already flipping the waistband of my new suit slacks.)
You can look up people on Pipl.com by name, email, username or phone. I started with my name, and within seconds, Pipl.com informed me that I am @ExpertParalegal on Twitter and a senior legal assistant with Elliot Pishko Morgan P.A. Pipl.com provided the link to my Facebook public profile, and well as my personal email address for Practical Paralegalism, email@example.com. So far, so good – nothing came up that wouldn’t show up in a Google search. Many links with my name did not show up which have shown up in past Google searches. (Google yourself regularly to monitor your online presence.)
Pipl.com also showed multiple websites for me, including the Amazon link and the Carolina Academic Press link for the book I co-authored with my supervising attorney, J. Griffin Morgan, Workers’ Compensation Practice for Paralegals (Carolina Academic Press, 2008). Some websites (but not all) where I had either posted comments, had articles re-printed, or was listed as seminar speaker were listed. Oddly, some of my blog posts were included, but only older “Primo Paralegal Shoutouts”.
Actually, the worst aspect of my Pipl.com search was the poorly digitized professional head shot included in my results. I have no idea where the search engine obtained that version of my picture. I also ran a search on the name on my birth certificate and discovered that Pipl.com thinks I’m related to someone named Rufus. That’s just flat not true.
I searched my work email address, and got no results. I searched my username “ExpertParalegal” and discovered I’m not the only one using it for an email handle. I searched my home telephone number, and the Pipl.com result was 100% wrong.
Pipl.com is a great place to start a preliminary people search, and the results are well-organized. However, it does not replace a thorough Google search (or fee-based people searchers). After checking out Pipl.com, I was more bemused than scared. It was helpful for an overview, but not always accurate. I may search for Rufus next.
I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to search your name on Pipl.com. I’d love to hear from any readers who find any “Pipl.com surprises” about themselves.
For more information about how Pipl.com works, see Roi Carthy’s January 29, 2009 article at TechCrunch, “Pipl.com: People Search Engine So Good, It Will Scare Your Pants Off.” (I found this link after I’d completed this blog entry, and then wondered if maybe “Gen Y” has more to worry about in a people search. I’m grateful that there was no Internet when I was in college to post those embarrassing party pictures that can annihilate a job interview these days.)