Friday, February 20, 2009

Lookup services can help employers find you; do they affect "online reputation"?

Toni Bowers has a Tech Republic blog entry today Feb. 20, Help Perspective Employers Find You. But today her focus is on lookup services, not on social networking or content or “reputation” management.

She suggests a service called PIPL, which goes to the “deep web” to build a summary about some one. I tried “John Boushka” and found very little, with much of it mixed up with my father. I tried “Bill Boushka” and found a lot, much more about my writing and blogs. I have used “Bill”, based on my middle name “William” as a quasi pseudonym.

I’m not sure how this would “impress” and I.T. employer who knows me as “John William”. It suggests a “sharp edge” and very public political participation and a certain kind of leveraged activism, but there’s nothing derogatory (drugs, porn, etc) that we usually think of with “reputation” problems. It would, for example, not affect a security clearance, today (it would have in the 60s and 70s); I wouldn’t care if the CIA or Secret Service saw it today. It would be problematic for a job where I had to go out and sell somebody else’s content disjointed from mine. I also notice that it shows places where others have referred to me or quoted my postings.

PIPL goes to the “deep web” and looks for dynamic pages. People say that search engines don’t index dynamic pages; well, now they do (sometimes by scanning underlying databases), but not as easily. Perhaps ten years ago they did not.

A good link to explain PIPL is here.

I also tried setting up a “LookupPage” profile.

Lookup also offers “professional” upgrades ("Pro Now") for a small monthly or yearly subscription fee. It sends an email telling the page owner how many visits he or she has, and offers the upgrade to analyze the visits.

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