Tell me who you really, really want to find

Posted on February 19, 2001

Besides the Slap a Spice Girl game, the most useful things on the Internet are the various e-mail, street address and phone number lookups.

That's right folks! You can continue to stalk that high school sweetheart or the person at the gym until your fingers can't type anymore!

The directories are fairly comprehensive, but overlapping. Most search engines have their own people lookups, so I rarely use one exclusively. Today, we'll use Yahoo, because as much advertising as the company does, there must be a decent amount of listings. I test the validity of a people search based upon the following factors:

1. If I'm in there

2. If my listing is correct

3. If the Spice Girls' listings are correct

When these three things are true, the people search must be good. When I search for myself in Yahoo, I come up with three of my last four residences! Not that Yahoo is outdated; those residences were all since 1998. But there is really no way for Yahoo to determine someone has moved, especially if a new listing has been created and the old one still exists. So while you might find that guy who had a really strange first name, he may have already moved to Pakistan, anticipating you would attempt to stalk, er, find him.

You can also do an e-mail search, if you just want to e-mail the person, but results are far more limited than for street addresses. At least, the ones are based on my three factors. Although Yahoo did return 24 e-mail addresses for Posh Spice.

If you are trying to find a real person, try Freeality's lookup page. You can look up things in a ridiculous assortment of ways, including doing reverse lookups, which come in handy when you get a strange e-mail from a supposed long-lost relative. Once again, the results aren't perfect, but at least if you cannot find the proper thing in one search, you can move to the next.

If you are determined to find someone who might be living in another state, in a rural community, or in a cave and is hibernating, you can still find that person. Use the US Search. According to the site, you can find anyone. The catch is you actually have to pay to search, therefore, I don't try to find myself there. But you can receive criminal background checks, court records, employment screenings and ValiDate, which can give info about the person you are dating. If only I would have known about this earlier ...

It's nice to find lost friends and to get back in touch with them, perhaps invite them to the next Rick Springfield concert. Unfortunately, you cannot always find the most current information from free searches, but if you keep looking for someone, you're bound to make contact with them eventually. If not, you can always send e-mail to the 24 Posh Spices lurking in the world. One of them has to be correct, right?