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How to find people on the internet?
August 16, 2012 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Best online services for finding lost friends?

Between Spokeo, Pipl, Zabasearch, Peoplesmart, Mylife, Radaris, Intellius, etc. there's a large crop of services for finding people's addresses/phone numbers. I know law firms rely on Accurint but I ain't got that type of cash or corporate connections. With a budget of about $30, where is my money best spent? U.S. based here.
posted by caveatz to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Facebook is pretty much made for this.
posted by amro at 12:34 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tried already. They are not Facebook/social networking types. Need a public records search engine that is reliable and up to date.
posted by caveatz at 12:42 PM on August 16, 2012


Is Veromi working for you?
posted by tilde at 12:50 PM on August 16, 2012


Does your public library have access to ReferenceUSA? Occasionally I'll find someone there I couldn't find anywhere else.
posted by johnofjack at 1:05 PM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pipl.com and Spokeo.com have always been great for me. Also, if you have a Facebook, maybe try searching for relatives (like siblings) of the person you are looking for.
posted by AbsolutelyHonest at 1:40 PM on August 16, 2012


Also give PeekYou a shot.
posted by drlith at 1:56 PM on August 16, 2012


If they are professional types you might find their work contact info at Jigsaw.com.
posted by COD at 3:56 PM on August 16, 2012


Does your public library have access to ReferenceUSA?

Another product you can find at public libraries is Demographics Now (it's a Gale product and cheaper than RefUSA, so your library may have that instead.)

This is probably an obvious question, but have you tried whitepages.com? If theirs isn't a very common name, you might have some luck there. We use it at work all the time (in a public library.)
posted by carolinecrane at 5:57 PM on August 16, 2012


I've used all of the services listed here, but for a truly off-the-grid person, I got the best results from skipmax.com. (You'll have to check their TOS to make sure it's legal to use in your search situation.) Basically, you fund the account with a minimum amount, and pay a small amount ($.50-ish) per search. They had results that were not available in any other free or pay service I had used and using multiple, smaller, searches allowed me to cross reference results to narrow down the field. I had to do that manually, but in a multi-year search with absolutely no leads, I was more than glad to spend $20 and an afternoon taking notes and ruling people out.

I was searching for a really common name related to other people with really common names and only had very sketchy biographical details. (It turns out our person wasn't showing up on other searches because they had changed their name SIX times!) Newspaperarchive.com is ridiculously hard to search, but once I had more details, it helped me to find related people to plug back into Skipmax and follow the trail of what happened to this person.
posted by Gable Oak at 11:01 AM on August 17, 2012


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