The use of linguistic identity markers to track down bloggers. You can run – but you can’t hide! The idea that bloggers can remain anonymous could never be further from the truth. There are many ways that your identity can be tracked down. The same applies to blog commentors and forum trolls. There is a trail of breadcrumbs that drops from your pockets all the way along the internet!
Let’s start first with how to track down the owner of a site – I can use a real example here – I needed to find the owner of a disused domain creamchargers.org.uk for a client that wished to purchase it. The reason being that they sold whipped cream chargers on various sites but were keen to get hold of the exact match for SEO purposes they already woned a few sites with catchy whipped cream themed names but wanted to nail the number one spot with the “chargers” in the title.
Many people aren’t aware of it but all domain owners are registered with a central agency – the agency depends upon wether it is a .com .org .co.uk etc. This one was made simple because creamchargers.org.uk ended with a uk domain. If it was a .com then it is possible that the owner might have opted for using an proxy owner which would have made it all significantly harder! With a .uk domain (.org.uk .co.uk) then the owner can hide their contact details but not their name. This is actually only for non-trading individuals if you run the website as a business then you would need to disclose all of your contact details.
So with the name – I simple used the modern super-sleuth tool of Facebook to locate and message all of the people in the UK with the same name – luckily it wasn’t a John Smith!
Other methods for tracking down website owners include using tools that search for other websites that have the same google analytics tracking code or the same amazon affiliate id. The first one is particularly useful because a lot of bloggers have multiple sites, some they choose to anonymity and others that they want to be found. It is very likely that both would have the same analytics tracking code use. There are loads of online tools for this but try reverseinternet.com for a start.
SO how about tracking down the people that comment on a blog? Well that is difficult to do from the outside but the owner of the blog will get data with every comment that details the IP of every commenter which can then be used to track down the internet connection that they were using a good example of it was given here in the NYtimes http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/business/media/11web.html?_r=1