How do you react or feel when someone tells you he or she googled your full name?

It happened to me several times. I didn’t feel anything negative. On the contrary, I was fluttered by the fact that they did google’d me and that there might something interesting about me.

I pay special attention to what I write and share on my social media accounts (LinkedIn, Twitter, FB etc.). I usually share and like extremely nerdy stuff (machine learning, software development and computer hardware related stuff).

What about you?

No one has ever told me this. Why would they? In what context were you told such a thing?

I guess there are some instances in which someone would do a search for my name, and I expect it has happened to me often, but I can’t imagine why someone would tell me that E did it.

I’d tell them if you read about me on Google, that wouldn’t be me.
I have no online profile with my real name.

Unless it was in some specific context, I’d feel stalked.

Fluttered, or flattered? For me, the latter. I’d take it as a vague sort of honor. Ego-boo.

It is better to be talked about than not talked about. Ditto searched.


No one has told me they’ve “googled me” but it did get me curious. So I googled myself and learned if one were to google my real name they’d find out less than if they looked me up in a phone directory the old fashioned way.

Happened twice to me over the years, both times with results that were, shall we say . . . interesting.

A old-time friend from college days (40-some years) ago mentioned that he googled me just for grins, and found one of those sites where the state government posts names of missing people it is holding assets for, and my name showed up there. It turned out, there was some long-forgotten life insurance kind of policy my parents got for me when I was a baby that was long lapsed, but it had some residual value and the insurance company had turned it over to the state’s unclaimed assets people.

So I looked into it. There was some paperwork I had to do, but I got several thousand dollars out of that!

Another case: A co-worker asked me if I had my own web site. He said he googled me and found it. No, I don’t have a web site. Turned out there was a web site with a name exactly the same as my name (neither first nor last name is very common, but not unknown either). Upon checking it out, it turned out to be a gay porn site! And yes, there really were two people in the United States with the same name as me (apparently father and son), and the son was deceased, and that son was apparently the web master of that site. The site is long gone now. This was about 15 years ago.

I felt stalked and was furious. This actually happened to me recently, long story and I’m not going into it.

I am one of many in my family with a very similar name. Those background check for creeps websites get it all messed up. I must be an amazing person to have so many addresses and so many multiple ages.

It’s not just the background checks for creeps sites that do that. All those “People Directory” sort of sites are like that. They will list a whole bunch of people with the same or similar names, of all ages, with addresses all over the place.

And they also list whole bunches of people who might be related to you, who you’ve never heard of before.

Students search for faculty a lot; clients/patients search for medical/therapy professionals a lot. Before I hire a contractor, I look them up at their licensing or certifying board.

I’ve sometimes had students taking a professional ethics class do a search for my name, then we talk about what they learned that easily and how this information might be discovered in or referred to in work situations.

Long ago I seeded the web with information, accounts, photos, public wish lists, and Myspace posts associated with a fake potential employee, but the students engaged less with this (much more outrageous) web information than with my actual (interesting but not terribly exciting) online presence.

I’d probably feel like I disappointed them, given what little and boring information is available about me via Google.

I’ve never been a user of on-line social media other than the Dope, and I have a very limited on-line presence under my real name. So other than those odious People Directory sites (see posts 9 and 10 above) you’d find rather little about me.

The one interesting thing about me on-line, that AFAIK nobody ever finds unless I tell them, is my one YouTube video, starring me of course! (My real name does appear there.) I’ve posted the link to it on this board (a few times, I think), so I know it’s out there.

Do y’all here know how those “background check” companies work?

The genuine ones are data aggregators. They collect all kinds of information about everyone from all sorts of public sources: Court records, police records, Motor Vehicle records (to the extent that those are made publicly available), property records on file with the County Recorder, whatever tax records they can find. You get the picture. Stuff from all kinds of public records.

Then they compile that all into dossiers on everyone.

When a prospective employer or landlord wants to check on you, they go to one of these companies and pay some fee to get your file.

Interesting event: One apartment manager did this when I applied, right then and there on the spot while I waited. And even gave me a copy of the report! They will usually tell you it takes a few weeks to get the report and charge every applicant a $50 application fee to cover it.

That’s a lie and a scam and a fraud. They get the report faxed to them on the spot and it only costs $15. So they’re pocketing a big profit from each prospective tenant. And they probably only actually run the report until they’ve decided who they will rent to, so they may be pocketing the entire $50 fee from a whole lot of applicants. That manager who ran the report right in front of me only charged me the $15 dollars it actually cost.

It’s surprising how much information those reports have on you. If you’re ever some place where they run a report like that, ask them if they will show it to you or give you a copy. I’m almost certain they usually won’t and probably are not supposed to.

If all they did was google my name, and they told me they found out lots, I be mad that they were lying to me. If they told me they ran a background check, well, I dunno, every one that has run a legitimate background check has had me sign forms giving them permission to access certain records etc. So, probably somewhat miffed at a percieved violation of privacy of some kind even though it was most likely public info.

Otoh, I was alway given a copy of every background check done on me for my own records. The military one was frightenly thorough and pretty thick, some were nothing more than a couple of pages

I have a very unusual last name and I am the only one ever to have my first name with that last name. I am not hard to find. That said, there isn’t that much out there. I went through and had my name scrubbed from everyone of those aggregator sites.

The other day I met someone I hadn’t seen for a decade. He asked me how I was doing and mentioned a story I published six or seven years ago in an obscure magazine. He couldn’t have found that out if he hadn’t googled my name on the Internet.

It’s the information age and we should expect these things.

I admit I’m a hypocrite. I’m guilty of googling professors and authors even though I’m far from a student. But I don’t want to know if they once had a house at 100 N Main Street or got divorced in 1995. If you’re a published author or a speaker, I want to know what you’ve written or said in the past.

My Mom retired quite a while back but for many years would consult to a few school districts to help with training student teachers. In the early to mid '00s, she would do a web search on each student and give them print outs of everything that she found. She said, “if an old lady can find this, think about what your students can find. Fix your stuff.” By the late '00s, people knew better and she rarely found anything all that bad.

I’d say: “If you found a lot of useful stuff about me and not folks who aren’t me with the same name, please teach me how you do it”.