During the pre-research phase, there is a wide variety of information sources on the web that can help aid you in your investigative effort. In this section, we will discuss some of these sources. The value of these sources will help you to search across thousands of websites at once and help you to narrow down the search results looking for your suspect. Imagine this as a social network aggregator where you can input your search criteria and this search engine will scour the web looking for it.

So let’s look at some of these sources:

  • www.peekyou.com
  • www.pipl.com
  • www.spokeo.com

Spokeo is a social network aggregator website that aggregates data from many online and offline sources (such as phone directories, social networks, photo albums, marketing surveys, mailing lists, government censuses, real estate listings, and business websites).
This aggregated data may include demographic data, social profiles, and estimated property and wealth values.

PeekYou is a people search engine that indexes people and their links on the web. In June 2010, PeekYou launched what it described as the “first digital footprint ranking system for individuals.” Called PeekScore, the ranking system rates each of the individuals in the PeekYou index on a scale from one to ten, for the purposes of quantifying the scope of his or her online impact. The algorithm used to calculate the score takes into account the various active aspects of an individual’s online life, particularly in the areas of blogging, social networking, and personal websites.

Pipl is a search engine to find addresses and other information that can help locate someone, such as a long lost relative. Pipl’s query-engine is designed to retrieve information from the deep web. Deep web refers to underlying web content such as dynamic pages stored in online databases. General purpose search engines cannot reach and index the deep web. Pipl’s robots are set to interact with searchable databases and extract facts, contact details and other relevant information from personal profiles, member directories, scientific publications, court records, and numerous other deep-web sources. Pipl also aims to find relevant bits of information about a person by using advanced language-analysis and ranking algorithms.

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