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Privacy issue: Google and my real name

  1. Hi all, first post here.

    OK, this is a little disturbing... I was looking at my blog stats and saw that someone visited my blog by typing in my real name. This kinda freaked me out, because I'd like to keep my blog as anonymous as possible. (I'm not really interested in a discussions about the validity of that wish; that's another topic.)

    So I went to Google, typed in my real name, and saw that my blog was the second hit on Google. How can this be? I've never used my real name in my blog, nor have any commenters. I confirmed this by searching on my site. The only thing I can imagine is that WordPress somehow funneled this information to Google. I typed my name into other search engines (yahoo, alta vista, and lycos) this didn't happen. Only Google shows my blog.

    So two questions: 1. Can anyone offer insight as to how this can happen? 2. How can I sever the connection and make it so that my real name isn't connected to my blog?

    Thanks.

  2. 2) it's too late. If you want to be anonymous you'll need a new email and new ID and new blog.

    There are any number of ways of finding out where a person blogs. You could have a domain name and have that registered on Whois under your real name. You could have registered your blog with an email that is the same as the email you use regularly. Seriously, there are hundreds of ways. As far as I know, WordPress.com doesn't share user information with anybody, and I know they've been asked for such by stalkers in the past. They've refused in all cases of which I'm aware.

  3. Thanks, but that doesn't explain why it's Google only. I understand that people have many ways of finding out the identity of a person on the internet if they're really digging around. But it doesn't explain someone simply typing in my name into Google and returning such a strong hit when my name is nowhere to be found on my blog.

    As far as I know, my real name is not even in the WordPress universe. It's not in my profile, and I don't think I even supplied it when I signed up (I can't remember).

    But you're right, it's there now and I guess it's too late to do anything about that.

  4. Google is one of the faster search engines. Try MSN.com as well, as they're usually even faster than Google. Yahoo listings are actually edited by humans, so it often takes quite some time for things to show up there. Remember, too, that Google lists sites primarily by the number of links into them. Who's linked to you? Follow those links and you'll probably find your name on those pages somewhere. That's all it takes. You are also listed in multiple directories.

    Google and WordPress have if anything a slightly antagonistic relationship.

  5. Nothing at MSN either. Only Google.

    I don't think anyone has linked to me by name. I have a pretty small readership and I've only been live for 2 months.

    The only thing I can guess at this point is that I used a gmail address as my WordPress email. It doesn't have my real name in the address, but it's the only answer I can come up with.

    So it remains a mystery. btw, I posted a big rant about this just now if anyone wants to read it.

  6. If you comment on anyone's blog while you're signed in, they have your email. And emails are very, very searchable. Also, your blog is registered on Technorati; it could be traceable there as well.

    I see you even posted your race, where you live, where you go to school, and when and where you were on vacation. Not a good idea if you want to remain anonymous.

  7. BTW and a bit OT as far as this topic-if you are uncomfortable with people tracking you on the web and you have a Google email account, if you are searching the web while you are logged into Google, Google saves your search history. You have to go into your account settings on Google and turn it off.

  8. Technorati has my blog, but not my real name.

    I have commented on blogs, but as my pseudonym and with an email that does not have my name.

    My race, where I go on vacation, where I live, etc. should not reveal my name.

  9. You are directly linked, by name, from another website you seem to be involved with.

    I will email you.

  10. Thanks for the email Mark.

    Yep, mystery solved. I was wrong. One site had indeed recently linked to my blog by my name. Then someone else must have done a search of my name and found it in that way.

    So, bottom line... no scandals, no conspiracies. Sorry Google. Sorry (and thank you) WordPress. :)

    And thanks to everyone who posted.

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