Dirt-digging websites on the rise

Websites to help users find out if friends, family and co-workers have any secrets in the closet are proliferating in the US, WSJ.com reports.

And the material they can uncover goes way beyond the results you can get by tapping a name into Google. For example, ZabaSearch.com will clue you in on someone’s criminal history and birthdate. Sites such as Spock.com and Wink.com will help you dig up pages containing personal information on a person, such as profiles on social networks like Facebook or MySpace. And Zillow.com will give you an estimate of the value of other people’s homes.

There is even a site designed to help people extend their professional networks by swapping details contained on the business cards they’ve collected. Jigsaw.com boasts that it provides users with access to more than eight million contacts, but you’ve got to put in to get out – for each contact a person puts in, they get points they can use to search for a particular contact.

While these sites give rise to all sorts of privacy concerns, according to at least one US site owner, ZabaSearch.com’s Nick Matzorkis, they are here to stay. The dissemination of public information online is “a 21st century reality with or without ZabaSearch,” Matzorkis says.



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