Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Cool Tool Alert: Usernamecheck.com
September 29, 2008, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research

When I was checking my blog referrals this morning, I noticed a new site that I’d never heard of before, www.usernamecheck.com. I was intrigued, as any information verification tool could be potentially useful in my line of work, so I checked out the site to discover something that I think is pretty awesome.

According to the site creators, it “…is a quick and dirty solution to a question that I often lay awake at night worrying about. Do I have my username registered across every site that I should? What if the next internet humiliation meme just happens to share the username I’ve been using for years, and suddenly people are emailing me asking ‘hey, is this you ???'”

The site is pretty simple – using a stack of web app urls, the application pings the site using the username you want to check. If the username is not registered on one of the given sites, it is returned as ‘available’. But the real beauty of this is that if the username exists on a site, it lets you know in addition to providing a link to that user account page. Here’s an example of a search I did for my own username – researchgoddess…

As you can see, there are a lot of places where my username is not registered! (though I use my real name on some of these places and not researchgoddess) But click on the links where it is, and it takes you directly to my user account page.

Now – how can this be applied to recruiting research? Simple – you can use this to find information on a potential candidate by checking to see what locations have been registered with their user name, and then build a profile on them. Lost of people tend to use the same username to register on multiple social networks and other social media tools. For example: let’s say I’m trying to recruit a person with the usernamd of shannonnelson…

I find that shannonnelson is listed on Blogger, Brightkite, Digg, eBay, Identica, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plurk Twitter, and YouTube. In going through each of these sites, I can determine that Shannon is a 34 year old female Publicist and author of 7 blogs, living in Lake Ariel, PA. She is an avid Twitterer, and she has 4 boys and blogs predominately on the topics of beauty and fashion.

How did I find all of this out about her? By verifying her identity through each of the locations where she is listed. Some of the sites with username shannonnelson turned out not to be the person I was looking for, but other places provided additional links to more information (such as the correct LinkedIn and MySpace sites that were listed on Shannon’s Brightkite location). By investigating further into these links, I can then determine other usernames she may use and then run my search again to find more profiles on the places where Shannon may not have used shannonnelson.

And for those who are wondering or concerned, all of the information gathered about Shannon’s age, location, etc. was publicly listed by her. So, she knows this information is available about her.

So here are my personal thoughts on this cool site:

Pros:

  • One-stop username check, instead of having to do search on all the listed sites to find someone
  • Neat tool for building prospect profiles and seeing how much of an online/social media presence someone has
  • Great way to find ice-breaker information to start a warm conversation with a prospective candidate
Cons:
  • Not everyone uses the same username for all accounts (example: I use researchgoddess and amybethhale interchangeably)
  • For common names, you’ll have to verify the positive returns to make sure they’re the same people
  • It can be a little time consuming to go through each positive return to ensure its validity
My recommendation: try it out! If it works for you – fantastic. If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted minimal time on researching a new potential sourcing tool.
*update: curses! It seems I got scooped by Jim Stroud on this cool tool 🙂 Oh well, check out his post as well for another review of the site!
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3 Comments so far
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Amybeth, good looking out. This was great! I searched my user name and I found some old sites that I haven’t used in over 3 years.

Comment by Matt

[…] She’s the “Research Goddess” for a reason.  […]

Pingback by HCI Talent Acquisition » Blog Archive » This Week In The Talentsphere

This one is way too cool. What a great way to know where your target candidate is hanging out, which of course may lend clues to where you might find others. On the flip side, if you think about it, this is eerily close to stalking. But, hey, we’re recruiters,…stalking, hunting, foraging intel, and sourcing talent – isn’t that what we get paid to do? 🙂

Thanks for the great tip!

Michael

Comment by Michael Marlatt




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