People search engines are a great way to find old friends
Not long ago I had some old high school friends over the house. We reminisced about a schoolmate who had moved to the mainland some years ago. No one really knew what happened to him, and I bet my buddies I could find him ASAP.
As luck would have it, within 10 minutes or so I had his e-mail address and then his phone number. We then gave him the shock of his life by calling him up.
Finding people on the Net isn't always so easy, but unless the person really doesn't want to be found, it's not that hard.
Here are some of my favorite methods:
» Zabasearch.com is free search engine that trolls the Internet for publicly accessible information in the United States. Basic information is free, but detailed data such as background checks for job applicants requires a small fee. Just type the name and state where they live. (Try your own name first. If there is more than you want people to know about yourself, Zabasearch has options that allow you to remove info.)
» ZoomInfo is another marvelous search engine that concentrates solely on people and is handy not only for individuals but HR people interested in seeking new hires. It does this free of charge by searching for names on Web sites, SEC filings, press releases, electronic news services and other sources, and categorizes the data into an easily digestible, logical format. Using it is a snap. Just go to ZoomInfo and type in a name. A quick search on Kiman Wong came up with only one result but it was correct. (They even got my photo!)
You can also find company info by clicking the "Company" text link right above the main search query bar.
Obviously, the more of a Web presence you have, the more results you'll have.
ZoomInfo also offers a fee service called Power Search which the company says is used by Fortune 500 companies and nine of the top 10 executive recruiting firms.
Online phone directories are also incredibly helpful for finding people. Here are some I recommend:
» Switchboard.com is a snap to use and offers searches for businesses, people, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and lots more. All you do is type in the name and click away.
» Lycos People Search (at www.whowhere.com) is also simple to use and very fast.
» Teldir (www.infobel.com/ teldir)is handy for overseas searches. They have data for more than 216 countries. I tried to locate friends in Singapore and Thailand with no luck, but it worked with Fiji.
Another ever handy resource is Google. It can find both business and residential phone numbers. Simply type in the name and city. Google also has an interesting service called reverse lookup. Let's say you know someone's phone number but don't have the address. Just type in the number with area code in this format 808-777-1111 and Google will provide you with an answer.
» There are also a number of Web sites that will help you find military veterans. The service I like best is the "buddy finder" link on Military.com. It provides very basic info about the individual's service record, then sends you to the white pages to help locate them.
is general manager of digital phone at Oceanic Time Warner Cable. He can be reached at email@example.com