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ZabaSearch: A Good Way To Get Reporters In Trouble

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Shh! Don’t tell Elinor Mills over at CNet about this, she’ll just cause more trouble. ZabaSearch, a search engine geared toward finding personal information on anybody, is soon to offer a blogging feature that will no doubt produce more gossip than a quilting bee.

ZabaSearch, a free personal information search engine, has already generated sneers from those who find snooping around in other people’s business atrocious.

It is, at least to this point, legally protected as it only aggregates information that is publicly available, complete with addresses, phone numbers, and a meta-search function. (For the record, no, I haven’t looked up any CEOs of major corporations and you can’t prove I did.)

And for an additional price, ZabaSearch will send Internet sleuths a background check of the person being searched to see if they’re on the up and up.

As one might imagine, this has produced serious privacy concerns, echoing Eric Schmidt’s concern about the information gleaned from Google and reported on by Google+balances+privacy%2C+reach/2100-1032_3-5787483.html?tag=nl”>Ms. Mills. And we all know how that turned out.

Well, Zaba has pushed another boundary with plans to launch a blogging feature that allows instant blogging on anyone that comes up. The news breaks from David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“What’s worse than a Web site that, for free, provides oodles of personal information about you and your family to anyone who wants it?

“How about that same site adding a blog feature that allows people — former classmates, ex-lovers, disgruntled co-workers — to discuss you online?” asks Lazarus.

And that’s exactly what it does. After running a search on, let’s say Stove Bellmer, for a completely fictitious not-an-executive-of-a-major-corporation person, searchers will see, just below the address and phone number, a link to ZabaBlog.

This function, apparently to be launched on September 1st, creates an automatic blog about the person that was queried and allows users to opine, deliver titillating gossip, news, or any other kind of additional information.

This can’t turn out well.

So basically what we have here is a place to look up people’s histories as well as a place to check out what everybody’s saying about them-kind of like a trashy wiki-celebrity-tabloid.

Lazarus rightly notes his uncertainty as to how ZabaSearch will monitor the blogs to protect itself against defamation and libel litigation.

Privacy rights advocate, Beth Givens, is also clearly upset.

“”It’s outrageous,” Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, told Lazarus. “For a people-search service to move into the area of what could be unsubstantiated gossip is highly irresponsible.”

In a train-wreck kind of way, it will be interesting to see how this develops.

What do you think? Discuss at WebProWorld.

ZabaSearch: A Good Way To Get Reporters In Trouble
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