If you are one who are serious about blogging, branding, expanding an established brand, or selling a product or service, where you use a website and multiple platforms for showcasing; you probably use one that tracts the footprint of your unique monthly visitors, subscribers, active readers, return visitors and conversion where the above is applicable. You come into a lot of information through analytics and so forth about the demographic of your audience.
In further review of that research, and especially if you delve into it with professionals on tracking, codes, coding, HTML, META tags, visibility etc., you will also access the ghost followers, the fake followers and the trolls. Especially when they leave comments. That is through the process of scanning, because everything you do online, has a footprint. This is how many companies get called out for writing their own reviews online and posing as visitors or customers. Companies such as Amazon have mentioned this before.
While that information may not be available to all the readers in this case, it’s available to the website administrator. Just as when I blog on someone else site, I may not privy to the tracking information, but the company is. Whereas, for my own site, I have that information at my fingertips.
If you have not hired, or you are not working with an Intel team or a super sophisticated team of hackers or people who have mastered the art of an untraceable navigation, search and landing; you have been seen by those savvy bloggers, journalist and writers who take their work seriously. Your IP Address is always available, even with a fake (or made up) email, because it still belongs to you. There’s information you will have to provide when setting up that account, which people will not generally know, but it’s still available if and when the time comes for investigation to take place and tract the origin of a comment, email, message etc.
Once this information is known, it’s a matter of time before its completely traced back to the originator or tied to the culprit associated with the delivery of those comments and messages.
In court proceedings, you can suggest a subpoena from the company, but there may be a lot of red tape to go through for it- and it really depends on the weight of the matter and the overall objective, which could be to single in on the person(s) who are involved in the sabotage of a writer or when safety for the journalist is a concerned.
I’ve worked with phenomenal sites in the past, which have taken the extra step in providing and sharing this information with me, so that I could track down and nail the stalker and the persons who were sending anonymous emails to companies I was affiliated with and making disparaging comments that weren’t from real readers or a legitimate source. It was important for me to know and have this information and I was happy to be with sites, which felt the same way.
Currently there are more sophisticated programs underway, which will offer an even more of birds eye view into this information, as it’s collected by the tracking systems. Once these programs become available, I am sure that we’ll be able to crack down on the amount of people who troll- not to reveal their identity for the purpose of violating their right the be anon- but if they are posing a real threat, it will be information that will be easily obtainable, no matter what your right is.
While January is Stalker Awareness Month, it remains a topic of discussion with me weekly, between working with and helping companies and individuals uncover the identity of someone who may just be a troll, with malicious intent, rather than a reader with a genuine interest for the content. It is important to me because I realize the damage that can come from a stalker, a troll and someone with the desire to surf the net for targets to destroy credibility, humiliate, discredit as a professional, seek revenge and retaliation on and ultimately to compromise their position in business.
I would encourage businesses and in individuals who are running their own businesses, whether its from home or an office, to seek proper firewall protection, utilize proper security features, invest in a tracking software and solicit the help from professionals who are experienced with dealing with cyber stalkers and bullies. It has been my saving grace.