Spokeo A Scam? Not! (6 Commonly Misunderstood Things About Spokeo)
We have all heard it: Bloggers, commentators and pundits, even reporters, falling prey to hype and fear mongers, and rushing to inquire, “Is Spokeo a scam?” To which we calmly, with a smile on our face, simply reply, “No, it is not. Better yet,” we add, “It’s a really innovative and useful tool, which once you understand and get to know, is not only helpful, but can be loads of fun to use too.”
“Well what do you mean?” some insist, still doubtful. “What is Spokeo – what is it exactly you do?”
Below we answer some of the more common questions and misperceptions about Spokeo, and lay much of the misplaced trepidation to rest.
What is Spokeo?
Spokeo is an efficient people-search utility. Simply put, it is a search engine that scours the web in search of published information.
“Well Google is a search engine, and Spokeo’s doesn’t look anything like that to me,” some persist. “I still think Spokeo’s a scam.”
Actually, in many ways Spokeo and Google are very much alike. They are both search engines. The difference lies in their areas of focus. All search engines scour the web in search of published information. The main distinction lies in what kind of information they look for. Google’s area of specialty is web pages, whereas Spokeo’s focus is people search. And that’s one of the really cool things about it. Spokeo searches the web and allows you to locate, connect with, and keep up with friends, business contacts, or anyone else you may wish to find.
“Who uses people search?”
Almost everyone has someone they would like to search for. In fact, independent studies show that some of the most common searches performed on the web are people searches. Spokeo is a tool that makes people search simpler. It crawls the web for you and allows you to find friends, relatives, business associates, or anyone you might care to connect with, quicker and easier than ever before.
“Well I still think Spokeo is a scam because a lot of the information they have about me is just wrong.”
It is true that at times information collected in searches can be erroneous. This is because the accuracy of any information amassed by Spokeo is only as good as the original information published. You see, Spokeo doesn’t create data or change it. All it does is search public records already in existence across the web and other data bases, and aggregates the information that it finds in one place. If some of the information it collects is inaccurate it’s only because it was inaccurate to start. Spokeo merely collects records already published from third parties.
“Spokeo’s a scam because they require an e-mail and password to conduct a contacts search. They shouldn’t ask for that information. It’s a sure sign they’re a scam.”
Spokeo has a really unique feature that allows you to create your own personal people search account. This special feature allows you to upload your own personal e-mail contact list, and then follow all of your friends and contacts on that list. You can keep up with any changes to public social-media profiles your contacts may make, blog entries or tweets they may publish, and more, all in one place. It is, in a way, your own personal people viewer. To personalize and secure your individual account, however, much like on any other website, an e-mail and password are necessary. Otherwise anyone could have access to your account and follow your contacts. So you see, Spokeo is feature loaded and simply requires basic security measures to safeguard your account.
“Spokeo is a scam. They require an e-mail address before they’ll let you opt out. They shouldn’t need that.”
Spokeo is actually very unique in that it offers an opt-out feature. Most search engines do not, or when they do, have onerous requirements before they will allow you to do so. Spokeo receives millions of searches a month, and opt-out requests remain in the low single digits percentage wise. Most users are quite comfortable with our technology. Still, Spokeo remains very sensitive to all user feedback and offers the opt-out feature to ease the minds of any who may still harbor any reservations about Spokeo. The reason Spokeo requires an e-mail address to opt out is not because Spokeo is a scam. Much like other websites, we do so to verify that the person making the request to opt out is in fact who they say they are, and not a spambot – a malicious program that could otherwise infiltrate and wipe out our entire website. So you see, the e-mail requirement is a security measure designed to protect both you and Spokeo.
“I certainly don’t like the idea of this company making money off of things I personally make available to the public. It’s made public for a reason, specifically for sharing purposes. What gives someone the right to take that information. Spokeo is a scam.”
Spokeo is a free people-search engine that aggregates public records from a multitude of sources, many of which are free. Spokeo, however, goes a step further and aggregates records from other sites that charge for information as well. To help offset some of the costs associated with doing so, Spokeo offers a premium service for which it charges a nominal fee compared to other people-search sites. We are pleased, however, that we have been able to keep our prices very low, and that we remain one of the only people-search sites that offers free searches. So you see, Spokeo is not a scam. Our service is free, and we charge only a nominal fee for the premium version.
“Spokeo is a scam. First they publish private information about you, and then they advertise products like “Identity Force” and “Reputation Defender” – services you have to pay for to protect yourself from identity theft because of the information they reveal. They cause the problem and then make money off of you to fix it.”
If you notice the types of ads that generally come up on your computer after you’ve visited any website, you will soon realize that they almost all sell services or products that in some way relate to the content of the website you just visited. For instance, maybe you need a new band for your favorite watch. You go online, conduct a search and look up “watch bands” or “watch repair.” Then you visit several sites to try to determine which one works best. Thirty minutes later you open your e-mail and are suddenly surrounded with all kinds of advertisements for jewelry outlets and watches. This is not a scam. It’s because sellers know you have some interest in watches, and they target their audiences accordingly to make their ads more efficient. It is a core principle of all marketing.
Spokeo does not collect or possess any of the significant data implicated in identity theft. We do not possess private or secured information such as Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, or bank accounts. Spokeo’s people search does not collect or reveal unpublished information. Spokeo only collects public records. It’s not a huge leap, however, for a seller to figure out that some percentage of individuals who visit people-search sites may also have an interest in products that protect private information or identity. It’s a natural fit; just like someone logging onto a tennis website to read about tournaments might also have an interest in buying a treatment for tennis elbow. So you see, Spokeo does not increase the risk for identity theft. Spokeo does not reveal private information.