I have to tell you a story. I think it is pretty funny. It involves the tools Realtors regularly use to maintain their businesses and the other, shall we say, side benefits those wonderful, magical tools provide.

We were in Tenino, Washington last Saturday for a family event. The event was for my husband’s aunt who’d passed away the week before. One would think the event would be all about the woman we were all gathered together to memorialize. But I have been ‘alerted’ that there were other agendas at play.

In the days before we attended the memorial, I received alert after alert that my husband’s family members were searching my name on the Internet. How did I know? Because the alerts I receive give an associated IP Address or, more often, an associated email address. If an IP Address is provided, it is not that difficult to find out who it belongs to. Trust me. I have received these alerts over the months since moving back to Oregon. Usually they identify past or potential clients. My old boss in Portland looked me up. Hello to you too Scott! Before this family shindig, however, I was beginning to wonder if some of my husband’s family members searching my name on the Internet needed a hobby!

By the time we arrived at the event, I knew who and when members of his family had been searching my name on the Internet…and I even knew what search terms they’d used. But here’s the fun part: I didn’t say a word! I watched the guilty and tried to match them to the terms they’d plugged in. It was interesting, to say the least. And I couldn’t help but wonder how they’d feel if they knew I’d been as curious about them. Which, I am happy to say, I have enough to do in my life that they rarely cross my mind.

The moral of the story? We do not have private lives on the Internet. At least, not the way we used to. If you’re looking up an old flame or the boss you cannot stand, please be aware that the person you are searching for may be receiving alerts every time their name is searched on the World Wide Web. And if this is the case, as it is with any Realtor who takes their business seriously, they will not only receive an alert that their name is being searched, but they will also receive the search terms, AND they will receive the email address or the IP address of the person doing the searching.

So, to Kim, Linda, Kara…GOTCHA!