Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Identify Trolls Visting Your Blog

I have to do one of these posts a couple of times a year to let the stalkers and trolls know that they aren't as smart as they think they are, and they aren't as anonymous as they think they are either. Don't people realize that everywhere you go on the internet can be traced back to you?

If you have a blog, you may have to deal with trolls who leave nasty comments, even anonymous comments, you can find out exactly who they are, and even see a picture of their house! Here is what to do.

1. Install a site tracker or stat counter on your blog. I use Sitemeter and it is free. I use it on all of my sites and blogs.

2. Log into Sitemeter. You will get a summary page like this:

3. Next, you can identify WHO'S ON, or click on REFERRALS to see what site referred the visitor to you. You can also click on ENTRY PAGES or EXIT PAGES to see what pages visitors landed on, and the last page they looked at before they left. If you are identifying a troll, the last page they were on will be the post they commented on. The time will also sync up with the timestamp on the comment.

3. For the purpose of this demo, let's look at WHO'S on my blog right now. The screen looks like this:

4. Click on the little number to the left under the DETAIL column. You will get a screen with everything about that visitor, right down to the resolution and color depth of their computer monitor. Find the line that says LAT/LONG under LOCATION:

5. Next, take that latitude and longitude and plug them into Google Maps. You will see a map of the location and a photo of the building at that address.

6. Now that you have the troll's address, you can plug it into Google or any website that finds people by their address, and discover their identity.

See, you can be a detective, too. This certainly won't stop the trolls from visiting, but at least you can find out who they are. Remember that sending threats or hate comments is a Federal crime. Blog comments fall under this law. Do not hesitate to identify these people and report them to your local authorities - now you can easily find out their identity and get the law on your side.
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