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Zabasearch.com is a website that searches for and collates disparate information regarding United States residents, including names, current and past addresses, phone numbers, and birth years, and then permits the user to query other search engines with this information to retrieve additional data, such as satellite photos of addresses and criminal background checks.
ZabaSearch was founded by Nick Matzorkis and Robert Zakari The website allows free searches for certain information,[which?] but requests for further information are directed to Intelius ZabaSearch Whois records list Intelius as the registrant of ZabaSearch.com, although no official report has been released. Premium services, accessible by registering an email address and password at the site, or by signing in via Facebook, entitle users to run a free Zabasearch background check or to search by phone number. After a trial period, premium services are accessible via a monthly fee.
Zabasearch was sold to Intelius in 2008. Intelius is wholly owned by Inome, Inc., 500 108th Avenue N.E., Suite 2200, Bellevue, WA 98004. The Inome, Inc. CEO and Co-founder is Naveen Jain and Niraj Shah is a Co-founder and CTO, Ed Petersen is a Co-founder and Executive Vice President.
Irene Davids, in an article posted at KillerStartups.com, describes Zabasearch thusly:
- Do you have a cousin that you haven’t seen for years and would like to know where to reach him? Maybe you would like to start stalking your favorite celebrity? Then go to Zabasearch, considered google on steroids, this site provides you with a free and easy to use search bar, where you can type anybody’s name, that is, anybody that lives in the United States, and their address and phone numbers will appear. A recent search for a certain Hollywood and indie film star who shall remain nameless (let’s avoid stalkers, ok?) fielded results showing she owned a house in the Hollywood Hills and an apartment in Greenwich Village in NYC.
- ZabaSearch buys and gives away basic personal data as a loss leader to induce visitors to purchase more comprehensive background checks for $20 each.
- The company charges $100 for even more in-depth searches, with a money- back guarantee if the person sought doesn't turn up.
- It also carries a paid link to Experian, the credit-reporting agency, to obtain a free credit report. (This will automatically sign you up as well for Experian's credit-monitoring program, which will cost $9.95 a month unless you opt out after a 30-day trial period.)
The company asserts that all of the information accessible on the site was already extant on the Internet on many government or corporate databases, the likes of which could (usually) already be accessed piecemeal by the general public. As such, they assert that the site fosters nothing new except the convenience of gathering the data automatically and is not suited for use by potential identity thieves.
The website, which may be searched online as well as accessed on the Google Toolbar, allows consumers who register there the option to be notified by email when they, or people they know, are being searched and advised who is searching their name or social security number.
Irene Davids' aforementioned review at KillerStartups.com hinted at the site's usefulness for stalking but skewed favorable, while Reviewopedia's balanced review of Zabasearch, metatitled "Zabasearch - Legit or Scam?", even-handedly enumerates the sites pros and cons. As of April 5, 2014, the two articles posted in the "Related Articles" section, positioned immediately below the Zabasearch review, are both cautionary, "People Search Websites and What You Should Know" and "Protect Yourself from Online Identity Theft".
EMAIL MESSAGES CONTAINING PERSONAL INFORMATION that were previously not searchable by Google, Internet Explorer or FireFox became searchable sometime before June 2014. This IS a violation of PRIVACY. Zabasearch previously claimed to only share names and email addresses of users and information already published elsewhere, NOT the text of personal messages.
However, numerous complaints about Zabasearch have been posted with various agencies - such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding Internet privacy, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), and the California Office of Privacy Protection (COPP) - as well as online, at such sites as ConsumerAffairs.com and RipoffReport.  KnowPrivacy observes:
- Users Only Complain When They Perceive an Invasion of Privacy and Know Where to File a Complaint
- An analysis of the complaints about ZabaSearch revealed two distinctive spikes in the numbers of complaints during the five-year period (see chart), one in mid 2005 and another in mid 2006.
- A conversation with the president and co-founder of ZabaSearch, Robert Zakari, revealed that the first spike coincided with a critical article in the San Francisco Chronicle, by David Lazarus. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse quickly picked up the story and discussed the company in its May 2005 newsletter. A follow-up article in August by the same author explicitly mentioned the PRC, whose website directed users to complain to the FTC.
- Zakari also pointed out that the 2006 spike coincided with ZabaSearch removing their opt-out policy from the website. The PRC's monthly newsletter again featured ZabaSearch and specifically directed readers to complain to the FTC.
- We believe these spikes illustrate that when a specific instance of the public display of a consumer's personal information is made known to them, and they are provided with specific instructions regarding to whom to complain, consumers are concerned and will voice those concerns to advocacy organizations and regulators.
- Main, Darren (December 13, 2010). "Did Intelius Buy Zabasearch?". FinderMind.
- "Premium Services". Zabasearch. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Davids, Irene. "Reviews: ZABASearch.com In Their Own Words ('Free People Search and Public Information Search Engine')". KillerStartups. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Jardin, Xeni (May 6, 2005). "Your Identity, Open to All". Wired news.
- Davids, Irene. "ZABASearch.com - Search People For Free: In Their Own Words ('Free People Search and Public Information Search Engine')". KillerStartups: Reviews. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Lazarus, David (April 15, 2005). "It's impressive, scary to see what a Zaba search can do". SFGate.
- "Reviews: Zabasearch (People Search)". Reviewopedia. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- "People Search Websites and What You Should Know". Reviewopedia. December 6, 2013.
- "Protect Yourself From Identity Theft". Reviewopedia. January 23, 2013.
- "Complaints". KnowPrivacy. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Danette of Bayonne, NJ (February 1, 2012). "Sample complaint: 'The company is listing my personal information without permission, and I work in a correctional setting, which could put me and my family at risk.'". ConsumerAffairs.com: Consumer Complaints & Reviews:.
- "Company Directory: Zabasearch". RipoffReport: Complaints, Reviews, Scams, Lawsuits, Frauds, Reported. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- "Complaints". KnowPrivacy. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Ramasastry, Anita (2005-05-12). "Can We Stop Zabasearch -- and Similar Personal Information Search Engines?: When Data Democratization Verges on Privacy Invasion". FindLaw (Thomson Reuters). Retrieved 2008-02-05.