(This post has been updated at the bottom of the page.)
Recently, on several blog posts, I mentioned in passing that I'm not allowed to read other people's blogs or post comments. When quite a few people, in both comments and e-mails, asked why this is the case, Jason and I both explained that it was an issue of safety. I posted a detailed response in the comment section to one post, and Jason posted his explanation in his post HERE (be warned -- with all due respect to my husband, it's a bit more crass than what I usually post and may offend some conservative readers).
Jason and I were both a bit surprised that people didn't know online activity can be tracked. We talked it over and thought it would be best to post a thread on internet safety.
Before I begin, I'm aware of the fact that this thread will likely cause people to be reticent in commenting, so I'd like to address my fellow bloggers. I jokingly commented that I could sub-title this post "In which, JGirl never gets another comment again." My dear fellow bloggers -- please understand that I'm not trying to be an alarmist. There are many, many people in the community who are very trusting, and it concerns me. I apologize if my concern causes a lack of dialogue in comments and the like. Comments are fun to get. It is, after all, somewhat disheartening to spend hours writing and get no feedback. It feels like you're talking to yourself. You're not. Keep on blogging. There's a need for others in the community, who are attracted to this alternative lifestyle, to feel understood. The lack of comments doesn't indicate a lack of interest in your blog. For what it's worth, I get maybe one percent feedback -- for every five hundred hits I get to a post, I will likely get less than five comments. So please, don't be discouraged from blogging. If your post helps even one person, it's worth it.
This all came about because I had some unpleasant experiences here on my blog. I had one person in particular who repeatedly attacked me and Jason. Over, and over again, they attacked and when other readers came to my side, they attacked my readers. At first I set up my blog to moderate comments and would simply delete the nasty ones. But this all began at a time when I was robbed (someone broke into my car), and I was pretty freaked out. I wanted to stop this person from reading my blog. So Jason and I did some research.
Blogger itself does not allow tracking of IP addresses. Blogger has a limited stat counter. With some behind-the-scenes digging (under the "design" feature at the top of the owner's page), I can easily see where hits are coming from, how many hits in a day, how many comments I get, if people are re-posting or linking to a post, etc. But I can only see if people who have Blogger I.D.'s are posting. That's about as far as Blogger goes. Clearly, people who have malicious intent are going to post anonymously. There is no way through Blogger to track anonymous comments, other than to maybe see how they got to your blog.
So we looked into other methods. There are many. Statcounter is the one I went with. It's free, it's easy, and literally minutes after hooking my blog up to statcounter, I had detailed information as to who viewed my blog, what they read, where they lived, their IP address, how long they visited, how often, etc. I set this up for the sole purpose of tracking the person attacking us, and I was successful. It was very easy to match the time of the comments to an IP address. I banned that IP address and that was that.
While I was tracking, I found the stats very interesting and would take an occasional peek through to see which countries readers came from. But out of respect to the privacy of my readers, I stopped looking at any tracking information after I was able to block the attacker. However, for my own safety reasons, I still have my blog linked to statcounter, in case anything like this happens again.
This wasn't all that happened, however. Other issues came up as well. I do not want to cause suspicion to fall on any one person; nor do I want to violate any confidentiailty. So I will speak in very general terms. These are some of the things that have happened that I, and likely many of you, though not all, have become aware of.
Men in the community posing as women, garnering private information, establishing trust, and violating that trust. One person posing as a "couple," also establishing trust and getting money from people with sales of books, affiliate links, and network fees. Several people creating false identities, forming friendships, only to violate those friendships. There have been cases when some of these people actually raised money for a "cause." Who knows what they did with that money raised. Men posing as Doms, even establishing relationships with submissives, only to rob them of their money and leave them penniless and heartbroken. Men posing as women who are prominent members of the blogging community.
Why do people do this? Maybe they get a rise out of it. Some do it under the guise of "research." Some are just creepers. But some have much more dangerous motives. So please, be careful. And from your own persective, try not to get offended if people don't want to share their personal information. It is wise not to be trusting.
My blog has been linked to porn sites. I've received offensive, vulgar e-mails, have been propositioned, and even received financial offers from porn sites who want to link to my blog and give me an affiliate link. No, thank you.
This is all to say...please, proceed with caution. This is why Jason doesn't allow me to read or comment on blogs. This is why my access to the DD community is severely limited.
Jason and I are a very real couple. But we're a couple just like you. I am a submissive, and he is my dominant. I am also a writer, so sharing our experiences comes fairly naturally to me. That is why we blog, to give a real-life glimpse into a d/s dynamic. But we have a family, and we need to protect our family's safety. Although we have a very small number of real life friends and family who know about our lifestyle, we mostly keep it private. Friends and family do not know I blog. It really is a shame we have to be so secretive, but it is what it is.
My personal belief is that most people are good. But you really never know who isn't. It is also my personal belief that the truth always outs in time. So please, readers. Be safe. There is no need to rush into trusting someone. Take your time, and be cautious.
Someone asked how to post on blogs without being able to be tracked. I'm not sure about that, but I can tell you that it is more difficult to track mobile devices than personal computers and email is a safer way of communicating.
Please, feel free to share this post. It is admirable to be a trusting person, but this is one area where I would caution you to be very careful. If anyone has any further information for readers, please comment in the section below or send me an email at jasonsgirl001@Gmail.com.
Be safe, people.
Jason and Jason's Girl
It's come to my attention that some readers took the main point of this post to be that it's never safe to post on any blogs, anonymously or not. That wasn't my point at all. My point is that the internet is not a safe place, and in the interest of being safe, please use discretion when posting. Some people are absolutely trustworthy. I've made some really amazing friends in the community. I'm not suggesting not to trust anyone -- I'm merely suggesting we use caution online, as sometimes things aren't as safe as they may seem. Once we know what the possible dangers are, we can act accordingly.
To answer some questions that were raised:
Incognito browers do not prevent your IP address and location from being shown to websites you visit; they merely prevent your visits being recorded in your history.
Clearing your history only removes a "cookie" on your computer. This does nothing to hide your online activity from websites you visited.
Proxy servers and other anonymous browsing options are available, which block websites from viewing your location; please read comments below for more details.