Want to know whether your contractor, nanny or blind date has a criminal record?

Chances are analysts at USSearch.com Inc. can get that information from its comprehensive database of criminal records, real estate documents and credit information.

The company, which began 14 years ago as a service that reconnected lost relatives, has become one of the top 25 directory sites on the Web, along with Yahoo Local and WhitePages.com, according to the latest data from Comscore, an Internet analysis company.

The 60-employee company, based in Culver City, was recently acquired by a private equity company. It was previously part of First Advantage, a public company that provides employment screening. Before that, USSearch.com had merged with a division of First American, which gave the company access to real estate data.

The frequent mergers have resulted in the company having the latest information on real estate, employment, criminal and credit data, said Rod Stoddard, chief executive of USSearch.com.

"We are fundamentally a database technology company devoted to finding lost family and friends," Stoddard said. "You can go to a county courthouse to dig up someone's criminal record and pay a fee, not knowing whether you're even at the right courthouse. We've eliminated those steps for our users."

Subscribers to USSearch.com pay $10 a month for complete access to its criminal, real estate, employment and credit records. Users get monthly e-mail updates on whether a sex offender has moved into their neighborhoods. The updates include maps with red dots to show where sex offenders live, plus their photos.

As people become more Internet-friendly and search-happy, they're not satisfied with just Googling a neighbor's name.

"On USSearch.com, you can find out who he works for and how he can afford that house just down the street from you," Stoddard said.

Sales of such services have ballooned by 300 percent over the past three years, he said.

USSearch.com will begin targeting social networking communities, such as online dating sites, to sell background checks before the first date.

The company is also staying true to its roots. For a discounted rate, USSearch.com provides its data to EMQ Children & Family Services, an agency that links foster children with family members.

In addition, the company created a customized FamilyFinders Program, which had an 87 percent success rate finding parents identified as "whereabouts unknown" in the Superior Courts of California and considered lost for up to 18 years.

Good Googling Seal

Google has given its blessing to a local Internet ad company.

Woodland Hills-based ReachLocal Inc. is a digital advertising company that helps small businesses promote themselves online. Because local plastic surgeons, lawyers and certified public accountants don't have the time, knowledge or resources to seek customers on the Web, the company takes over their advertising budget and helps them spend it online.

In that process, ReachLocal uses Google AdWords, which allows users to buy key words that are matched with search queries.

Last week, the company announced that Google has named ReachLocal as an authorized reseller of AdWords. What does this mean?

"A stamp of approval," said Chief Executive Zorik Gordon. "And it ain't easy to get that approval. We're the first nontraditional media company to get that and it's a big milestone. It says we're not just a fly-by-night operation. We have Google's blessing."

Other than the kiss on its forehead, the company gets to sport Google's reseller logo and access technical support from a team of Google ad specialists. Other Google-authorized resellers include the Yellow Pages Group and AT & T.;

The four-year-old company has about $68 million in venture funding and employs 300 people, including 50 in L.A. Other U.S. offices include locations in Dallas and Louisiana.

Ad Adventurer

Christophe Louvion is the new chief technology officer for online ad rep firm Gorilla Nation.

Louvion joins Gorilla Nation from Shopzilla.com, an L.A.-based comparison-shopping site, where he served as the software architect and vice president of operations. Previously, he was a software engineer for the U.S. Attorney's Office of San Diego.

Gorilla Nation, based in L.A., represents about 500 Web publishers and sells their ads to Fortune 500 companies.

Contract Bonanza

Business at Computer Sciences Corp. is booming.

Last week, it announced government contracts totaling $765 million for management of informational technology systems for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; departments of the Navy, Army and Air Force; Health and Human Services; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of
Transportation; and State Department.

This is in addition to commercial contracts that total $370 million to provide tech support for various American companies.

In December, Computer Sciences said that it received a contract for up to $613 million to manage voice services for the Defense Department's Defense Information Systems Agency. During that month, the El Segundo company also announced a five-year, $113 million support contract for NASA.

Staff reporter Booyeon Lee can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230, or at blee@labusinessjournal.com .

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