I just wanted to ask a quick question...
I have always wondered how you find out who the "anonymous" people are that leave comments. Is it a simple thing that you could e-mail on "how to"? A lot of my anonymous commenters are nice enough to leave name, but I would love to know who just a few of them were that didn't.
Thank you for your time.
Well, this is easy enough. Depending on what you want to know, you can get a lot of information for relatively little work.
First things first, you need to have some kind of site meter. There's a lot of different options available, and most of them are free. Personally, I like SiteMeter.com, Google Analytics, and StatCounter. Each of those sites offer free tracking, and you also have the option to upgrade. Depending on the size of your readership, you can probably get away with the free tracking just fine.
For arguments sake, I'm going to pretend that you all have StatCounter.
Whenever someone leaves a comment, they leave a timestamp. If you can match the timestamp with your sitemeter, you'll have an IP address. If you have a few comments about the same time, you can view your recent visitors by detail and StatCounter will provied you with the time of the visit, the length of the visit, what pages they looked at, what they clicked on, the referrring URL, if they downloaded anything.... it will even tell you the name of their first born. (Not really.)
Anyways, you will be able to see what page the visitor exited on and at what time.
Now, if you click on the little magnifying glass icon, you'll be able to see where that IP address comes from. If they have a blog, it will be linked. And most of the time, the "anonymous" commenter is someone you actually know.
If it's someone you don't know, you can trace the IP address. If you're using StatCounter, on the left hand column, they have a link for "lookup IP address" If you're not using StatCounter, and you want to use another IP address lookup, I recommend using Arin:WhoIs or GeoBytes.
Depending on how far you want to take things, once you look up the IP address, you can easily find the name and address of pretty much everyone that reads your blog.
It's actually kinda creepy.