Did you ever wanted to know what other sites a blogger owns? Maybe the blogger is blogging anonymously and didn’t have a contact address and you need to get in touch with him or her. If you can find out if the person has another site then maybe you can discover some means of contact. Or maybe you are just creepy and want stalk the poor guy. Andy Baio posted how he unmasked several bloggers using a simple reverse Google Analytics lookup.
Most bloggers use the same Google Analytics account to track visitors on multiple websites they own. If two websites share the same Google Analytics account ID, it is solid evidence that both sites are run by the same person. All you need is a reverse Google Analytics lookup tool. eWhois offers one for free.
Simply plug the anonymous domain name of the blogger whose identity you want to determine into eWhois, and it will show you what other sites share the same Google Analytics account. It will also show you across which sites the blogger is using the same Google AdSense ID, another evidence that proves that both sites are owned by the same person.
Profound apologies to Matt Cutts for using his site in this example.
A disturbing load of information. That’s why Andy Baio suggests all anonymous bloggers who wish to protect their identity to use a completely separate set of accounts for anonymous blogging activities – separate Google Analytics, separate email, separate domain registrar, separate web hosting.
eWhois isn’t the only available tool for spying on unaware bloggers. Services like DomainTools offer a chilling history of your domain and nameserver changes including record of all domains you own. This information can be bought by anybody for as low as $10 per month.
It’s surprising how many anonymous bloggers are so naïve about anonymity on the Internet. They take all precautions for hiding their identity such as hiding personal info in the domain record and using a different IP address from their other sites, but slip-up by sharing the same Google Analytics account. Writes Andy,
I decided to see how pervasive this problem is. Using a sample of 50 anonymous blogs pulled from discussion forums and Google news, only 14 were using Google Analytics, much less than the average. Half of those, about 15% of the total, were sharing an analytics ID with one or more other domains.
In about 30 minutes of searching, using only Google and eWhois, I was able to discover the identities of seven of the anonymous or pseudonymous bloggers, and in two cases, their employers. One blog about Anonymous’ hacking operations could easily be tracked to the founder’s consulting firm, while another tracking Mexican cartels was tied to a second domain with the name and address of a San Diego man.
For a good guide on how to blog anonymously one the Internet, read the PDF guide from Global Voices Online.