Reverse engineering your competitors’ websites is a great way to get lots of information on potentially lucrative sub niches. Let’s say you found a particular website and want to find out what other sites the same webmaster owns or operates. Fortunately there are a number of tools available to do your competitors sleuthing for you. Although each service is different, you’ll generally start with a “seed” that’s connected to the webmaster for these webmaster intelligence services to work. The seed can be:
- A Google Analytics ID.
- A Google Adsense publisher ID.
- An affiliate id.
- An IP address that your target site is hosted on.
- A domain, which is what most people will use.
Tracking Adsense / Google Analytics (GA) Owners’ Sites
Before providing an overview of these tools, let me remind readers that these services are just part of your toolkit for sniffing out domain ownership clues. For example, I’ve entered one of my domain names and got results that associated different people’s domains with mine (because they were on the same shared host). Keep in mind that the returned results still need to be sifted through in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. Some of these codes are visible on the webpages themselves while other codes (like Adsense and Google Analytics) require you to view the page’s source.
- Spyonweb.com/ – Track by Adsense, GA, IP and Domain. Free but doesn’t tend to return complete results in my tests.
- Sameid.net – Very wide range of input options – GA, Adsense, Amazon + other affiliate code /product, Clickbank affiliate/product, Addthis ID. Gives you partial / obscured results and a limit of 5 searches a day until you opt for the $10 upgrade.
- Namesense.com – Search by Adsense, GA, IP, Domain and Addthis ID.
- Majestic.com’s Neighbourhood Checker Does only one thing (find all sites on an IP) but does it very well. It ranks the domains according to the number of backlinks, which makes it a great tool for sniffing out which of the owner’s sites are most successful from an organic rankings standpoint.
Dead Tracking Services
I like to keep track of services that were once popular but have now been shuttered just in case people are searching for them and wondering whatever happened to them.
- AdsSpy.com, which rebranded later as WhoRush.com (both are dead).
- SameOwner.com (still ‘alive’ but gives poor results / not properly updated).
Tracking via WHOIS Information
Tracking by WHOIS means not only being able to gather information according to an IP address, but also being able to track via the domain owner’s name, phone number or their registrant email.
- WebBoar.com/ – A free service.
- DomainCrawler.com/ – A free service that has a few different add-ons and widgets for specialized searches.
- Domaintools.com – A paid service that also allows you to track who the previous owner(s) of a domain name were.
What Would Motivate Someone to Track Sites?
There are many possible reasons why you’d want to track down a webmaster’s sites, but the most common one is basically a compliment to the site owner. Perhaps you like the way he’s promoting Amazon or Clickbank products and you want to see what other products he or she is trying to rank in the search engines. Some people are good at building sites but not at SEO, so perhaps you want to muscle in on their niches because you know you’re better at SEO than they are.