Using the popular Google Analytics service, web developers collect attendance data (such as country, browser type and operating system) by users of different domains. To do this, a unique identification number (code) is added to the html-code of each page – it is thanks to this number you can track the connection between different sites. Google AdSense, Amazon and AddThis work on the same principle.
There are several resources that allow you to backtrack this unique code and find linked sites. My personal favourite is
Analytics code search results on SameID site
For more advanced users I can recommend the NerdyData resource
You can enter any code in NerdyData and view the search results.
I recommend using several tools at once, because they sometimes provide different results. During the experiment I found out that SpyOnWeb produces less results than SameID, and in Meanpath there were two results that neither SpyOnWeb nor SameID could find.
You can enter more codes Analytics or AdSense in Google search – just don’t forget to quote them (for example, “UA-12345678”). This way you will get the results of the reverse search from other tools. In addition, if the address or code of the site Analytics has recently been changed, through Google, you may be able to find stored in the cache results of services by type SameID and still reach the associated site. To view the saved copy, click on the green down arrow next to the result:
Page code checkout
The results obtained by the code search tools should be checked. It is done simply – when viewing the code of the website homepage.
To do this, in browsers Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera right-click on any place on the page and select View Source or Source in the context menu that appears.
In Safari, to do this, open the Page menu in the upper right corner of the window and select the same command.
After that a source code window will appear – we will search for Analytics code in it. To do this, select Edit > Find or use the CTRL + F key combination for Windows (similar combination for Mac: ⌘ + F). Enter the following tags in the search box:
- AdSense: Pub- or ca-pub
- Analytics: UA-
- Amazon: &tag=
- AddThis: #pubid / pubid
Search for Google Analytics code in page source code
Search for Linked Sites through WHOIS Services
We can extract valuable information about people associated with the site we are interested in from information about who the domain is registered to. This information includes names, email addresses, postal addresses and telephone numbers. Of course, it is possible that they are already outdated, but for us it is not essential – we are simply looking for links between sites.
There are a lot of WHOIS services, I recommend that you always check the information found on several services. I like
The Domaintools website, which contains the e-mail address and name of the organization that registered the domain – with this data you can find links to other sites.
There is also
Display all domains registered at the same email address on Whoisology.
Some WHOIS services do not recognize Cyrillic URLs. Use this tool to convert the address:
The bulk of images and documents uploaded to the network contain metadata – information recorded when creating or editing a file. One of the Bellingcat journalists, Melissa Hanham, already
On social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, metadata is automatically deleted, but most other resources do not. Metadata is often stored on small websites and blogs.
The two, in my opinion, most convenient tools for viewing metadata are
Metadata documents in ODF format on Jeffrey’s EXIF Viewer.
There are many different types of metadata, but we are primarily interested in EXIF, Maker Notes, ICC Profile, Photoshop and XMP.
Metadata analysis results on FotoForensics.
They contain information such as the exact version of the image editor. For example, the XMP field “Creator Tool” may contain “Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery 15.4.3555.308”. The “XMP Toolkit” field often displays similar data, such as “Adobe XMP Core 5.3-c011 66.145661, 2012/02/06-14:56:27”. The main thing is to select fields where specific and detailed information is specified. When analyzing a photo, sometimes the model of the camera it was taken on is displayed (for example, “KODAK DX4330 DIGITAL CAMERA”).
Of course, millions of different people may have the same version of Photoshop or the same camera, so this information should only be used if there is other reliable evidence, such as Google Analytics code. But in the metadata of the document there is also more specific information, such as the name of the author.
Sometimes the metadata of a photo may even contain a unique camera serial number. Reverse this information with the tools
It often happens that web content suddenly changes or disappears – and with it all the Analytics codes that are important to us. Fortunately, we have the ability to save web pages. It is preferable to save not only the sites you study, but also search results from SameID and other services.
For quick and convenient saving, use
In addition, Wayback Machine inserts date and time in the code of the archived page, so that this tool
There is one catch – all these tools allow you to manually archive only individual pages, not the entire site. In addition, they will not work if the resource is protected from search robots or automatic copying of content for placement on other sites. In this case, it is best to save individual pages on your computer and / or take a screenshot. I use the free Web Page Saver tool from
In addition, it makes sense to
If you study a large group of sites, it’s easy to get confused about the connections between them. For convenience, organize them in a diagram.
The free application
First, enter all the elements you have found: site addresses, names, organization names and unique codes. If you have learned something new, do not forget to add this information to the chart. The yEd application has icons for computers, files, people, etc., so you can let creativity go.
The choice of charts and graphs is quite large. In this example, I used the Circular and BCC Isolated charts, displaying as a circle sites, each linked to a central Analytics code.
In this article, we looked at open source information and tools that show how to find the site owner and allow you to find links between sites that seem to have nothing in common. We also found that in order for no one to doubt the results of our investigation, it is necessary to look for confirmation from other sources and always save the pages found.