Your Ads Are Busted!

Recently, I got approached by SEOQuake developers (of SEODigger fame) who let me know about their new tool called AdsSpy. AdsSpy is a tool that does the opposite of SpyFu – if SpyFu lets you see “inside” AdWords and who bids on what keywords, AdsSpy lets you see what sites belong to the same owner based on their AdSense pub id, Yahoo partner id and so on.

Besides AdSense and Yahoo! Publisher Network, AdsSpy also handles smaller advertising networks such as Chitika, AdBrite, Kontera, Amazon and IntelliTXT. The source of information for AdsSpy is the SeoDigger database of sites. As of today, that is 338 835 unique advertiser IDs. Not much compared to the overall number of sites using different ways of monetisation through displaying ads, but it’s growing, just as fast as the user base of SEODigger (for those unfamiliar with it, it’s a tool that lets you see what keywords a site ranks for, based on the keywords appearing on the site itself).

What are the possible uses of this tool? Well, when I had my first look at it, I thanked God it’s not 2005 any more when most people’s main source of income was AdSense. Back in the days when blackhat MFA networks consisted of thousands of sites, this tool could have been a threat to a lot of them. However, nowadays that a lot of people have switched to affiliate networks and learned to mask their affiliate IDs, this is not that scary any more.

AdsSpy basically fills the niche that was empty so far, with people wondering how to search for bits of JavaScript code (which is how advertisers’ IDs are mostly implemented in the pages displaying ads) – something that traditional Google search is not capable of, despite Google’s long proven ability to index JavaScript. I see how this tool can benefit AdWords publishers using Google’s publisher network first of all. The developers suggest also such uses as researching ad placement and identifying site owners.

While playing with the tool, I tried looking up the O’Reilly network and found out that they use AdSense on at least 12 domains and 2 subdomains and Yahoo ads on at least 5 domains that AdsSpy knows about (the tool displays the complete list of all sites). Too bad the tool doesn’t show you the size of income the site owner gets from these ads – would have been interesting to see how AdSense treats its premium publishers these days (O’Reilly is one, isn’t it?)

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