During the Interactive Site Reviews and SERP Quality Control Forum at PubCon, Google Engineer Matt Cutts uttered a now famous sentence “Let’s be frank, you and I, how many sites do you have?” He then proceeded to list off domain after domain that the owner of realestatelicense.com (who had volunteered to have their site reviewed) admitted to owning. This immediately set off a firestorm of speculation about Matt’s secret tools and more importantly – what kind of information Google was collecting about webmasters.
I have been reading all of the different posts and speculation about this over the last couple of weeks and decided to do something simple yesterday morning – a WhoIs lookup for the site that was being reviewed – realestatelicense.com.
Hmmm – doesn’t seem to be anything private about this one. All of their information is right there in plain view (some info blurred out by me):
It’s obvious from this that the main domain is alliedschools.com so just to be sure I ran a quick whois on alliedschools.com – yup, it’s the same owner. Then I took a quick stroll over to alliedschools.com and saw this:
Yep – all of the domains Matt was listing in one, nice easy list – courtesy of the site’s owner. You’ll notice that they are using nofollow on many of them (highlighted in pink thanks to SEO for FireFox).
So it looks like the only tools Matt was actually using (in this case at least) was a simple WhoIs lookup and he let the site owner basically do the rest for him. Does this mean that Matt/Google don’t have any secret tools that we don’t know about? Absolutely not.
So why didn’t Matt come right out and tell everyone how he got this info when he did his recap of the session? That would be too easy. He likes to see the theories and it makes for good entertainment. I’m actually glad he didn’t because we got this great bit of information from Cshel as result.