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Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 10.06.28 AMThis ‘hack’ will come in handy if you really need to know who your Semi-Anonymous Browser is. It’s a simple technique that in essence tracks the apparently random list of 10 Candidates presented in the Semi-Anonymous Browser (SABs) field. It’s clever and works fairly well and I therefore wanted to share it with you. It’s likely that as more people use this hack and discuss the use of it, LinkedIn HQ may change their algorithm to close the exploit, so use it while you can!


Your Semi-Anonymous Browser is “Someone in/at [X Company/Organization/Field] in [Y Country]. Or it could be “Vice President at [X Company]. These folks have decided to remain partially hidden when browsing other people on LinkedIn. Personally, anything that makes it harder to make a connection on a professional networking site is not generally a good strategy in my book but I concede that there are some good reasons why remaining Semi-Anonymous on LinkedIn is useful and perhaps necessary (i.e a journalist protecting their sources). Btw – if you’re not aware that you are Semi-Anonymous, please check your visibility settings. You could be missing out.


You can find Semi-Anonymous Browsers in the “WHO’S VIEWED YOUR PROFILE” section in your sidebar of your Profile section.

Screen Shot 2013 01 10 at 4 59 42 PM

Here are the steps you need to take to try this hack:


  1. Click on your Semi-Anonymous Browser (SAB).
  2. Take a Screenshot of the 10 SAB Candidates that are presented.
  3. Wait 24 Hours and take a 2nd Screenshot of those 10 SAB Candidates.
  4. Compare 1st & 2nd Screenshots. If one person in the SAB view shows up in both lists….
  5. The persistent person is your actual browser, unmasked. I’ve marked mine in red in the following 3 examples.


Example #1 “Someone in the Information Technology and Services Industry from Greater Chicago Area”
Screen Shot 2013 01 10 at 6 02 33 AMSCREENSHOT 1:
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Example #2 “Vice President at JPMorgan Chase”


Screen Shot 2013 01 10 at 6 23 48 PMSCREENSHOT 1:

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John Skitch 1


Interestingly, I noticed that LinkedIn refers to these SAB candidates as “Red Herrings” – see the url identifier:

Red Herring


Pretty cool, right? What should you do with this information? Why not reach out to the person you unmasked and ask them if you can help? They will doubtless be very surprised that you found them, perhaps even impressed! You could share this technique with them, or not. You are now in a stronger position with more options/opportunities than you had prior to knowing about this hack. Another strategy is not to bother with the hack at all and simply ‘browse back’ all of the first 10 Candidates, regardless. Doing this makes it look like you’ve identified your SAB, when you have not. It could open doors and does not take much of your time. The down-side to this scattergun approach, of course, is that you are reliant on the other person to make the next move. The side-side of this approach: 9 people that had absolutely no prior contact with you are now wondering who the heck you are and why you just browsed them!


One final point. This tool is not perfect. Though I found 3 great examples for you above, my testing revealed that this technique only worked some of the time. Of the 10 SABs I tested this week, 7 wouldn’t ‘wash’ completely through with new Candidates no matter how many times I checked. So please bear that in mind. See my earlier post on intelli-guessing SABs here, where I show you how to make an intelligent guess on identifying SABs by cold, hard logic. Do take a look at that post and use that technique in conjunction with this hack for best results.


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That’s all from me for this week. Please take a few moments to share this article with your network. I read and respond to all comments.

By Andy Foote