f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

August 22, 2004

referer madness (cont.)

Filed under: — David Giacalone @ 12:35 pm

arrow circle


nobody on the street

stray dog stops to bite

its wagging tail

of George Swede (Brooks Books, 2000) 


ooh neg  No, I haven’t been chasing my own tail or smoking wacky tabaccy.  But,

I have been feeling slightly out of control ever since I discovered this weblog’s

Referers Page a couple weeks ago.  I keep going back to it and clicking to see

the [purported] sources of page hits or visitors to f/k/a . ., especially, when the

referer URL is a search engine.


Sure, I could chalk this up to playful curiosity, or the haiku-lover’s penchant

for surprise and juxtaposition.  But, it feels obsessive — as if it is taking up

far too many of each days scarce minutes.


It’s not as if I’m alone in this practice:

Denise Howell is on the lookout for seekers of yoga bags and stocking girls.

So, she wasn’t fazed that Bag and Baggage came in first on a search for

denise bag(a knitting accessory), although it surprised me that f/k/a was second.


LinkMaster Evan Schaeffer has been known to use his Referer page to spy on


George M. Wallace, in his Fool guise, has traced back seekers of the Goddess of Folly,

and tried to discover obscure clues behind record-setting hit tallies.


The currently underemployed Scheherazade Fowler finds and defines her audience, with

the help of her Referer list, while bemoaning yukky queries [e.g., for “executed women” and

“arm pits”] that might bring unsavory types to her genteel forum. 


j baumgart, the scratchpad cyber-librarian, playfully checks out the competition’s referer lists,

in search of irregularities that might explain spikes in their hit totals.


And, while cranky poet/critic Mike Snyderfinds fools, fans, and fiends by scouring his Referer

page, NY Civil Lawyer Matthew Lerner has been known to cry “eureka!” when his Referer list

leads to treasure troves for legal research, and Steve Minor‘s watching his Hamdi hits.


ooh flip

I guess this Referer Madness might not be too dangerous an addiction, and it can

be fun.   Showing up on the first page of results for <Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro>,

“bar advocate boycott,” or even “consumer discontent pdf”, means my placement

is excellent on many search engine.  And, it’s amusing to discover that Jeeves brings

up f/k/a near the top of its results, when asked how to remove moth ball odors [thanks

to a haiku that mentions the smell — but not the solution!]. 


While some webloggers seem spooked when their Referers stem from macabre or

salacious search engine queries, I’ve concluded that such findings do not mean the

searchers actually reached the referee site.  Instead, it appears that our Referer pages

list so-called referals even when there has been no click-through to our sites — the

Referer listing only means that something on our site has been included in the search

engine’s query results.



k key  pasa?


If any techies know differently, please tell us.  However, today’s Referer listings

for this weblog seem to confirm my conclusion:  I have had 13 “referer hits” at f/k/a today

stemming from a search — apparently at an Arabic-language Google site — for <k>.  That’s

right, the letter “k.”   I don’t know if the searcher hit the Search button too soon, or was really

looking for “k”, but there were 203 million resulting links, with f/k/a showing up on the

37th page.  It doesn’t seem logical that that particular search resulted in 13 click-throughs

(or even one) to this weblog.


So, weirdos and errant searchers are probably not finding us as often as it may appear from

our Referer Lists.  And, those lists are just one more over-inflated measure of visitors to our

weblogs.  Should keep us feeling safe and humble.  Meanwhile, I hope my weblogging

colleagues will reassure me that the initial obsession with my referer page will soon subside,

and let me get on to my next cyber addiction.


For updated results of interest from our Referer Listings, click The Inadvertant Searchee.


Update (Aug. 22, 2004, 1 AM): Just had to share this Referer factoid:  f/k/a showed up as

the 3rd result (out of only 7) for <swim fan +”associated press”> in an msn search on

Friday.  Talk about disappointing a searcher.  Explanation: at the bottom of every page

of this weblog, you’ll find “This site is using the Swim Fan theme.”   Which reminds

me:  stop using my colors, Bloglines!

P.S. ooh  Related Blessing in Disguise:  After receiving “a few complaints” about the way

Page Hits were being counted on the Harvard Weblog Server, the program’s executive

director decided two weeks ago to “temporarily disable” the Harvard Weblog Ranking Page!

While irked that we live in a world where whiny-squeaky wheels can so easily spur

such overkill, it’s been rather nice not wasting my time with yet another meaningless

measuring device. [no, j, you didn’t cause the decision to disable]


smoking a pipe
by lantern light…
spring breeze


translated by David G. Lanoue   


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