Look What The Search Engines Dragged In!
from the how-Google-turned-us-into-a-porn-site dept
A month ago, we had a post called Naked Women And Wireless Security, which I started out by noting: “Yes, I’m a bit worried about what kind of people will find this post via Google in a few days…” Apparently, I was right to be worried. Someone posted a comment saying that we were the #2 result on Google for naked women (we’re number 4 as of this posting). In checking over Techdirt’s traffic logs, we realized that we were getting a lot of traffic from that search… and also from MSN where it turns out we’re (as of this posting) the number one search for naked women.
As a few of us here were chuckling over the somewhat random influx of confused search engine driven visitors, someone dropped us a bit of feedback reminding us of an old post where we mentioned the various oddities we saw in people who found specific stories via Google, and asked us to revisit the subject. Like many sites, obviously, we get a fair amount of traffic from search engines (mainly Google) on completely random searches. Many of the people who visit are (I assume) well meaning — but confused to the nature of what they’ve stumbled on. Perhaps it’s an interface issue on our part, but the ensuing comments and conversations are often amusing.
The all time record holder, which keeps getting updated is this conversation (mostly of people who are not well meaning) from 1999 on someone who was stealing AOL passwords. It appears that somewhere (no idea where) there’s a search that people are doing on how to steal AOL passwords, and they’re driven to this particular posting — which now has a ridiculously long comment thread from clueless folks trying to break into AOL accounts, and a bunch of scammers trying to steal their AOL passwords back. Then, there’s the VPR Matrix support thread. When Best Buy announced their own computer line under the VPR Matrix brand name, we were skeptical. However, our post made it to Google, and people apparently began to think that it was the VPR Matrix support/fan forums. We also had a brief claim to fame in 1999 when the first news was leaked that CBS was going to have a show called Survivor. For a while, we were the top result on Lycos (which was still popular then) for “CBS Survivor” leading people to try to get on the show by posting comments right here at Techdirt. Another popular one (and I don’t know how people are finding this one) is a story we had from 2000 about some random dot com millionaire who planned to give away millions to educational causes in Central America. For some reason, people who are down and out on their luck have found this page and continually comment (there were two comments yesterday, even) begging for money from this guy — as if he was reading the forum. This particular posting has also resulted in a number of random emails (no explanation included) to Techdirt’s feedback line, explaining horrible life stories and begging for money. While we’d love to help people out, we’re not dot com millionaires, and aren’t really in a position to make much of a difference.
Anyway, this is all a nice little reminder that the various search engines are still far from perfect when it comes to understanding what people are really searching for. In the meantime though, it provides us a bit of amusement, as we ponder what people searching for porn must think as they stumble upon Techdirt.