Archive for the 'Internet' Category

New android-app:// referrer

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

A few days ago, I noticed a new referrer to cleverhack, android-app://com.google.android.googlequicksearchbox

Glancing at the user log, it seems that it’s a referrer from a Google search box within an Android OS app.

android-app referrer

Here are some observations about the android-app referrer via Webmaster World, and here’s the official Android developer documentation for search.

Have you seen the android-app referrer?

Google Concert Tour Info

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Hot damn, Google now has concert tour information for your favorite acts. The tour info appears to be geo-located and apparently works whether you are logged into your Google account or not. As I write this, all of these are upcoming touring acts for the Philadelphia, PA area.

Sigur Ros Tour Google Sigur Ros

Henry Rollins Tour Google Henry Rollins

So I wonder how tour pages can be optimized for Google. For example, if you search Dave Matthews tour, the tour dates don’t explicitly show.

Dave Matthews Tour Google Dave Matthews

On the other hand, the links to venues and to buy tickets are buried in another layer of the Dave Matthews Web site. My best guess right now is that if a tour page links out to venue/ticket information, it gets preferential treatment in Google results.

Twitter for iPhone User Agent

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Earlier this week, I had a cleverhack visitor who clicked on the URL in my Twitter bio. Since they were using the Twitter for iPhone app, and the app does not open a mobile Web browser, a unique Twitter for iPhone user agent showed in the visitor logs.

Twitter for iPhone User Agent

Netscape 5.0
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 9_3_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/601.1.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/13E238 Twitter for iPhone

Twitter for iPhone UA

Interesting, huh?

Check My IP Address On Google

Monday, May 16th, 2016

This is a cool Google feature. If you type in “Check My IP” into Google, Google will return your device’s current public IP address. (I tested this on my laptop connected to wifi and my iPhone connected to AT&T.)

This is a great tip for those occasions when you need to troubleshoot a network connectivity issue.

Check My IP Address on Google

PS - Yes, I edited the IP Address in the screenshot, as you all know, an IPv4 IP Address should have four octets like xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx ranging between 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255

Questionable Twitter Growth Hacks

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

For the past few weeks, I’ve been on the receiving end of list notifications that look like the following. Seeing a list notification is nothing new, but this *cough* “Twitter growth strategy” *cough* appears to be awfully automated.

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Up until a few weeks ago, I observed a different attention grabbing tactic where I would initially see a list notification or an actual follow. Then, a few days later, the new (to me) account would favorite an old - could be days or event months old - tweet which somehow intersected with their interest. (Let’s just say a good number of so-called marketing and other B2B services used this strategy, and not too many consumer or personal Twitter accounts.) When I still didn’t follow back within 24 or 48 hours of the favorited tweet (there was no engagement with me otherwise), the account would then unfollow me.

It’s one thing if I noticed this scenario once or twice. For a while I was seeing several accounts try this “growth strategy” *each day*. The faux engagement actions are questionable enough, but the automation of faux engagement is…off-putting. I don’t know what social media marketing program is enabling these Twitter “growth hacks”.

Now this is a ridiculous referer domain

Monday, March 14th, 2016

For those of us who were curious, the maximum length of a domain name can be 63 characters. An enterprising spammer used about 57 of them (I could be wrong, I stopped counting) for his URL referer in the screenshot below.

In case you were wondering about long domain name efficacy for SEO, Moz advises to avoid domain names longer than 15 characters.

Ridiculous Referrer URL

Add a pink beating heart to your Gmail subject lines

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Earlier today, I peeked into my Gmail spam folder only to see an email message with what looked to be a gif in the subject line. I have seen a lot on the Internet, but a moving image in a subject line was a first.

beating pink subject line heart

Upon closer examination of the email, it appears that the spammer in this case used =?UTF-8?B?876sjQ===?= inline in the subject line to create the beating heart effect. To add to the fun, the body of the message used inline Windows-1252 encoding, I suppose to try to get around spam filters. Below is a partial sample of the email encoding…

<html>
<head>
<meta http-equiv=3D"Content-Type" content=3D"text/html;=charset=3DWindows-1252">
</meta></head><body><div style=3D"color:#5C5E93; =font-size:21pt">
&#105;=&#102;o&#117;n&#100; yo&#117;r &#112;&#104;o&#116;os i&#110;
=f&#97;&#99;eb&#111;&#1444;o&#107; . &#121;o&#117; a&#114;e=&#114;ogue!&#33;
</div></body></html>

There is a part of me that respects the ingenuity, although this totally got stuck in spam filters.

Also, here’s a tweet about the beating heart, according to stack overflow, the UTF encoding refers to a Google specific emoji set.

Quick Twitter SEO Observation

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Here’s a quick Twitter SEO observation. For the longest time, I had my about.me profile URL in my Twitter bio. It was ok (the analytics for the free version are less than optimal), so I decided to see if switching up the URL would improve SEO for Joy Larkin, as there are a few women named Joy Larkin on the Web, and of course, I wanted to rank first.

Last week, I added my LinkedIn URL to my Twitter profile. After a few days, my LinkedIn profile ranked first.

Joy Larkin SEO

Being ever curious, tonight I added my cleverhack about page to my Twitter bio. Now I’ll watch to see if that gets ranked first for my name.

Twitter Status Page

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

In light of today’s partial Twitter outage, the official Twitter Status Page is at http://status.twitter.com.

However, there may be situations where Twitter DNS is disrupted and you are unable to visit the official status page. In this case, you can visit http://twitterstatus.tumblr.com/.

It appears that status.twitter.com is just embedding the posts from twitterstatus.tumblr.com anyway. For example, if you click on a post link on twitter.status.com it redirects you to the tumblr.

TwitterStatus.png

HubSpot Webcrawler

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Apparently, SMB Internet Marketing services firm HubSpot has a webcrawler. This bot hit cleverhack over the weekend, crawling multiple pages of the site from 6 different IP addresses within the 54.174.#.# IP block (HubSpot AWS-HUBSPOT (NET-54-174-56-0-1) 54.174.56.0 - 54.174.59.255), which is HubSpot using Amazon Web Services.

HubSpot Webcrawler

Are 2015 E-Commerce Sales Slowing?

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

There’s been some rumblings in the news lately that e-commerce - especially for traditional retailers - is in a slowdown. Witness the following headlines…

Target’s Digital Sales Slowdown Disappoints Investors - Forbes

Target, Wal-Mart See Online Sales Growth Ebb in Ominous Sign - Bloomberg

Macy’s and Nordstrom Struggle to Adapt to Changing Retail Trends - 24/7 Wall Street

Weak sales trend hits Dick’s Sporting Goods - Chain Store Age

So why are these traditional retailers having problems? The economy going soft? Buyers willing to use no-name or smaller e-commerce sites? The ubiquity of Amazon? Google traffic directed elsewhere?

Schrödinger’s Cat Email Marketing

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

If you’re a Web-based service which requires your users to log in to unsubscribe or to change email preferences, I think you deserve your place in the spam folder.

Even moreso when your service fails to send password reset emails due to email deliverability issues and you require users to log in to use your Web site’s help functionality.

Oof.