Archive for the 'Internet' Category

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.

Adbeat bot

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Some Web bots are cool, others not so much.

If you take a look at the screenshot below, this adbeat bot (a competitive research tool for online advertisers) hit 108 pages on cleverhack in nearly 40 minutes. Hrm…

Not cool bot, not cool

Time goes by

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Upon the news that Rutgers University is spending millions on cyber security.

I’ll just sit here on my (virtual) rocking chair and muse about the fact that about 20 years ago, abuse of the the Unix ‘wall’ command caused minor havoc on eden.rutgers.edu, especially during heavy use in the evening.

And yes, the ability to use ‘wall’ was quickly removed by the admins.

Carry on.

Chrome Error Message

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Below is a screenshot of the error message Chrome provides when a Web site refuses to load because there is no needed redirect from the non-www to the needed www version.

A) Why doesn’t Chrome automatically try to redirect like modern Firefox does?

B) Not like anyone but a Web developer would even recognize what DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN even means.

C) Yeah, I know the fault is technically on the Webmaster’s side on this one, but still, a browser should try to correct.

Chrome Error Message