Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Linked for Email Deliverability

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

A Yahoo Email Deliverability post was linked to on an article on the Electronic Frontier Foundation Web site.

From the search engine referrals I still see today, people are still having issues with Yahoo deliverabilty, mainly small and medium sized organizations. And while Yahoo has been the backer of such initiatives like the now to be made into an Internet standard Domain Keys, I would hope that pay to send email does not become reality.

Further reading: other Yahoo Email Deliverability posts

[tags] Email, Email Deliverability, Spam, Yahoo, Domain Keys, Pay To Send [/tags]

Adsense Arbitrage Sites Shut Down

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Finally Google gets some cahones and shuts these wastes of the Web down.

A quickie explanation, a Google arbitrage is the practice where a user clicks on a Google Ad only to get sent to a site with yet more Google ads. If you’ve browsed the Web, I’m sure you’ve seen these types of sites. The financial model works like this, the publisher of the site would spend say, $1,000 a day on AdWords to get visitors to his site and then see $1,400 in clicks from AdSense ads on his site. So the publisher would net $400. Do this with enough sites, and not only do you make crud on the Web, but you’d pull in some income.

I work with Google AdWords and I’m not surprised (in fact it’s a little late it seems) that this is going down. You see, the arbitrage sites hurt Google’s content network, so much so that advertisers have been pulling ads from it. (High CTR with low conversions.) In the past few months, Google has been reaching out to advertisers, calling and emailing, telling them what a wonderful deal their content network is.

Perhaps after these sites are banned the content network will be worth purposefully advertising on.

[tags]Google, Google AdWords, Google AdSense, arbitrage sites, the crusty parts of the Internet [/tags]

Didier’s Drive-by AdWords

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Earlier this week, Didier Stevens gave me a heads up on an experiment (if you could call it that) he performed using Google AdWords.

You see, a few weeks ago there was a story written by Brian Krebs at the Washington Post which revealed that Google AdWords was being used as a vector to infect Windows machines.

So, after this news broke you would think that a)Google would do more to police the content of Google AdWords and b)that users would be more attentive in what Google AdWords they clicked on. Not so.

Didier, ever being the smart aleck, set up a Google AdWords campaign 6 months ago with an ad that stated expressly “Drive-By Download Is your PC infected? Get it infected here!”. Once the ad was clicked, the user was taken to a landing page which simply thanked them for their visit and logged each visitor. No visitor was ever infected.

According to Didier…

During this period, my ad was displayed 259,723 times and clicked on 409 times. That’s a click-through-rate of 0.16%. My Google Adwords campaign cost me only €17 ($23). That’s €0.04 ($0.06) per click or per potentially compromised machine. 98% of the machines ran Windows (according to the User Agent string).

As a bonus, Google has taken no action against Didier’s curiously worded AdWords ad. Nothing at all. That says a lot about Google’s quality assurance.

I have been working with AdWords for the past couple of years and all that I can say it that I find Didier’s experiment so hilarious in so many ways, I cannot even begin to describe it.

Update 5/16: Didier made Slashdot this morning and I’m seeing traffic from his previous spamdexing post. And for the curious, here’s my original post about mocked up Google SERPS on .info domains and putting mine and Didier’s findings together.

[tags]Didier Stevens, Google, AdWords, AdWords quality control, Windows exploits [/tags]

Mac OS X Safari 3.0

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

From an undisclosed source, I got a hit in my logs for what appears to be the newest version of the Mac OS X Safari Web browser. It’s at version 3.0 now.

Http Code: 200 Date: May 08 19:23:52 Http Version: HTTP/1.1
Size in Bytes: 15822
Referer: -
Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/522.6 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Safari/522.6

[tags]Apple, Mac OS X, Safari, Web browser, User Agent [/tags]

Google Referrer Using Redirect

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

So, just in the past couple of days, I started seeing the referrer URLs from in the following format.

What’s unique about the referrer URL is that it’s a redirect and my logs are showing the incoming search term as from Google, which doesn’t seem right at all. In a perfect world you’d want to see incoming search terms such as “cleverhack” or “tech blogger” or “needs a date on Friday” not the URL that Google served and the person clicked through on.

I’ve been seeing IP addresses from all over - lots of Comcast, Verizon, Bell South, so it’s definitely real people making the requests, but why Google is using a redirect, I don’t know. Is this a side effect of iGoogle?

[tags]Google, iGoogle, Google Referrer, Google URL, Can I get a job at Google? [/tags]

Idiot spammer

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Idiot spammer trying to use my domain as a reply-to address. Interesting things to note about this bounce message. This looks like some sort of mess up on the spammer’s part since the headers are riddled with html tags and spaces in the email addresses, which is probably due in part to whatever email harvester program the spammer was using.

There is a a lot of fake information in the header. For example, the X-Originating-IP: [02.721.783.4] is not a true IP address. While usually IP addresses are denoted in square brackets, the IP address and other information in the X- headers in this case are not valid. The originating IP is really, an IP address from Bezeqint, an Israeli ISP. This address that looks like some sort of static cable based IP address. In other words, probably a PC on a botnet.

Good job spammer! (Not really.)

*——————————–Begin Message—————————–*

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
(generated from
retry timeout exceeded

—— This is a copy of the message, including all the headers. ——

Return-path: webmaster
Received: from [] (
by with smtp (Exim 4.63)
(envelope-from webmaster
id 1Hh962-0007jz-5M
for; Thu, 26 Apr 2007 14:53:38 -0400
X-Originating-IP: [02.721.783.4]
X-Originating-Email: []
Received: (qmail 5303 by uid 305); Thu, 26 Apr 2007 09:53:24 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: webmaster
Subject: All Investors Message 2127335568591326
From: Investor Elma webmaster
MIME-Version: 1.0
Importance: High
Content-Type: text/html

[tags] email headers, spam, spammer, spammers must die [/tags]

Trash it and start over

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

A layman’s explanation of the “trash present Internet architecture and start over” body of thought.

[tags]Internet, Web, Routers, it’s a series of tubes, the tubes are clogged[/tags]

uncov Web 2.0

Saturday, April 14th, 2007

Marjolein turned me onto uncov, a group blog with some pithy, informed, jaundiced analysis about the pure promotional and technological goofiness of Web 2.0 from a developer’s view. (Well, I don’t know that they are developers, but they sure sound like them.)

It’s a really good, giggly (if I may say so myself) from the belly of the beast read.

[tags]Web 2.0, uncov, jaundiced developers, javascript sucks, Ajax [/tags] redirect to .com?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

There was this article in [usually a subscription] yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about, basically, how a large number of companies have lost traffic because of either a change on their Web site or a change in the search engine agorithim, basically, just about everyone has a story about losing traffic.

Two thoughts I had about the article…

1)Did the Wall Street Journal really need to write an article about how what really needs is a redirect to Honestly, I don’t understand why it’s such a shocking revelation that changing something on a Web site might cause it to change in search engine results pages. Plus, the change that needs to do, while a change, is probably the least impactful since if the use a 301, they should be good to go.

Although their CEO is openly doubtful of that claim since he is fearing the move of over 100K urls in the SERPS.

2)If I was someone from Yahoo or MSN yesterday, I would have lost my breakfast. The article in the Journal only talked about Google and pointed out that a number of sites get about 80% of their search engine traffic from Google.

Holistic SEO

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

I had written the following comment in response to a tiny little bit of handwringing about how SEOs are killing Google…

I do SEO oriented Web design for a living, and I’m convinced that backlinks are just one of *many* factors that make a page worthy in Google’s eyes. Just like Page Rank and meta keywords, I don’t get too upset about backlinks. And I just laugh at the professional SEOs who come up with those linking schemes only to see their SERPs dip every so often with the continual Google algo changes.

What makes good optimization (and if you think about it, optimization is just a method of displaying information to the search engines) is a holistic approach. Clean markup, minimizing scripting, simple relevant nav, descriptive labels on buttons and links, use of the title and h tags, strong (I mean really strong copy) keywords that *actually correspond* to the site content.

Also, I have seen evidence on my blog especially that Google does take traffic into effect when determining SERPS. If I have a newsworthy post, I will sometimes see it in the Google Web SERP within a day or two after posting. If the post grabs enough traffic, it will stay on the SERP, if not, it will revert to being on the Google Blogsearch. YMMV, as always.

The Google algorithm has been changing constantly and not only is that due to SEOs gaming the system, but I also think due to the fact that Google’s aims have been continually redefined. Is it good to have product results on Google Web search? What about Blog posts showing on Google Web search? I’ve stopped worrying about specific factors (i.e. PR, backlinks) and mainly look at SERPS for keywords and domains and incoming traffic.

NY Times on blog bling

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

There is a part of me that is impressed…The NY times discusses blog bling, those little mini application widgets you see on blog sidebars. Like, for example the MyBlogLog widget I display.

[tags]NY Times, blog bling [/tags]


Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Quantcast is a new Alexa like traffic ranking service. In order for the service to work properly, you’re supposed to add a bit of javascript to your site.

For the initial stats on cleverhack, all I can say is that they are way off.

[tags]Quantcast, yet another traffic monitoring service[/tags]