Hi gang. I just figured out that about a quarter or so of one of my sites' AOL referrers are using encrypted keywords [webmasterworld.com]. It's a pain in the butt, but it's not the end of the world, as I can just plug that full referrer URL into a browser window and see the AOL SERP with the keywords.
OK, but what I'm wondering now is where these special, encrypted-keyword queries are coming from. Every AOL query uses a parameter called invocationType, and these encrypted-keyword queries all have invocationType=keyword_rollover.
I've searched high and low on AOL, but I haven't found any mention of any kind of keyword rollover ad they offer. I've seen 'em plenty of times on other sites, so I'm familiar with it, but I just can't see how AOL's getting into that technique. Do anyone know anything about it?
I don't have any examples to show, but what I suspect is going on is that AOL has bought some keyword rollover ads, a/k/a in-text ads, that produce search forms when the user rolls over the ad's keyword, and it's these ads' referrer strings which are encrypting the keywords.
I recently stumbled across such an ad that produced a Live.com text box, so I have to assume that somewhere out there AOL's made a similar ad buy.