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Redirect urls on Google SERPS

 8:29 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

All the listings I've checked in the last hour have had click through counters on them.

Counter address example:

That's not a real warm development. I hope it's temporary. It means constantly editing cut and pasted urls.

Looks like some changes are afoot at the plex. There was also the discovery of colorless AdWords [webmasterworld.com] and the increase in db size [webmasterworld.com].



 8:57 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

In the UK I don't see this. Am I not looking in the right place?



 9:05 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I can't see them either, uk. Where do you mean?


 9:06 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Looks like some changes are afoot at the plex

hmmm....hang on you just said this was a normal Google update?

Big changes are afoot at the plex and for the better IMHO.


 9:12 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

not right now from the uk, tried various searches.


 9:13 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

This has nothing to do with the update percentages.

All the search results are running through a redirect counter.


 9:24 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sorry if I'm being stupid here- but where do you see this? Is the redirect when you click on a search result?


 9:25 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

example - note the status line: redirect url [webmasterworld.com]

serp source excerpt:
<a href=/url?sa=U&start=1&q=http://www.webmasterworld.com/&e=1416 ><b>WebmasterWorld</b> News and discussion for the independent web <b>...</b> </a><br>

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 9:29 am (utc) on Nov. 6, 2002]


 9:25 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am fairly sure they were testing this out about 4 months ago no? It was some query to do with "fire" if I remember correctly.Also, Yahoo does it too although theirs is dynamically created URLs with Keywords typed into the search interface. I imagine its something to tweak PR and give greater weight to listings that are actually getting clicked on or it could be a BTlooksmart styled pepper job instore for ADword listings in the results.



 9:25 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Tried from Italy (also tried with Anonymizer plug) - straight URL's here. Agreed, however - time to go to defparanoia 4 if this is writing on the wall.



 9:26 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Can't see it Brett but, if I recall this isn't the first time.


 9:27 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

They used to do it ramdomly on keywords, but I've never seen it 'everywhere' before.


 9:30 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why would they do this?

Is toolbar data too limited?


 9:32 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Interesting - can't see it in IE - only Opera (even when id'ing as ie).

Those darn cloakers will get you every time ;-)


 9:38 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have never seen it myself. Interesting thou isn't it? Google has got to be up to something. I have this feeling that we are about to see "the best"(Google) take a big fall. WE can see what is in the index and how it got there.


 9:40 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Must be geo-limited. Can't see it from Europe no matter what browser I try.


 9:56 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK - from the UK I can't see it in Opera OR IE, but when I go through an anonymiser site based in the US I see the results. [edit added: Hmm - just looked again and maybe I saw the anonymizing service's link and mistook it for Brette's example]

[edit added: even so...] So - Google is only counting US users.

There are a few commercial reasons why this makes sense,

1) Without this data they don't know the average number of sites a user clicks on from a page of search results

2) With this data they can see how much less (or more?) effective adwords are than real listings

3) They can probably count partner sites as well, allowing them to charge the likes of lesser beings than yahoo of a results orientated basis if they chose.

4) Like Direct Hit did, they can give busy sites a boost - bummer for using multiple URLs, great for best of breeds in any given sector.

5) If they are also checking the IP of each "clicker" they can spot people that might, when all is done and dusted, be clicking in the vain hope of promoting their own site up the listings.

I bet there are more reasons that people can think of...

Give me more blue chip customers, I might need them.



 10:01 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nothing here with Opera 6.02 Linux identified as Opera and as IE.


 10:06 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Strange that it's only opera though. Wonder if they are analyzing their agreement with Opera in prep for the release of the mega Opera 7 due out rsn. Opera 6 includes an embedded google link.


 10:14 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

A fantastic couple of spots there Brett (this and the color)... absolutely top notch.

This all gives me an uneasy feeling about the future of Google. You've seen as much as I have that search engines are capable of doing the dumbest of things.


 10:25 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I can't replicate this in Michigan using Opera identifying as Opera either.


 10:41 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

source [webmasterworld.com]


 10:46 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maybe they are JUST checking Ohio :)

Thanks for the source. Brett. That is certainly not what we see in UK.


 10:55 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Now that is definitely not just a glitch. It's more than simply a lack of background color.

The spacing of the ads is different and there's the inclusion of the divider between each one.

Clearly deliberate.


 10:56 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't think its random. Probably they are using it on uncommon search terms.
I searched for this where is webmasterworld [google.com] and got the URL for webmaster world as [google.com...]

I am from India so they are not counting US users only.


 11:00 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

No tracking codes on the sponsored links.


 11:05 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

theory only,

&start=1 <- this bit

I think with the bleaching of the adwords and a start Position for the serps it would be easy to inject the adwords or overture or ink into google serps for people like yahoo or myway


Brett have you seen any results that don't follow the start-1,2,3,4, order


 11:51 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think google has been "counting" the visitors through a redirection for some time now. I could remember seeing things like [google.com...] more than two months ago. The page appeared for less than a second before the page outside google was loaded.

Furthermore, when I make a search like "DCR-PC101 specifications" without quotes, in the url addresses showed under the site description there is a surplus blank space, so If you make cut&paste of the url, the page shows an error because of this blank space (instead of www.domain.com/directory/page you see www.domain.com/[blank space]directory/page).



 12:02 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

London calling:

Am seeing [google.com...] using Opera 6.01 (ID=Opera) when I click on the adWords, (not the main SERPs)

This shows up when using UK IP and also US IP


 12:14 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this question is too stupid, but here it goes:
what is the impact of this click through counting on people who donīt use AdWords or any other kind of PPCs?

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