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Yes, they were born in the early days of 1997 when meta tag keywords first appeared on the scene. Simply placing one of those puppies in your meta tags could bring in more hits than you could imagine. Sites like Infoseek, Excite and Lycos were the main culprits at sending referrals. A simple design flaw in their 3 search algos was the cause. I happen to know the man responsible for discovering you three little guys, and would like to thank you old friends for around 1.3 million referrals in 1997 alone - including an awesome 450,000 from infoseek in six months (damn I miss Infoseek!).
Yes you could get hits in 97 from anyone who happened to be searching for for their domain name. Something as simple as searching for "http://www.bob.com" could make a page with "http" in the meta tag show up. Throw in a good www & .com in the tag and you had your self top rankings under thousands of keywords. I wish I would have kept screen shots.
Rest in peace guys.