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Rotating results....

8:30 pm on Feb 8, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I started to use an anonymous proxy service that lets you chose different IP addresses to surf from, I was experimenting with using this to help get a few clicks in there on HotBot with my click stuffing efforts. While doing this I noticed that the results I was getting back were different almost everytime. ALMOST. I just now have started to log these results in a spreadsheet so I can look at them closer to see if there's a pattern but from first glance I'm seeing 4 or 5 different sets of results coming into Hotbot from a different IP addresses. Am I just seeing that particular proxy server's cache? (meaning server one has a cache a week old, severs two is a few days old and server 3 has a fresh cache) Has anyone noticed this?

And when I say different, I mean different Direct Hit listings, different number of ODP listings, and my two top 30 listings rotating in and out, sometimes you'll see my first page as #23 and second page as #26... then first page as #20 and second page a no-show.. etc

As I gather more data into the spreadsheet and look for patterns I'll let you know, but right now I'm stumped (not tough for a dumb pixel-jockey)

10:38 am on Feb 9, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

First Ive heard of it. Very interesting. Let us know how you get on.
1:04 pm on Feb 10, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nope... it has nothing to do with IP address... or cache... it's rotating on time. I continued checking and dumping results into the spread sheet, and as a control stopped using the proxy. Just used my own ISP, run the search, collect the results, shut down browser, fire it up again, run the same search etc. (with cookies off.. don't know if that's relevant)

For example... One of my pages was bouncing back and forth from the bottom of page 2 to the top of page 3 depending on what set of results you came up with. (I've noticed 3 or 4 different sets I think) At one point, I must have spent a little too long on page two of the results (a set with mine listed on page 2) before moving to page three... low and behold the reults rotated on me while I was on page 2, when I hit the "NEXT" link to move to page 3... I was there at the top of page three AND the bottom of page 2 (I was careful to use the BACK button on my browser NOT the "BACK" link on the page itself. Indeed, using the back and forward button on my browser, I was #20 (bottom of page 2) and #21 (top of page 3). Once I confirmed that I was NOT crazy, I used the "BACK" link on page 3... the new version of page two that it brought up did NOT have me listed at all.

I will continue logging my results on the spreadsheet if anyone thinks it will be helpful to see... what worries me though is a few things. There are some URLS that are available in ALL the results.... and some URLS that drop in and out. My pages are ones that are dropping in and out... does this mean they're on the way out of the database? How do I get the lucky position of having 'em show in ALL sets of results?

Is this old news? Am I just now catching on to something everyone has been seeing for a while?

2:15 am on Feb 11, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Same thing has been happening to me for the last week at least. I figured it was multiple data bases, but what do I know?
9:12 am on Feb 11, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Here is what they are doing: they are changing the submission form values. Do a search and then reload the exact same page (don't close your browser) from a different IP and the page will be the same except 1 or two of the form values change. Here is part of the string: M=MC&DV=0&LG=any&DC=10&DE=2&BT=L.

A few of those values "float". I believe the string is time base encoded and ip hash encoded. Sure, you have your standard search values and a few power search values, but the rest of those are not needed. I've not studied it close enough to tell what the pattern is, but the string values change with the hour of the day. Some times you can do searches and see entirely new form/value pairs popup (sq, xt, and zx are popular)

Why would they do that? So that any click throughs coming BACK to Hotbot that are "stale", they throw out those in the direct *hit counting. Any click over say, (guessing) an hour from the time the search is processed is thrown out.

I've about given up on click through chasing. It just isn't working anymore because of those Hotbot changes.

9:35 am on Feb 11, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Do we have an opening bid on Brett's brain??........

Geeze man, I didn't even think of looking at the strings, I was too focused on the results. I probably should have been running tests on keywords that I don't have a personal interest in, keep emotions out hahhaah.

Still not sure exactly how it works... but any thought on why some of my competitors are staying put at, say #20, every time, and my two listings are bouncing around and bouncing out from time to time?

As always, Thanks Brett, I was getting tired of staring at that neon green on HotBot's page.

7:31 pm on Feb 27, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Still not sure I get it... I see the listings switch now when I just hit refresh, from the same IP address, same browser etc. The URL doesn't change, all the variables remain the same up in the address bar, but the results change. This confirm your suspicions or not?
10:26 am on Mar 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I wasn't experiencing the shifting results when you posted that last response, but I just now tried it again, and it was indeed changing before my very eyes (first time I've seen that).

Maybe they are pulling an altavista - switch the results just to get the webmasters to come back and search for thier site. Always run with graphics off on the search engines - don't give them the satisfaction of .01 of a cent on the ad view

11:56 am on Mar 2, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yeah, they have changed the way they do it, made it faster I think. I was at first seeing it switch very slowly... to the point where I could only really see it when comparing my spreadsheets. Now it's like every refresh I see a different result. Makes tracking multiple placements a major pain.

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