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A Tale of the Internet
A Tale of the Internet Aug 03, 2006
This entry is off-topic. It's a light-hearted rant about the glorious workings of today's Internet. I decided to put it here because this is the only blog I have. The quotes may not be suitable for young children, but young children probably don't read blogs about advanced 3D programming.
A few months ago, I decided to Google myself. After typing my name in the search box and hitting enter, I was quite surprised to find among the normal results around 30 pages titled "Pointy" with URLs like
( I can never remember if John Edwards is the politician and former vice-presidential candidate or the guy who senses the first letters of dead people's names. )
What had happened? Should I call John Edwards and demand that he stop using my name in his smutty blog? Actually no, we're both victims of scraper sites. As far as I know I haven't suffered any from this, but there is the joy of knowing that if anyone else searched for my name, they'd have gotten served with a collection of web pages that sound like they were created by a sex-obsessed simpleton.
How scraper sites work is that they scour search engines for pages that rank highly in certain search terms. (This isn't the only way they work, but it's a safe assumption in this particular case.) Then they grab pieces of content from the sites they find and paste it together into nonsensical sites of their own. Once they're indexed by the search engines they start generating traffic for the desired search terms, which they then send to affiliates or advertisers. Thus revenue is created, and they're rewarded monetarily for their sincere effort to make the world a better place.
Why my page and name? I'm the author of an Othello program named Pointy Stone. In fact, the web page title is "Pointy Stone Othello, a free program by Jonathan Kreuzer". Type "Pointy" into a search engine and it will be on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd page. This title got lifted and reinterpreted by the scrapers.
I should point out in Google's defense, although they they were the first to add these sites, they were also the first to purge them from their index. A month later Yahoo had purged them too. MSN has scored the worst in this case, as its index still has some of these sites. Luckily for me MSN search is rarely used. ( Even though most pages from 3dkingdoms.com rank higher in MSN than Google, Google sends about 20 times the traffic. )
I first named Pointy in the simpler times of 1998. Perhaps in today's world where email addresses are harvested from web pages by spambots, and feedback at 3dkingdoms.com gets emails titled "the safe way to drown ur girl in cum" I would have anticipated this misappropriation of the title I chose... Okay, I still never would have expected it.
So the moral of the story is, even if it sounds innocent and innocuous at the time, don't name any of your programs Pointy Stone, and if you do, say no to any urges to put your name right in the page title.