Archive for March, 2005

Best Buy is Cloaking

March 18th, 2005 Tony 1 comment Cloaking
Today I discovered that Best Buy cloaks their product pages. I was searching for a Serial ATA PCI controller.

The Google search (the first result should be the Best Buy link)

Notice the URL for the product page:

Now click the link and notice that it redirects to the dynamic URL:

How did Google Get the Static URL?
Best Buy is cloaking via user agent. To see it in action enter the short static URL into my HTTP Response Viewer and select Googlebot for the user agent.

Notice that you get back HTML with all the product information.

Now enter the same URL into my response viewer *but* select a normal browser for the user-agent.

This time you get back a very short piece of HTML that does a meta refresh to the long dynamic URL. This is what the average Joe will land on.

It seems ridiculous for Best Buy to risk getting caught for cloaking when its so easy to simply use mod_rewrite to create static URLs.

Categories: Search Engine Optimization Tags:

NC Government Enters the SPAM Business?

March 5th, 2005 Tony 2 comments

I received a postcard from the North Carolina Secretary of State informing me it was time to file my annual report on my LLC (read “give us $205″). They let me know that I could easily file by visiting But when I visit the site I immediately feel like I’ve been duped by a spammer posing as an official government office. The site is riddled with links to pages serving up nothing but Overture ads for high dollar phrases such as “North Carolina Real Estate”. Burried in the middle of the page is a link to “NC LLC/LLP ANNUAL REPORTS” which links out to Note the domain name

So it seems that the owner of has taken advantage of the fact that the NC Secretary of State misprints their URL on the thousands of post cards they send out. Or perhaps had someone inside the state government to purposely misprint the card. Hmmm.

Categories: Search Engine Optimization Tags: