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April 2004, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Google Bug 3 - Google Scrambling Results

Yesterday, Garrett from WebProNews told me about a bug one of his readers found.

Description of Google Bug
Here's a picture of the bug in action using the query Garrett sent.

Initially the query Garrett sent me that was causing the errors was C + nº + B. But after doing a ton of searches and looking through a seemingly endless amount of html generated by Google's results I found what appears to cause the issue.

Initially I thought it was the special character causing the problem (nº) but after conducting some incredibly technical analysis (running a bunch of searches) I found that the actual phrase was having a "B" preceded by a "C" with two or more spaces between the two characters.

Example
The following phrase will not cause the results to be corrupt.
B C

But Reverse the letters and the results are corrupted.
C B

Explanation
You'll notice that Google replaces spaces (" ") in a search string with the "+" sign. When a user types in a search string with spaces between the words Google interprets those spaces with "+" signs because a url cannot have any spaces in it. If a url has a space in it then it will not render properly so the space should be converted to the hexadecimal equivalent or "%20". You're probably wondering what the hexadecimal equivalent of "+" is and that's a great question. The hex code for "+" is "%2B". If Google translated spaces as "%20" instead of "+" it would probably fix this issue but I'm not sure that's the answer because there are probably hundreds of thousands of functions relying on a space being translated as a "+" that we are unaware of.

Besides, if the phrase B C causes this formatting problem but C B doesn't, then the above solution isn't the answer. As I dug into the results I noticed Google's code that highlights the search phrase in the url was trying to highlight it's own <b> tags. So instead of highlighting the string like this...
<b>b</b>b it was trying to highlight it like this
<<b>b</b>>b</<b>b</b>>

As you can see, Google's trying to bold it's own bold tags by parsing them out of the results. Could it be that Google is cacheing specific queries, and keeping those highlighted results in it's resultset and then reparsing the urls and applying the highlighting again? Not sure but it's possible. But that doesn't explain why we don't see the same results in the title of the site because highlighting is applied there as well as in the main description of the result. Also, why is it that reversing the order of the keyphrase causes this bug to arise.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can answer all of these questions without looking at code and that's not going to happen. I'll forward this description to Google and see what happens.

As a side note, I tried replacing the "+" in the url with "%20" and received the same scrambled results. Even replacing both +'s with C%20%20B caused the same results. I also tried several two letter combinations and the only one that caused this error was the C B, no others caused it.

Google Bug 3 - Google Scrambling Results By Jason Dowdell at 01:52 PM
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Finally Got My GMAIL Invite

Well today was the day I finally got my gmail invite. When I logged in to post my last entry I was greeted with an invite to join the ever increasing list of GMAIL users. I'm also trying out Bloomba, which seems very similar but has more features when it comes to importing Outlook information such as emails, contacts and the like. Bloomba is client side, whereas GMAIL is obviously web based so that's another major difference.

I'll post any major features / distractions as I find them on both Bloomba and GMAIL.

I finally got an invite to test out GMAIL

Finally Got My GMAIL Invite By Jason Dowdell at 08:36 AM
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Shellen Forshadowing The Google IPO?

On Jason Shellen's webcam there's a note on each image that reads. "I'm phoning Oregon - IPO!" .Did Jason Shellen Spill The Beans on the Google IPO Early? Could this be a mistake? Am I interpreting his title wrong? Is Jason playing a cruel trick on his readers? :) Google hasn't announced they're actually going to IPO yet, as far as I know, but the pics from Jason's webcam yesterday (4/28/2004) may very well tell a different story

Shellen Forshadowing The Google IPO? By Jason Dowdell at 08:17 AM
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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Are You a BOGO - HO?

I guess my satirical views of marketing have finally rubbed off on my wife. This weekend Payless ran another lame tv commercial for women's shoes. They're catchphrase was "BOGO". I was like huh?
Then they say "Buy One Get One Half Off". Then Shannon says, yeah, why didn't they just finish that acronym... Because it would be BOGO HO.

Are you a bogo ho? If you like buy one get one half off then you probably are.

I'm not sure if the marketing firm that came up with this ad campaign is a genius or an idiot. I mean, yeah BOGO sticks in your head but when you follow through with the entire acronym you start asking your friends if they're BOGO HOs.

Pretty funny nonetheless.

Are You a BOGO - HO? By Jason Dowdell at 09:45 AM
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Too Much Time On His Hands

The folks over at boingboing pointed to this link about one man and his Tron costume.

Too Much Time On His Hands By Jason Dowdell at 08:16 AM
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Monday, April 26, 2004

Augmenting Internet With Television

Today I was glad to see Jeremy Allaire's back on his blog. So I posted a question to him regarding video, television and the internet.

I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed or not but television shows have been augmenting their shows with hooks to get the viewers to log on to the web site for the show. I find that funny since the networks are finally catching on to the internet advertising game. I'm just wondering when the tables will be turned in the other direction. Here's my question to Jeremy since he's been focusing on broadband video as of late.

"...I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the major networks augmenting their tv shows with web site content. It's amazing to see these guys racing to the internet to get their viewers to log on and I think it's just the tip of the iceberg. Do you think the tables will ever turn and the internet will be augmenting their content with television?"

What do you guys think about this? I don't have comments enabled yet (need to write my own module) but you can always email me and I'll post it here...

jason [at] marketingshift dot com

Augmenting Internet With Television By Jason Dowdell at 12:35 PM
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Is Blogger Common Vernacular?

As the popularity of Blogging continues to grow it strikes me that 'Blogger' may face the same destiny as 'Swiss Army Knife', 'Kleenex', 'Q-Tips' and even 'Coke'. These terms have become part of our everyday language and have lost some of their trademark edge. Yes they're fantastic products but their brands have been mismanaged over the years at one point or another. How else can we attribute the use of these terms to describe items other than the ones associated with these brands?

I'm not going to write a complete essay on this here but it's food for thought. I mean, how many times have you been asked whether or not you're a 'blogger'? Is the questioner wanting to know if you use 'Blogger' or if you just own a 'Blog'? I'm not sure you'd know the answer to that unless you ask him a question to determine his/her intent.

Anyway, I think Blogger is safe but it's something we all should keep in mind when we begin marketing our own brands. You never know how big your brand will become but you must prepare for every possible scenario.

Is Blogger Common Vernacular? By Jason Dowdell at 09:45 AM
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« April 2004 Week 3

  • Week 1 (0 entries) April 1-10
  • Week 2 (2 entries) April 11-17
  • Week 3 (9 entries) April 18-24
  • Week 4 (7 entries) April 25-30

Are You a BOGO - HO?
hey i apsolutly agree with you, but i have one thi...
by nicole

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