Anyone have a clue what is going on?

I’ve been getting a steady stream of really oddball email from this blog’s contact form. They look like this:

Nice hack on Shoutwire!  I like how you stole my article submission link to a news story and re-directed it to your bullshit blog. 

If you want to express an opposing viewpoint on Shoutwire, please do so.  Don’t fuck with my submissions.


Shoutwire is some sort of digg clone that doesn’t even have comments, it just has a frame around other sites and you vote on links and I can’t tell if this person thinks I run it or thinks I hijacked it.

why are you jacking pages?

Another one, and when I replied to this one asking them to explain, I got nothing in return. This is the weirdest one of all:

Why do I get your site when I am trying to  get the Fox47News web site?

It must be a default browser thing, sorta like when you type in http into firefox and you end up at microsoft?

And another:

it bites the way your site hijacks links

I wish someone would write me back on this that doesn’t think I am stealing something. A few months ago someone said an old article on Wired News redirected to this blog, but perhaps it was just a bad HTML link. I’d sure love to get to the bottom of this and figure out what combination of exact browser version plus links ends up with people on this site. If anyone has any ideas, do tell in the comments here because I can’t figure it out and no one will email back to explain.

update: the person that sent the first feedback wrote me back and posted it to shoutwire’s site here. On my mac with firefox, I don’t get redirected here, but if anyone clicks on this link and ends up here, do leave a comment telling me what browser/OS you are running? Thanks.

another update: So here is the offending page. Click on the blue title and you’ll end up here, but the crazy thing is that in the middle, the word “nothing” is google searched, and since I’m apparently the first result, people get redirected here.

So I think the issue is that whatever content management system is running, somewhere, somehow, instead of responding to browsers with a real 404, the phrase “nothing” is being returned on their app server, so browsers like firefox are guessing on it by running a Google “I’m feeling lucky” search for the phrase, ending up here. Hopefully someone at notices and fixes this soon.

conclusion: As Phil figured out, javascript on checks to see if it is being presented within HTML frames on another server, and if so, it redirects to http://nothing/. Firefox by default does a Google “I’m Feeling Lucky” search for any word you put in your address bar, and I am apparently the first result for “nothing” on google, so you end up here. I would direct folks to a page explaining this but there is no referrer sent from the I’m Feeling Lucky search. I guess those of you looking for, don’t use whatever site tried to load foxnews within a frameset, as they are just putting a frame around other sites. Just go to yourself.

Buzzplant: none more crass

Lately I’ve been getting a steady stream of unsolicited bad marketing and PR mail. People promoting products are stooping to new lows in order to try and get legitimate weblogs to promote their clients for them. It’s fake viral buzz hidden behind whatever legitimacy a participating website can offer. I’ve seen the quality and cluefullness of these PR pitches go way down, but tonight, one PR agency’s pitch trumps them all.

I give you the flight 93 PR blast.

Now if you haven’t heard, there’s a movie about the hijacked plane on 9/11 that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside, enroute to the Capitol. Personally, I have a hard time reliving that day and I can’t even watch the trailer. I don’t know how anyone can watch a film like that or how anyone can have any respect for a movie studio trying to make a buck off this nation’s tragedy five years ago.

So their PR agency is giving away free tickets if you plaster banner ads on your blog to promote a movie reliving our terror so Universal Studios can make more money from ticket sales. What kills me is the line about:

Due to the nature of the subject matter of the film, we request that the giveaways be done in a very respectful, thoughtful manner.

…sort of like how this unsolicited PR pitch was sent to me oh so respectfully (I can even unsubscribe from future pitches! thanks!).

Bloggers will also love their idea to exploit your readers into writing some of that highly prized User Generated Content about that emotional day:

One idea is to ask visitors to your site to share their own memories of 9/11

…again, so a movie studio can make more money from this exploitation flick.

I hope the folks at buzzplanet do a great job getting more tickets sold for flight 93 and I can’t wait to see flight 93 banners all over the blogosphere. I hope it makes Universal Studios a lot of money in the process, because there is no better way to come to terms with terror than to go watch a movie about it.

SketchUp FREE!

Sketchup is one of the coolest apps to come out in the past few years. It always reminded me of the OOP program from Microserfs.

Basically it’s an easy to use, rapid 3D program that lets you sketch out ideas much like you would on a piece of paper. I used it to mock up my garden in about 30 minutes and my friend Michael did his entire house. The one downside to it was that until now it was really expensive, like around $500 per license. When Google announced they bought the app earlier this year, my one wish was that it would someday be free and it looks like that day has come. Sweet, though the free version is Windows only at the moment, which is odd since the app works great on OSX and I assume it’s coming very soon for the mac.

links for 2006-04-27