December 24, 2004

Sherlock Heaney and the Case of the Irrelevant Search Query

I get a lot of hits (usually at least two a day) from people searching on the phrase "sonic nude", usually referred from AltaVista. I found this inexplicable on several levels. First of all, although my blog certainly includes both of those words, they never, to my knowledge, appear on the same page -- and neither word appears on the page that registers the hits.

Furthermore, these people are generally performing image searches, and there are no images on that page. And a brief examination of the images in the search results will show that none of them refer to my website. On top of that, "sonic nude"? What the hell? Are these people looking for nude pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog? Kim Gordon? What the, as we say, dilly-o?

Then I wised up. I took off the "family filter" at AltaVista and ran the search again, and realized that people were really trying to go to this page (renumbered after the great server migration). The Sonic reference is in the comments, and apparently the Movable Type search engine doesn't search comment text, so the page didn't come up on my searches. I'm unclear, though, why AltaVista thinks those images live here, since I did nothing but link to them. It's also amusing that they only come up on an "adult" search, since the images they have archived are not the salacious ones (but I guess any page that has the word "nude" on it is archived as being probably naughty).

So if this is indeed what they were searching for, then I can rest assured that they were not looking for pictures of Sonic the Hedgehog nude. They were looking for nude pictures of one of his cartoon friends. Whew.

Excerpts from two stories featuring this character live here (although the site doesn't accept outside links, so you'll just have to cut and paste):

Posted by Francis at 06:18 PM | TrackBack

Good Lord, Holmes, that was meant for you!


Posted by: Vardibidian at December 24, 2004 09:32 PM

I find search engine results on stat pages to be one of the most interesting insights into the World of People Who Won't Readily Admit What They're Doing. For example: during the olympics, I posted a WashPost story about water polo, and for weeks afterward started getting 20-30 hits a day from people searching for "nude water polo." Different olympics, perhaps?

More recently, I posted a Lloyd Grove column about Jennifer Krum, the amputee posing for Playboy, and something like 50 hits came in every day for a week because of it. I still get about 5-10 hits a day from people searching for her name. Who knew there was such a big market for that?

Now, if an amputee water polo player was posing for Playboy, I'd really be in business.

Posted by: jason at December 25, 2004 07:35 PM

Now that Google has re-spidered this page since you commented, Jason, I am also getting many hits per day on "Jennifer Krum nude". Way more than I do on "Kate Bush nude". (And maybe if she'd put out another album already, people would remember about how she's totally hot. Or if she would pose nude.)

Posted by: Francis at December 28, 2004 04:54 PM

KB's supposedly to have an album ready by March, so be prepared.

Posted by: saphir at December 30, 2004 05:42 PM

Of course, after this I had to go Google for "Kate Bush Francis yarnivore" to see what the fuss was about, which yeilds only slightly more Kate Bush content than nude content. Shameful.

OTOH, hey, new album? Nifty.

Posted by: Dan P at January 3, 2005 06:19 PM