One of my employer’s offices lists a whole heap of valid locations for their constituents to conveniently use company cards at various local businesses. I figured in the best interests of building up my employer’s website reputation on the Web, linking out to the business’s websites would be good for our website users, good for the businesses, and good for us, by building up relevant outgoing links.
In my HTML editor, I found some success in right clicking the business URL and copying the link location (in Firefox) for pasting into the editor, saving me a bunch of typing. So far, so good.
However, after 5-10 successful copy/pastes, I noticed something weird happening. Every time I pasted, I would get the following URL, which SHOULD have been the home url for Jay Peak Ski Resort:
The above URL indeed resolves to Jay Peak. Logging out of my Google account results in the same behavior. In Internet Explorer, Copy Shortcut also displays this behavior, while not logged in, although on the same machine. Additional searches and copying links work this way too.
I decided to give another search engine named DuckDuckGo a shot, as I saw that John Gruber of Daring Fireball has been using it more and more often. Not to my surprise, copy link location and pasting worked fine throughout the rest of my page edits.
I don’t really know what’s happening, but I’d venture a guess that Google was tracking the fact that I was copying link locations after using search, identifying that I was continuously doing this, and making sure that any URL that I copy is directed through Google’s domain first and foremost. Perhaps this is an intentional Google strategy to prevent link/search farming, similar to what their “rogue shadow company” did to Mocality in Kenya? Is this practice known by others and/or publicized by Google themselves? I wonder if my ranting is baseless and this is no big deal, but this behavior doesn’t really paint Google in the best light in my eyes.
Yet another reason telling me to wean myself off of using Google for Search.