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Lengthy read but may be of interest

1 July 2020: We have published the final report of our market study into online platforms and digital advertising. We have found that competition is not working well in these markets, leading to substantial harm for consumers and society as a whole.

We recommend that the government passes legislation to establish a new pro-competition regulatory regime.

One random quote from the report

Google explained that removing all Wikipedia results from the Google Search results would cause Google’s Information Satisfaction number to drop by 0.6 points.

Looks like people put a lot of trust in wikipedia.

Water Cooler / Forrest Fenn - $1m treasure
« on: June 08, 2020, 08:18:41 PM »

Such a cool story that I only discovered today. The man made a good life for himself and thought he was terminally ill and wanted some kind of legacy, so hid $1m worth of treasure somewhere in/near the Rocky Mountains and left some vague hints about where it'd be in a poem. From what I gather, he just wanted people to enjoy the thrill of the chase.

He faced lawsuits from people implying it never existed, just the other day someone found it. It's taken ten years.

Watched one of those 'myths debunked' type videos on YouTube dated a year or two ago and it seems like they followed the clues pretty well but they found nothing.

He admitted that people have been 'within several hundred feet' of the treasure and it had me wondering whether he knew that via private correspondence or from looking at such videos on YT. How excruciating would that be, knowing that they're that close.

He hasn't revealed the true location of where the treasure was found, though - just that someone had posted a picture of them finding it. Sounds a bit dodgy but I think he was genuine.

There's a few ugly stories of people jacking jobs and losing lives to find it - but it's a great idea IMO.

Traffic / How a Chinese Company Built a $250M Search Hijacking Empire
« on: December 11, 2019, 07:04:28 PM »


Noticed this one this morning. The medium post got removed with a 410 status and saying the 'account was pending investigation'. The post has since re-appeared with a bunch of sourced attached.

Seems like someone's not happy with being outed.

Water Cooler / Search Engine Role on the Web
« on: October 05, 2019, 11:30:42 PM »
Posted in on WMW

Much wisdom here.

Sort of feels like this kind of question is asking a flogged horse, but I hope not.

As a caveat, I was a teenager when I first joined Wmw, almost 40 now. Most of you guys were there throughout. I'm asking this through the lens of Mojeek, who are about to announce they've had a few mil investment. We have conversations about the role of a search engine, and where it ends - i.e. the ten blue links, knowledge graph answers and beyond. For me, it's a 50/50 question, a 'rewind' of where Google went wrong, or maybe not.

Traffic / Most Popular Search Engines 1994 - 2019
« on: September 25, 2019, 08:30:41 AM »


Not quite sure whether this will apply to the UK

Water Cooler / What's wrong with SERPs today
« on: November 30, 2018, 12:49:19 AM »
Part of my remit with Mojeek is to identify how to improve search engine results.

There's an emphasis on being a strong alternative to main search engines just now.

Obviously within this group there's an insane amount of experience in information retrieval and Google's weaknesses.

Free hand, how you you improve search results from your own perspective?

One line of thought I see often is simply offering an alternative to the strong brands that prevail in lots of results, and offering 10 different blue links. Separately, do you think there's a utility for offering  a toolbar/form that provides a way to customise the ranking algorithm? Is it just an interesting toy or real world useful option?

Hardware & Technology / Cloudflare Nameservers
« on: October 25, 2018, 01:21:34 PM »
A C&P from what I've posted on a FB group - if you like hiding domains behind cloudflare but want to vary the nameservers a bit, this is useful.

Something possibly useful for you, a list of Cloudflare nameservers. - 436. Quite likely not all of them but a decent chunk. Something interesting I noticed is that their 'add domain / change nameserver' process gives you two specific nameservers to change to, they do this in case there's multiple people trying to add the same domain at the same time. It seems that after verification, you're free to change to any of the other namesevers. I haven't tested over a longer period of time, but it seems useful if not for simple diversity, and saves you creating multiple accounts. YMMV.

Hardware & Technology / Useful bookmarklets
« on: August 24, 2018, 04:39:07 PM »
I'm just tidying up my bookmarks and thought I'd share these which may be of use, feel free to add others you use

Visual Event - Highlight all events on a page

View Source - Show the source of a page (thanks to th3core)

G Serp Ranks - Prepend organic SERPs with a rank

Traffic / Best way to get into wikipedia?
« on: July 21, 2018, 08:16:59 PM »
Pretty much as per title. I have a topic that IMO totally 'deserves' a page but on a previous attempt the editors deemed it wasn't worthy.

Water Cooler / More Data Leaks - Exactis, 340 million records
« on: June 29, 2018, 11:48:24 AM »

"simply used Shodan to search for all ElasticSearch databases visible on publicly accessible servers with American IP addresses. That returned about 7,000 results. As Troia combed through them, he quickly found the Exactis database, unprotected by any firewall."

"Each record contains entries that go far beyond contact information and public records to include more than 400 variables on a vast range of specific characteristics: whether the person smokes, their religion, whether they have dogs or cats, and interests as varied as scuba diving and plus-size apparel."

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