What does it mean that people are visiting my site through an old URL that no longer exists?
March 16, 2004 10:33 AM   Subscribe

IDon'Unnerstand: Some visitors w/ .uk and .jp ISP addresses are googling for an old URL of mine that doesn't exist (used to be stored on Photoisland but the URL expired), and then they're entering my website by the search results. What the hell is going on? Does this mean someone linked to my image and I didn't know it, now the img URL expired and they're looking for it?

This is happening with multiple different images that I used to store on PhotoIsland, but here is an example:
Expired URL: http://mediaservice.photoisland.com/auction/May/20035102005514229083371.jpg
Actual pic (some pseudo-artsy filler for my blog from last year) can be seen here.
posted by Shane to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
have you put the search terms into google to see what the link they're following is?
posted by andrew cooke at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2004

Response by poster: have you put the search terms into google to see what the link they're following is?

Far as I can tell, they're Googling (often on Google.jp) for the URL of an old image, like http://mediaservice.photoisland.com/auction/May/20035102005514229083371.jpg . I can't find a site that links to that URL, though. So, it's as if they're probably just Googling the URL on Google Image search.

I'm guessing MAYBE someone on a blog linked to my image, then I let the URL expire at PhotoIsland, now someone is trying to see what the missing picture is. MAYBE.

BUT: Many of these pics that they're searching for are pretty banal, and I can't imagine I have people in Japan and the UK linking to them in the first place.

posted by Shane at 10:59 AM on March 16, 2004

I can see why Japan/UK folks would link to it; the image in question looks like an iTunes/WinAmp visualization.

The pic is also reminiscent to the tiled bitmap images popular with desktop theme mods. Someone may have posted a linked the to image in a customizing forum.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2004

they're not arriving via a google image search are they? i don't know how that would appear in your logs...
posted by andrew cooke at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2004

Response by poster: they're not arriving via a google image search are they? i don't know how that would appear in your logs...

It does appear in my logs!

Site Meter, although it doesn't seem to log more than half my hits (argh! -- based on comparison with another free counter or two), has a very good, very clear referral URL page. I can usually not only see when someone enters my site thru' Google, I can also see exactly what they Googled for (search terms). Sometimes with, I dunno, AskJeeves or something, I can't see the search terms, but almost always I can with Google.

However, these odd ones I'm asking about here aren't quite so clear: this is the referral URL:

...from which I deduce a Google Image search for this: mediaservice.photoisland.com/auction/May/20035102005514229083371.jpg .

Then I plug search term "mediaservice.photoisland.com/auction/May/20035102005514229083371.jpg" into Google Image and get this:

Thanks again, Andrew and Dalek. Wow. Maybe a couple of my images actually got a round a bit. Without my knowledge, of course, argh. This one gets searched for by its old, expired URL often, although I originally posted it while whining about Irish-Americans and their stereotypes (green beer) and with an apology to Ireland, heh.
posted by Shane at 12:34 PM on March 16, 2004

i was guessing that they searched for an image using some text, ended up on theimage results page, and then clicked a further link to get to your page. that might explain why the url itself appears (ie they're not searching for the url, but you're seeing the internals of a second link from google).

not sure if that's clear and anyway it is only a vague guess.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:04 PM on March 16, 2004

Response by poster: and then clicked a further link to get to your page.

I see what you mean now. Well, I think I only get a partial cut-off URL from my logs for the final link, as it ends in 'arg' rather than my website name of 'argybarple'. So I can't wuite get to that final link you're talking about, only aproximate what I think it might be, which is a Google search. I know Google Image Search is involved in there, but I can't get to their end result, nor can I seem to find exactly what they're seeing through my own Google search. Hence the confusion. Guess I need to play with other country's Googles some more.

Glad to see someone finds this interesting. I guess we're all pathological about our referral logs occasionally. You know, obsessing over that one-time visitor from some island in the pacific, or somesuch.
posted by Shane at 1:20 PM on March 16, 2004

« Older What to do with a cd network tower?   |   Switching to EarthLink Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.