Tuesday, 3 June 2008

No search engine traffic here please, and half you visitors can f*** off too

You gotta love sites that hate spiders as much as this. Open up IE (if you have it) and visit www.fdms.com. No problem, right? I mean, it's a pretty bad site, with some clear SEO problems, sucky design, lack of content, etc, but you can see something, at least (hopefully).

So, that's how things are meant to work - far from stunning, admittedly, but vaguely functional. Now, switch to something quite popular, say Firefox or Opera, and try the same. Oh! What's this?

IE4, you say.. that's what, a decade old this year? And I need a newer browser than that? Visitors aren't even given a chance to try their luck and saunter on in regardless. If developers are designing sites with IE4 as their target browser, something has to be seriously wrong. It fails with plenty of standards, meaning lots of exclusionist code bodges on the inside, and has had less than 0.5% market share with savvy users (see this list as W3Schools); even ignoring the bias that might be a list gathered there, IE4 hasn't shipped with any OS since Windows ME, 8 years ago. What the fuck are these guys on?

Anyway, luckily, hilarity ensues. Looking at the URL of this error page, we have http://www.fdms.com/ns_win.asp. Now, if they were detecting our browser using JavaScript, we'd still be able to see some kind of content somewhere - but we get HTTP-redirected to an error page. This looks like HTTP level user-agent sniffing. I wonder what the search engines think of that?

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Fantastic! We need Javascript and IE to browse this site, and if we're a spider, we can get lost. So what's the result?

Abject failure - 6 results, all of which save one are error pages and login links. Fantastic - keeping FDMS's developers where they belong - AS FAR AWAY FROM THE WEB AS POSSIBLE!


egbsystems said...

Nice useful information.

Thanks for the informations about "No search engine traffic here please, and half you visitors can f*** off too"


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