Sit back, and listen to my tale of why every large ISP who newly impliments the
“Powered By Google” search on their site doesn’t bother to test any of it.

A long time ago at the day job, I decided to install a simple 404 page on the
servers that would email me every time an internet user requested a resource
that doesn’t exist. Like all things Murphy, sometimes images of pages are
forgotten during a rollout. No biggie. Better to know something is missing than to not bother checking.

For the 3rd time in the last year however, I’ve started getting thousands of 404
error emails a day from users of a large ISP implimenting the “Powered By Google” search and
it’s now time to vent. First it was, now it’s AOL. You’d think these
people would notice that every search result link with a querystring in it
returns a 404 Not Found page. Guess not.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter Carbon Fiber Fenders into the search box and click the Search
  3. Click on the second search result labeled “Online Showoff” (that’s not us
  4. Say hello to your new friend: the 404 NOt Found error.
  5. Page through the search results. Click on any url with querystrings. Say
    hello to your new friend 404 :-(

<![CDATA[ <a href="redir?src=websearch&amp;requestId=74ad6aa9215e6815&amp;clickedItemRank= 2&amp;userQuery=Carbon+Fiber+Fenders&amp;clickedItemURN= 20%2526tid%253D2881" onmouseover="self.status=''; return true" onmouseout="self.status=''; return true"> ]]>

Isn’t that nice. Take note of this part:

<![CDATA[ clickedItemURN= 20%2526tid%253D2881 ]]>

When that crap comes out of their redirect script, we get this:

<![CDATA[ ]]>

instead of this:

<![CDATA[ ]]>

Briiiing. Clue Phone. It’s for you AOL.

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