Archive for April, 2006

A flickr of new spam

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

Recently, I have received a few requests from Web sites asking permission to use my photos posted on Flickr. Of course, there is a flattering element to all this. Wow, someone thinks some of my photographs are worthy of being reproduced. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, these requests are rarely for photos I consider particularly good or interesting.

The last such email I received had a curious subject line: “Re: Your jennifer Aniston Photographs”. I don’t have any “jennifer Aniston” photographs, not any I can recall. That was clue #1 as to the possibly fishy nature of the message. Clue #2: the link provided in the email that I should click if I was interested in sharing my photos with the site’s members seemed to be an individualized link (a sequence of numbers after a generic URL) suggesting that my response was being tracked. The URL had “flickr” in it, a convenient way to confuse people and have them think that they’re simply clicking on a Flickr photo link. No, it was a link to the site being advertised by the message.

Yes folks, I think these supposedly flattering messages are all about advertisements for the sites in question. They don’t really care to use our photos, they are mostly just interested in getting the word out about their sites and services. Some of them at least put in some effort by looking up a relevant photo to suggest for inclusion. But others don’t even bother to pretend that they have any connection to you other than including you in a new type of spam scheme.

I know there are several Flickr users who read my blog. I have heard from one of you about a similar experience. Anyone else? I’m purposefully not listing the sites that have contacted me, I’m not going to play along. However, I’m curious if anyone else received a message from “Calder” with the cryptic link.

Links for 2006-04-06

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

Links for 2006-04-05

Wednesday, April 5th, 2006

Links for 2006-04-04

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Links for 2006-04-03

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Links for 2006-04-02

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

April Fool’s

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

In 2002, Google brought us PigeonRank.

Today, Ask brings us RhymeRank. Check out the results for Crooked Timber (right-hand side of the screen) or try the service on your favorite search term. [UPDATE 4/2: As of April 2nd these results are no longer available.]

Yahoo! went a bit too geeky on this judging from reactions to my various past posts by making their April Fool’s all about Web 2.0 and calling it “All Your Web 2.0 Are Belong To Us”. After all, if you don’t know what Web 2.0 is then you’re certainly not going to find that post amusing. In any case, it’s just a blog post on their Search Blog, it’s not as though they introduced a whole new service.

What other April Fool’s have you come across today? No, they do not have to be search related.

A matching problem

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

This year’s Google April Fool’s joke is Google Romance, a service that will help you find your romantic match. It’s sort of cute, although I think some of their past jokes have been better.

The site does bring up something I have been meaning to blog about so I’ll take this opportunity. It concerns the paradox of matching services such as dating Web sites or job search sites. I haven’t thought about this issue too much, but enough to blog about it. (What’s the threshold for blogability, by the way?:)

Services such as dating and job search sites promise the user to find a perfect match, whether in the realm of romance or the labor market. But deep down, is it really in the interest of these sites to work well? After all, if they do a good job then the seekers are no longer relevant customers and the sites lose their subscribers.

One way to deal with this is to offer additional services that go beyond the matching process. For example, the match-making site eHarmony now has a service for married couples. It is an interesting idea. It seems like a reasonable way to expand their user (subscription!) base so they are not dependent on keeping matchless those whom they promise to connect. Moreover, I can see that they may have quite a loyal user base in those whom they helped find their matches. Job sites can also offer services that go beyond the initial match. Nonetheless, I think there is an interesting tension in all this.

On a not completely unrelated note: Happy Birthday to GMail! Fortunately, that was not an April Fool’s two years ago. I came across the Google Romance notice on Google’s homepage, because I saw the GMail birthday icon and wanted to see if they had it in bigger on the Google homepage (a page I never visit otherwise, because why would I in the age of search toolbars). The birthday image is not reproduced there, but I did see the Romance link. (Yes, I’m obsessed with knowing how people end up on various sites and I’m projecting here by assuming that anyone else cares.)

Links for 2006-04-01

Saturday, April 1st, 2006