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Every new technology brings forth new ways to subvert it. This is the most recent example on the World Wide Web. Those who create commercial Web sites obviously want as many visits (hits) as possible. Some have attempted to increase their hit rate by fooling the search engines which hunt out and index sites into putting their pages near the top of lists produced in response to search queries. By burying many repetitions of key words within comments in their Web pages, they hope to fool search systems which rank sites by their relevance. This process is called spamdexing, a blend of indexing with spam, a much older Internet term for posting an advertising message to many Usenet newsgroups, which comes from the Spam sketch in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in which the word is repeated many times. The verb is spamdex. This may prove to be a temporary term, as those who run search engines are working hard to program their search tools to disregard spamdexed sites.

Page created 8 Feb. 1997

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World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–2014. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 8 February 1997.