Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Something Cool, Something Scary

My free web stats provider, Site Meter, launched a new feature this week that is pretty cool. Called "World Map", it plots the most recent visitors to the site (up to 100 for a non-paying member like me) on a map of the world. You can also focus in on specific continents. When you roll over the dots a pop-up displays the IP address, city and country of the visitor. You'll be able to locate some of the more frequent visitors to BCC Weblog from places like New Brunswick, Fort Lee, Broken Arrow and Amsterdam (you know who you are!).

So yesterday I was playing around with "World Map" and noticed that in my last 100 visitors I had one from Iran and one from Egypt. Of course, both these countries have well developed network infrastructures so it is certainly no surprise that people are surfing the web there. Nevertheless, I could probably count on one hand the number of hits those two countries have generated over the entire life of this weblog. So I thought I might dig a little deeper and that's when things just got weird.

It turns out that both visits came from the same referral source - an MSN search for "DG". It's interesting enough that BCC Weblog makes the first page of results for this search (it doesn't on Google or Yahoo!). It's even more interesting to note that before this no visitor had ever come to the site through this keyword. Just what were these people searching for -– Data General?, Deutsche Grammophon?, Dollar General?, DG Systems? -– and why did they both choose to click the link for BCC Weblog?

Now I generally consider myself to be a fairly rational person. While it's true that Iran is a primary sponsor of international terrorism and that Al Qaeda's Ayman Al-Zawahiri comes from Egypt, I realize that the vast majority of people in both countries have nothing to do with these activities. While it's true that some Shiite leaders have insisted that chess is forbidden, it's hard to imagine that they are collecting information on individual chess bloggers. Nevertheless, in this case, I've decided to err on the side of irrational paranoia.

So just in case something untoward occurs, please point the authorities to this post. And if they say it was accident, don't believe them!

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