Friday 27 March 2009

The '109th post' special: Self-indulgent navel gazing

Isn't the Internet wonderful, though? I mean, really, isn't it?
It's like a vast swirling ocean of mystery. The things you can find out there sometimes make your hair stand on end, particularly if you venture into the uncharted waters of what gets returned with Googles 'moderate safe search off'. (Note to my wife: As promised, I never do that, as it is all just porn and fake Rolexes - at least, that's what I'm told. By the way, for my birthday I'd like a new watch, this new one I bought is rubbish...)
But the best thing about the Net is that for every slightly weird, off-centre or marginalised search term, there's still a set of returned results. Which means that for every blogger who checks their Google Analytics regularly, desperate for the ego-feed of knowing that six people visited their site yesterday (i.e every blogger, ever) there is a list of strange, sometimes compelling 'referring links' that show you exactly what phrase your visitors typed into their search box which then led them to your site.
Which means, by extension, that for a blogger struggling for inspiration (someone who, let's say, normally writes caustically about family life, but who has not been belittled by his wife recently and whose children have been remarkably well behaved of late, and so is lacking in source material) there is the chance to examine these 'referring links' and try to desperately mine some low-grade comedy out of them, in a hideous act of navel-gazing that both shames them as a writer and deters return visits by regular readers.

I hope by now that you can see where this is headed.

Here then, for your (carefully enclosed in quotes) 'enjoyment' are some of the recent search terms that drew poor, unsuspecting saps to this corner or the web. Pity these people - they didn't deserve this. I have linked the phrase they searched on in each case to the post they were taken to. All are 100% genuine, and for me each paints a delicious little picture in the mind. I am only sorry I have no opportunity to contact them to ask further questions...

1) "What does it mean if a man offers wife tea?"
What, indeed?
I like the ambiguity of this one, as I can picture two scenarios. In the first, a bitter, disgruntled misogynist has, after many years of marriage, accidentally prepared his wife a hot beverage and is now questioning his masculinity as a result.
In the second (which I slightly prefer) a married couple visit a single male friend who offers them both a cuppa, and the husband is suspicious that the phrase 'Do you take sugar?' is a coded message for "Do you want to pop round sometime while your old man is out at work, and get it on?"

2) "Does Kirsten Dunst put out?"
A much less ambiguous query. I have no first-hand experience I can draw on here (oh, if only...) and her Facebook profile mysteriously lacks any useful clarification on the subject, but I still feel I can assist: Yes, I think she probably does, to the right person - which, I suspect, is almost certainly not the kind of person who types "Does Kirsten Dunst put out?" into a search engine.

3) "Marriage Guidance Hong Kong"
This is my own stupid fault. Last time I went trawling through the 'referring site' links I ended up writing a jokey post about a site visitor from Hong Kong who had erroneously been directed by the term 'marriage guidance' to a page I wrote of some of the worst marital advice you could ever imagine. What I didn't realise at the time was that by writing about it, this site would then feature even more prominently in the search results of the next person who searched for 'Hong Kong marriage guidance' - who would click on the link, thus reinforcing Google's belief that this was a useful resource on the topic, so making it appear for the next persons, and so on, and so on...
As a result I now get at least a couple of visitors a week from Hong Kong whose marriages are crumbling and are seeking help, and all they find is a cheap joke about Heather Mills.
(Sudden thought: dammit, by writing this I have just made it worse...)

4) "Things a wife should know"
Here's what I like to think happened: there's this very young, very sweet, recently married wife, and she's worried that she isn't doing everything she could to endear herself to her new husband - thing seem a little rocky already. So she goes on to the Internet, types "things a wife should know" into a search engine, and discovers that all she has to do to keep her husband happy is never buy square mugs, disposable breast pads or 'Spirit of Christmas' room freshener. With this new-found wisdom, and confident in the knowledge that expert help is only a few clicks away, she casts aside all of her self-doubt and goes on to enjoy a long, fulfilling happy marriage. (Many years later, after decades of searching, her eternally grateful husband tracks me down to thank me in person and inform me that their first-born son was named in my honour).
Yeah. That's what happened.

5) "Single testicle humiliation"
Oh, look, you don't need me to describe the scenario I have in my head here, right?
But I will say this: Mum, you remember when I started writing this blog, and you generally liked it, except you thought it had far too many references to testicles?
Do you understand now, that there is a need out there for this kind of stuff?
Can you now see that this blog is a valuable resource to the Single Testicle Humiliation Community?
Bet you feel foolish now, eh? I wasn't just talking 'a load of ball', as some of my funnier friends in the STHC like to say.

And there we have it. I have been informed, since I started this post, that when a blogger starts writing about their referral links, it is the beginning of the end. I prefer to think of it as the end of the beginning, and perhaps I can move on to new era of thoughtful, mature analysis and insightful writing...
Next week: my spam folder, and an examination of the many ways you can spell 'Viagra' by artfully deploying accented characters and mixing upper and lower case.


Unknown said...

/b/ that is all

Misterimpatient said...

"pop tarts" is the number one search term in my stats but I have no idea what page of the search result I appear on. Probably 1023. I'd forgotten I'd even written about them! If I had only one testicle, that I would have remembered.