Baiting spiders

Dedicated readers of the Star Chamber will remember a piece from way back in October of 1996 called Spider-Baiting. Avoiding for the moment the obvious joke that this was centuries ago in web time (though the venerable StarChamber was already six months old), it was a time when search engines were still called spiders. The idea of the piece was that a search engine would read the lascivious text-between-the-lines of our innocent story about canoeing on the Ipswich river, and then horny teenagers from around the world would bombard our site with page requests.

Clever enough, only it didn’t happen that way. Recently, we received (from one Alan H. Martin) the following email here at the Star Chamber executive editorial offices:


However, I just hit the page with the following AltaVista query:

+”ipswich river” +canoe*

(since I just bought topo of Eastern Mass./RI and want to find the location of the canoe rental place my group at work used years ago on an outing…)


In other words, the only person who found the page with a search engine was actually looking for someone to help him innocently canoe down the Ipswich river! And, by the way, he found what he was looking for (through no assistance from us)… so if you’re ever in eastern Massachusetts and you’re looking for a good place to outfit a canoe trip, try the Foote Brothers. And tell ’em Paracelsus sent ya.

This week we are honored and delighted to publish in this space a contribution from a long-time friend of the Star Chamber, Pandora. It’s a great big world, and it’s getting bigger every day.

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