question about search results

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While looking up information using search engine I noticed
some links were preceded by "a string of
characters" and sometimes followed by a target link.

Out of interest I started some searches on the link.  The
only information I could find was at and this is what it

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Does anyone know what the story is with or where I can find
valid information?


Re: question about search results

New Carver wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

it just looks like a redirect host to me, which altavista and yahoo would use to
conveniently log and track clicks on outbound links from search results.

av would stand for 'altavista' -- altavista is also known as (overture
bought altavista or in february 2003, and yahoo bought overture in ~july
2003. -- hence the parent domain).

as far as the redirect syntax itself, this is one of the search result urls from
altavista when i search for 'music', it redirects the user to the wikipedia
entry for music: ;_ylu=X3oDMTBvdmM3bGlxBHBndANhdl93ZWJfcmVzdWx0BHNlYwNzcg--/SIG=11mrk0d14/EXP=1185251962/**http%3a//

yahoo might use the gibberish string in there to weed out click fraud or expire
outdated redirects. to transport an end-user from, they don't
seem to require anything except the urlencoded target url prefaced by an asterisk: /*http%3a//

i can see from a quick web search that lots of email spammers take advantage of
this redirector (and redirectors hosted by other major domains) to drive traffic
to malicious web pages -- since the spam-checking tools tend to evaluate just
the first domain that appears in a url (in this case, its, and what
spam-checking tool would want to block


sean dreilinger - /

Re: question about search results

Sean, thank you for your excellent answer.  More than I expected, but
appreciated by me.

Quoted text here. Click to load it
I use PC-cillin and periodically, it will warn to not click on any links on
the current page and to close the window browser.  Some of these are what I
would have thought are legitimate business web sites.  Are these the
Malicious web pages you mentioned in the above paragraph?

Again thanks

P.S. went to your web site.  Very nice.

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