I am an expert on combat-trained sea mammals

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 26 March 2003

Well, at least according to certain search engines, anyway.

Over the last couple of days I have been getting so many referrals to currybetdotnet from people searching for information about "dolphins in the gulf war", or "sea lions in iraq", and it really shows to me what I consider to be one of the key flaws of the current search engine model.

A couple of months ago I saw a news story about the US Navy animals in the early hours, and blogged it, with no evidence or links, just that I had seen this thing on TV. And when I initially started seeing search engine referrals to the post, the entry only consisted of one paragraph stating how surreal I thought the news story was. It had what I considered to be comedy footage of a sea lion pursuing a 'baddie' on foot/flipper in order to attach a homing beacon to him. It was the 31st January, nearly every news item was reflecting the military build-up to the war on Iraq, and this seemed to be a classic 'dead donkey' story. But the combination of links pointing at this site, the text in the post, and the fact that it was in search engine indexes whilst better, fresher genuine news sources were not, somehow made "Sea Lions and Dolphins trained for war" one of the worlds top web resources on combat-trained sea mammals.

It was partly as a result of seeing this in the logfiles that I wrote the 'popular posts' widget, so that the navigation on the right reflects where people are going, rather than what I did most recently, which is the way the blog format works. But also as a result of seeing so many people arrive on this page looking for information on the topic I expanded the post to include external links and now the picture.

The funny thing is that this story is basically a microcosm of my job. I saw in the logfiles that people were searching for "dolphins in iraq" and that they were being referred to "Sea Lions and Dolphins Trained for War". I realised that wasn't going to be a good answer to their query. I then altered the content of the post from my initial off-the-cuff 'this is surreal' content to add something that, hopefully, points the user to somewhere they will find information on the story they were searching for.

A very dear friend pointed out to me the other week that if your job is also your hobby, and you still enjoy both, then you are in exactly the right job.

I suspect I am.

2 Comments

i was drunk when i said that...

hi my name is sophie and i wont to ask you where i came go to see a dolphin i know thats waide guestion but i wont to know PLEASE becouse i LOVE dolphin i did a speech about and made it to the finals anyways please e-mail me back if you will.

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