18 February 2010

Favorite Icons and MSPaint Adventures

Today's regularly scheduled chess post has been cancelled due to an unforeseen, excessive waste of time. The usage statistics on my World Chess Championship site spiked a few times this month and I decided to find out what was happening.

The daily stats produced by my server host revealed nothing unusual, so I dusted off my homemade stat analysis software, downloaded the server log for February to-date, and imported the log into the software's database. A little tweaking revealed that someone (or something) has been requesting my FAVICON.ICO file every ten seconds for days at a time. This was the traffic spike I noticed.

The FAVICON.ICO file is the source of that little icon that is displayed in your browser bookmarks or on the browser address bar next to the address of the web page. It's a tiny 16x16 pixel image file that sits in the web site's root directory in case browsers ask for it. The fuzzy image at the beginning of this post shows each separate pixel in my icon, a chess King's crown.

Why would someone request this every ten seconds? Beats me. If I find out more, I'll mention it here.


While I was looking at the stats, I noted my site's referrers, i.e. other sites that are sending me traffic. The top five were...

773 www.google.com
233 en.wikipedia.org
139 www.google.co.uk
111 search.yahoo.com
108 www.bing.com

...meaning that www.google.com, for example, sent me 773 visitors over the period covered by the log, which was about two weeks.

The Google number are somewhat understated because the longest URLs are no longer processed correctly by my software and because there are so many Google domains. I counted 86 different Google domains (www.google.co.in, www.google.ca, etc.) that sent me traffic, out of 270 different domains total. By comparison, Yahoo traffic came from 23 different domains (uk.search.yahoo.com, etc.), Wikipedia from 21 (pl.wikipedia.org, etc.), and Bing only from the single www.bing.com.

Along with the search engines I received a lot of visitors from sites that have nothing to do with chess. One example was a forum thread called MSPaint Adventures - Homestuck Edition (somethingawful.com). The thread was discussing this picture of a chess board -- You fill each empty square with a bit of MOTOR OIL... -- when someone commented, 'I'm hoping that the game was a real game and some nerd has annotated it', and someone else pointed to my 'Every Move Explained' analysis of 1960 Leipzig - Letelier vs. Fischer. Since this is getting stranger and stranger, I'd better stop here.


Temposchlucker said...

Maybe your icon is used as a piece in an online game.

anthonybailey.net said...

In case no-one ever told you, the first thirteen moves of the Letelier/Fischer game are featured on this page of the webcomic Homestuck.

I have no idea why the board is mirrored, or where the (oddly invented) concluding sequence comes from.