Tagging in the days before tags

24 March 2006

web-20

Back in the day, my friend Strick wanted a way for all of his friends to associate themselves together, even if they perhaps did not know one another. Effectively, the idea was to have a friends-of-Strick tag that could be distributedly applied by each of his friends to their own sites and servers.

Strick accomplished this by inventing a new word, such as frobnovich-1 or qwertyak, and having folks plonk them on their pages (such as I just did). Then it's just a matter of plugging these tags into AltaVista (and later Google) to see who is part of Strick's social cloud.

This was back in 1997, if I recall.

Of course, folks play games with Google, trying to find queries that return exactly 1 result, or folks will Google-bomb a term to push an alternative (typically making a social or political statement) result to the top of the list. But for 1997, before the tag-everything days of Web 2.0, I think Strick had himself a pretty good idea.

Strick wrote a FAQ about altavistaincantation.