Earlier today I was digging in some referral stats and ran across the Worst Search Results Page Ever. And, no, this is not about MSN, Ask, Google, or even Yahoo.

Witness the results of a SlashMySearch.com video search for "zawodny" (because you never know when those secret videos are going to leak onto the vast interwebs):

worst search results page ever

Now before you click that image to get the full-sized version, it probably looks sort of reasonable, right? From a distance it does.

Now go ahead and look more closely. See if you notice the following things:

  1. It's very difficult to tell the difference between the advertisements (I mean "sponsored links") and the organic links because they're all on a white background. Most respectable search engines try to provide some very obvious visual clue that the paid links are different.
  2. The "BLACK HAT SEARCH TRAFFIC?" advertisement just below the "Also Try" line is classy. Really classy. I mean, who doesn't want a search engine CLOAKER that delivers top rankings?!?!?!?!?!
  3. The message in the middle of the page that tells you there were 0 results found is partially overwritten by an advertisement on the right side.
  4. Wait a minute! If there were no [organic] results found, that means THE WHOLE FREAKING PAGE IS FULL OF ADVERTISEMENTS.
  5. The main ads all feature images on the left, a tactic explicitly banned by Google because it tricks users into clicking advertisements.


But that's just me. I'm sure I missed a few things.

What can you spot?

Posted by jzawodn at March 26, 2007 08:41 PM

Reader Comments
# Kurt said:

Odds are, this is a PPC portal that goes along with some context sensitive spyware. There are millions of these "search" engines that usually show only Overture or Google Adwords.

on March 26, 2007 09:06 PM
# Matt Cutts said:

I liked the "Results 1 - 0 of about 0"

on March 26, 2007 09:17 PM
# Ryan said:

Look at their main page.. they claim to be the "only" site offering previews of results, yet the search takes you to a snap.com page.

Also it looks like they're offering a "pay to search" type feature where they pay you to search. It would seem like that's not only a violation of most Google or YPN TOS, but it's also a business model that assures they probably won't be around long enough to hear from adsense or ypn.

on March 27, 2007 07:19 AM
# Elmer W. Cagape said:

I would like to find out what's "zawodny's law".

I guess the ads perpetually appear on the "search results" page whose text that appear in bold dynamically changes to the value of the search term used.

** Find [phrase] at Netster.
** Still searching for [phrase].

on March 27, 2007 05:56 PM
# John said:

Hey Jeremy...I think this search engine is much, much worse. That's just from a "who's connected" to it standpoint...


on March 27, 2007 09:41 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Who'd that be?

on March 28, 2007 07:25 AM
# Marek said:

I am with Matt... I love "results 1 - 0 of about 0" and then they return at least 6 results... this must be the new math ;)

on March 28, 2007 01:23 PM
# Jeremy Palmer said:

That page is pretty bad, but I think that DogPile gives it a run for its money.

A simple search for Yahoo Personals


Results 1-4 are sponsored ads

5 is organic

6-12 are sponsored ads

13 is organic

14-16 are sponsored ads

As you can see it's basically a page of sponsored ads with a few organic results thrown in. The sponsored ads look nearly identical to the organic results...

on March 29, 2007 05:47 PM
# Dave said:
on April 7, 2007 09:56 AM
# George said:

I wonder if we will ever see an alternative to Google....

on August 31, 2008 08:47 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.