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Table Of Contents  The TCP/IP Guide
 9  TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7)
      9  TCP/IP Key Applications and Application Protocols
           9  TCP/IP Application Layer Addressing: Uniform Resource Identifiers, Locators and Names (URIs, URLs and URNs)
                9  Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)

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URL Length and Complexity Issues
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Uniform Resource Names (URNs)
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URL Obscuration, Obfuscation and General Trickery
(Page 1 of 4)

Most of the time, the owner of a resource wants the URL that refers to the resource to be short, simple and easily-understood. Thus, long and complex URLs are usually the result of necessity, accident or ignorance. Some resources need to have long names for whatever reason, such as the use of the long query string in the Google example; other times, URLs are made long because the owner of the resource doesn't realize that using a long DNS host name or file name will make for a long and unwieldy URL.

Whatever the reasons for these situations, they are not deliberate. Recent years, however, have seen a dramatic rise in the use of intentionally long, complex, confusing and deliberately deceptive URLs. These URLs are either structured so that it is impossible to tell what they are, or worse, they are made to appear as if they point to one resource when they really go to another.

Why would people do this? Simple: because they fear being open and honest about their “resources”. And who would these people be? Why, they would be the spammers and con artists who overload our Internet e-mail boxes with offers of every sort imaginable, from making you rich beyond your wildest dreams, to inflating the dimensions of certain body parts to unnatural sizes…

They are afraid that if the URL indicated clearly what the “resource” was, you might not click on the link; or that if you identify them as a spammer you might filter out their e-mail. They also figure that if they can make the URL appear to be something interesting, you'll load it. Even if it turns out to be something you didn't expect, maybe you'll pay attention anyway.

(You mean you are too smart to be tricked into buying a product through a deceptive URL? And you would never support a spammer anyway? What a coincidence, same with me! Yet the spam keeps coming; it must work or they wouldn't keep doing it… would they? J)


Previous Topic/Section
URL Length and Complexity Issues
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Pages in Current Topic/Section
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234
Next Page
Uniform Resource Names (URNs)
Next Topic/Section

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Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005

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