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Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Nuts and Bolts: alphabet hacking.

When you want to purchase something on line, how do you choose which product to buy? It might not be the top item in the list provided by your search engine, but it'll probably be something you come across on the first pages or two.

This means that it's really important for a seller to be as near as possible to the top of the list.

Being top of a list has long been an advantage (there are still firms called Aardvark Plumbing) but nowadays not many people use physical directories. So how does a company get to the top of a search-engine list?

Well, computer systems (being logical) are quite easily fooled, and one way to do this is to start off your company name with a bit of punctuation. Or even with several bits of punctuation. 

This isn't illegal, though such tricksy tactics do tend to be used by firms that aren't a hundred per cent trustworthy. 

In the UK, the top-listed PCR test to buy on one search engine is from a company called !!! 0-100Travel 19. And their prices turn out to be rather higher than they at first appear.

This method of getting noticed is called alphabet hacking. The most interesting thing about it, I think, is that alphabet hacking involves deliberately not using letters of the alphabet.

Still, perhaps I should change my own name to !!Sally+Prue. Maybe that'd help book sales.

Nuts and Bolts: alphabet hacking. The word alphabet comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta.

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