General Question

flo's avatar

How can a link give different result at different times?

Asked by flo (12974points) March 18th, 2011
had the correct result 2 days ago.
and yestersday, this one:
had the wrong result. An hour or so ago, I found the reverse result when I clicked on them. Now they are back to the correct result.
It makes a liar out of the poster/sender of the link. What if someone gets convicted as a result of this as part of the evidence?

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11 Answers

MissA's avatar

Funny you should mention this…I’ve had this problem with real estate sites lately. I don’t know enough about web page building…but, I’ll bet that’s where the problem lies. Good question.

MissA's avatar

I get “no results found” for both. ???

flo's avatar

@MissA that is another thing too. Maximixze the window and see at the right bottom-ish area, that is where the result is.
Here is the origin of the Q by the way:

Zaku's avatar

Because a link is just a request to a server to respond with something. The server can change what it responds to, and could even be programmed to respond randomly every time the same thing is asked for.

In your example link, it isn’t even a link, but a link to a search engine, with parameters of what to search for. Not only can the content change, but the data that the search engine uses probably changes all the time, and it might very well be programmed so that it doesn’t return the same results, or not in the same sequence, each time.

YARNLADY's avatar

News reports are the worst. Our online newspaper has a contest where we earn points by clicking on the link and giving the answer found, only sometimes the link has been changed and there is no correct answer to the question. It’s very frustrating.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Clueless as to why you’re attempting to search Jim Croce on Apple’s web site?

MissA's avatar

@BarnacleBill Perhaps she’s wanting to search the i-store.

ETpro's avatar

Many links go to a specific HTML page, and unless some scripting such as a JavaScript on the page modifies the result of clicking, say to serve a page suited for full-screen PCs to desktop users and a different page optimized for hand-held devices to certain detected conditions, the link will always deliver the same results till the actual HTML page it leads to is modified.

But the link you quoted is not to a fixed object. It instead links to a CGI script that searches for results matching a specific criteria. The results it serves are dynamically generated from a search of a database, and every time the data in that database changes, what that link yields will change accordingly. The clue to this is the question mark in the HREF (Hypertext Reference) of the link. Everything after the question mark is part of something called a query string. That query string tells the CGI script what to do. In this case, since it is a search, the CGI runs a search for a variable named “g” and passes the value “jim+corce” to that variable.

CGI or Common Gateway Interface scripts can be used for all sorts of server-side processing such as accepting, checking and emailing or storing form input; adding form input to a database, searching a database and much, much more.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo Your search the other day did not have the “correct” results. You are not searching iTunes, you are searching the Apple dot com website. They are different things.

General searches of the Apple web site return different results on different days as they promote new or upgraded products.

flo's avatar

I am speechless. Speechless I am.

flo's avatar

When we make errors and Google asks “do you mean…” it must be acting ridiculous and ineffective.

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