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Secrets In Websites II

This post is a follow up to the first Secrets In Websites. For those who don’t remember the first time, I point out odd, interesting, funny things in other websites’ code. Yes it takes some time to put a post like this together, that’s why it’s just about a year since the last time. Enough with the intro, read on for the code.

The Code

You’ll notice a comment sure to make any web developer laugh on’s login page

<link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css" />
    <!–[if IE]>
        <style type="text/css">#login h1 a { margin-top: 35px; } #login #login_error { margin-bottom: 10px; }</style>< ![endif]–>
    <!– Curse you, IE! –>

The guys behind WordPress a while back took the site BrowseHappy under its wing. WordPress has always been a strong believer in web standards, so this isn’t surprising (though still amusing). Did you also know that the guys behind it (Automattic) don’t have job titles? Unless you consider “Chief BBQ Taste Tester” to be a real job title. Matt, I hope your job doesn’t kill you with a heart attack.


The geniuses over at Facebook feel the same and put the following on the top of their IE conditionally included stylesheets:

/*  ————————————————————————
                    Facebook | IE/PC Hacks |
    ————————————————————————  */


The ever so popular popurls has the following comment in the header of the page.

 __   __      
(  \,/  )
 (_/ \_)                  – thomas and the wise popurls butterfly


RedHat was one of the earlier corporate sites to redo itself into a standards based design. They have great respect for those who came before them. In their master CSS file they have the following tribute as well as a little remark about Netscape 4.x:

/* MASTER style sheet
    a tip of the red hat to Zeldman, Bowman, Meyer, Shea, Cederholm, Newhouse, Holzschlag,
    and many, many other CSS and web standards pioneers who have inspired us.
    the CSS, layout and validation status of is a work-in-progress. numerous
    web-building worker bees are working furiously to correct the bugs, minimize the hacks
    and validate the code. stay tuned.
——————————————————————– created June 2004 */
@import URL("global.css");
@import URL("dig.css");
/* —————————————————————- ns4 styles – bah! */
table {
    border: 1px;

Panic Software

Panic Software has a cool little piece of code for those who browse the product page for Coda (awesome product BTW) with IE and don’t have at least version 6.0:

<!–[if lte IE 6]><p id="iewarning"><img src="/extras/ripoff/images/ie-warning.gif" alt="IE Warning" title="We hear Firefox is nice!" /></p>< ![endif]–>

I hear it’s pretty nice too.

Panic also has a comment in the head of their homepage that reads:

<!– This homepage design is not long for this world. Enjoy it while you can! 🙂 –>


Twitter (who redirects to drop the ‘www’ BTW) is a very popular service these days. In their HTML they mark which server served up the data. You’ll see it in the form:

<!– served to you through a copper wire by at 24 Nov 19:08 in 11 MS (d 0 / r 8). thank you, come again. –>

Copper eh? No fiber in your data center? I won’t judge, as long as your bandwidth is plentiful.

Here’s a bonus from WordPress. While many analytics programs use a 1px transparent “tracker gif” to manage statistics, WordPress did something a little different. At the very bottom on the left hand side, you can see the face of WordPress analytics in all it’s tiny glory.


This technically applies to more than just Firefox. You’d be surprised to see how many times kungFuDeathGrip is in the code base.

Many Sites using Google Products/Services

Many people have noticed strange Google tags on sites such as:

<!–googleoff: index–>
<!–googleon: index–>

This isn’t a “SEO” practice, despite some misconception on the web. This is used by the Google Search Appliance, a product made by Google which many websites use to power their own search engines to tell the engine what to read and what to ignore. It wouldn’t be practical for Google to use these “in the wild”. The reason is that spammers could effectively hide an alternate website within those comments. Google’s business is based largely on accurate search results. Spammers have already tried to abuse the CSS property display: none;. This would be even better. You can find code like this on among many other sites.

Webmasters can however optimize their side for AdSense using a technique recommended by Google:

<!– google_ad_section_start –>
<!– google_ad_section_end –>

This tells Google to give weight to a certain part of your page when deciding what ad to display on the page. This is good for cases where you feel other material on your page is influencing the ads and resulting in off-topic ads.



Microsoft‘s offering against Linux and Apache is IIS on Windows. Which one would expect they themselves use. What they don’t tell you is that they also have used Akamai (with over 25,000 servers), which uses Linux. They have used Akamai for many things like DNS, and caching files. Rather than “Powered By Windows Server” maybe they should append “hiding behind Linux”. was previously Adobe/Macromedia’s model customer because it was written in ColdFusion, and said to be the biggest ColdFusion site on the net (and one of the biggest sites on the net). Many think it still is, but it’s not. While many URL’s suggest it might be because they end in .cfm it’s actually running and has been since aprox, 2006. You can confirm this by viewing the headers on some of their pages. You’ll see:

X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727‘s site has search powered by a Google Search Appliance. MTV is also owned by Viacom who sued Google, the parent company of YouTube. The folks at MTV awesomely admitted the irony during relaunch on their blog.

Global Crossing

Tier 1 networking provider Global Crossing really wants you to know how fast they are. Doing a trace could turn up something like this:

  7    15 MS    13 MS    14 MS []
  8    14 MS    13 MS    13 MS []

Yes that’s right, they use 10 GigE! Just FYI.


Firefox 2.0

In Firefox 2.0, go to “About Firefox” (under the help menu for Windows, under the Firefox menu for Mac), and click on credits. You’ll notice Stephen Colbert. He wrote it single handedly, but added some other names because he’s a nice guy. Bonus: I’m on the list too. Above him because I’m better than him. That’s right, I said it.



Chase for some reason puts it’s login form in plain text. The submit URL is https, but it doesn’t feel right. They do have a SSL enabled login page, but for some reason they hide it. Here it is for those interested:


For some reason, most of Google’s services are insecure by default. By simply going to https, you can use SSL for added security.
Google Calendar:
Google Reader:

On the next page is the 2008 US Presidential Candidate Campaign sites…

69 replies on “Secrets In Websites II”

Hmm, another comment not directly related the article.
I’m annoyed by some pages that promote non-IE browsers. Instead of positively checking if IE is used, and ocmplain if it is, they check for FF and complains (Shows a switch message) if it FF is not being used. For me as an Opera user that is annoying.

If you wonder, Opera stopped identifying itself as IE some years ago, so it’s not that. But when it happens, I can of course ues mask as FF, and all is fine.

I saw the little wordpress smilie on one of my blogs and couldn’t figure out what in the hell it was or where it came from … let alone how to move it. At least now I don’t think I’m quite as crazy 😛

Oops, i meant to say “!– Delicious Delicacies for bots… humans just ignore ;-). –!”, the tag messed it up.

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