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Using SEO Tools to 'Cheat' Competitions

Posted on January 01, 2014

One of our favourite Australian online retailers, SurfStitch, just finished running a competition to promote sharing of their website and getting people to dive deep into their product list. The aim was to find the URL's of pages with Easter Eggs hidden on them. Now that the competition has finished (although we didn't enter) we thought it was safe to post this. We were interested to see how the competition calculated which URL's were right or wrong, we dove into the code a little deeper. It didn't take much effort to find all of the answers, however encrypted:

arrURL[0] = "dcb5206f9b7b5e7a828d5aa76444b76c"; arrURL[1] = "1e909aaa25174907d3be99ec9fafdc15"; arrURL[2] = "af346cd8df0520c1b7ff146b1fb7114b"; arrURL[3] = "ee713cfd374359b8d2a525f657e2ee66"; arrURL[4] = "c7960b37ddacd77d21c57a50c680a6ff"; arrURL[5] = "fd6ccf6b104155ca7b2a283ada01a2b6"; arrURL[6] = "a4924e23e1f2a4aa719f6ae9e672dde9"; arrURL[7] = "f3147fff04724f063ab9118c248bee82"; arrURL[8] = "e3e3b3bf96dfbfcdfb6e6c6b923aeff9"; arrURL[9] = "7fcfd635452b27178b155b88902c9d74"; arrURL[10] = "c49dbfb83694ccb5af627fb9abab3fbf"; arrURL[11] = "c081c3d763ed17b7f431c416784f90cf"; arrURL[12] = "fd429cae6dd90e6d605eb0c5a84e624b"; arrURL[13] = "c0b8a897cea2aadb24a1d75288aa560a"; arrURL[14] = "850cecdedd23350a1dc6e202091052c1"; arrURL[15] = "344b08ed434b3d849d823c693056b9e3"; arrURL[16] = "7d5d4f72adef70d6646d5f1d4923512b"; arrURL[17] = "05b7e9a162f51281aea558e468c8d067"; arrURL[18] = "55d89a5e3e0e9d062a97e5ae9d5a5b6b"; arrURL[19] = "f0d4674296ea4e752310011fc9e255ad"; arrURL[20] = "c0ed673b662119d5b7e0100b7f97da7b"; arrURL[21] = "fdadccbd8739503af18d3e2c8dc54e2e";

(Interestingly, there are actually 22 answers, not the 20 they suggest!) Seeing as these answers are all just URL's, all we had to do was get a list of the product URL's on their website. We achieved this by using Google search with the "" operator and saving URL results as a CSV using the SEO Quake plugin. We also used Screaming Frog SEO software to help get this list of URL's. Now that we had the answers, and the list of possible answers, all we had to do was match them up! A few quick lines of Javascript with help from @nicgordon:

_ _

This neatly prints out the list of all of the correct answers :) Luckily for SurfStitch, the competition is drawn at random out of the correct answers, so having these alone does not guarantee any prizes. How could this competition be more fool-proof? The URL checking needed to be server-side so that the public cannot access the list of answers.

About the Author

Daniel Zuccon

Operations Director

Daniel Zuccon made his first website in 1998 for a friend in exchange for a skateboard. (Don't worry, his programming skills are far better than his short-lived skating career!).

Since then, he has run several online businesses including boutique eCommerce stores and large online communities, so he understands the issues Australian businesses face every day.

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