Revenge of the Web

The Internet and Its Millions of Crawlers Are Watching Me and Recording Everything I Do

Katherine BonfanteBy Katherine Bonfante, Managing Editor, Digital Media

I open my email inbox and see a lot more e-mails than usual. I get excited and think it must be news from my friends, yet 99% of my unread email is junk.

Well, this is the result of my Web-surfing adventure that rare day I had free time to spend a few hours online. I read some news articles, the latest Hollywood gossip, reviews on local restaurants, hot vacation spots and I might have clicked on a few pop-up ads. Now newspapers, gossip magazines, airlines, hotels, diet pills, home-delivered meals and car dealerships won’t stop filling up my inbox with their information.

They’re watching me. The Internet and its millions of crawlers are watching me and recording everything I do. Where I go, what I click on, what I read, what I buy, how often I do all these things and how much time I spend doing it. I can’t hide from them. When they don’t find me online, somehow they learn my home address and they get me there. I can’t escape them.

Well, if crawlers have watched me for this long and no one has stopped them from learning where I go on the Web, then I can do something similar. I won’t track you individually, but I want to know where our users go when they visit I’ve been following the most popular articles on our site for this year, and so far I’ve learned which Web pages are visited the most.

More than 3,500 of our online visitors have read our article, “Observers or Sensors for Drive Controls?” This is an article we published in early 2007, and it discusses why open-loop, algorithmic motor control is an accurate, less-costly alternative to sensor-based drive solutions. It surprises me to see this as our most requested article so far in 2008. Maybe some of you can email me and tell me why you like it so much.

More than 3,400 visitors have been interested in our recent article, “What Cost, These Controls Engineers?” Our managing editor, Mike Bacidore, reported the results of our 2008 salary survey results.

Machine Builder Forum ( also shares a spot among the most popular links with more than 3,100 readers checking out our entry, “Your New Technology Has Arrived.” Here, we invited our readers to be a part of our technology trends story by answering a few questions about machine control and industrial networking trends.

Our friend Harry, the USBC’s robotic bowling ball thrower, earned the top spot for the most watched video. Who knew that more than 3,300 visitors would be interested in watching this video in which a machine is used to study bowling ball motion and how advanced high-tech equipment can influence lane conditions and scoring in the bowling sport.

Crawlers know what my online reading preferences are, now I know what Control Design’s Web visitors reading preferences are, too. I can go back to our editors and tell them what automation subjects we should continue to cover because I know what you are most interested in reading when you come to visit. 

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