Late Sunday I published Ten Theses on Tablets; it picked up a few high-profile links and referrals and went mildly viral and as of now has been read (in a browser as opposed to a feed reader) 13,911 times. Who do you think might have sent those people?
I wondered that myself, so I ran my referers script, and was a little puzzled because there were a few from Hacker News and TechMeme, but not that many. I dug a little deeper and, as of now, 11,721 of those fetches had an empty “referer” field in the log-file. Who do you think might have sent those people?
I’ve now tested a couple of hypotheses, and I’m pretty sure the answer is: Twitter clients. At least, I’ve verified that for two different Twitter clients, one on Mac and one on Android, when they wake up a browser to follow a link, there’s no referer.
This could be because the URL shorteners are getting in the way. It could be because the API you use to send the default browser after a URL doesn’t have a slot for “referer”. I could investigate, but I bet someone who’s reading this knows.
This is a problem. If someone follows a link in one of
my tweets, I think whoever owns that URL is owed the information that they
http://twitter.com/timbray. It’s not that there’s no
referer; it’s that the information is being discarded. Can we get this fixed?