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Google’s indexed 64 fake Independent jelly-bean Kate-Middleton URLs

April 19, 2011 7 Comments

Someone spotted today that you can change the Independent's URLs to anything as long as you leave in the unique identifier number. (See updates at the bottom for how multiple URLs for this story are now in Google's index via the power of Twitter.)

So this story (about a jelly bean with Kate Middleton's face in) can also be reached here with a URL of (Update - this rude version has had 1,476 retweets compared with 33 for the original version!)

People are busy changing this to anything they like on Twitter. Google has already indexed the two versions:

Two URLs indexed via Twitter

Sweary URLs ...

How many more?!?

Update: While writing this post, a third one had been indexed at

More to come I'm sure ... You can test for yourself how many Google has indexed by running this search (Google is at least recognising them as duplicate URLs).

Update 2: Google has the sweary version on page one of its results when you search for kate middleton jelly bean. (And the sweary version is first for a search on Kate Middleton bean)

Update 3: There are now 12 URLs indexed for this story, including the following:


Update 4: 17 indexed now. And counting ...

Update 5: .The Head of Digital Audience & Content Development at this Indy has tweeted to blame the Guardian for the whole fiasco.


Jack Riley blames a Guardian sub

Maybe try the IT department too?

Update 6: By the end of the day, Google had indexed 62 different URLs for this story, nearly all via being made up and spread on twitter.

New ones included:

  • AllAboutTheGames-is-the-best-gaming-site-on-planet-earth-2269573.html
  • middleton-flicks-bean-as-she-waits-for-wedding-night-2269573.html
  • what-first-attracted-you-to-royal-heir-prince-william-2269573.html

And a load of others I'm too tired to check.

Update 7: the next morning. Google has indexed 64 URLs (not all via Twitter. Reddit was having fun too ...).

It's no longer treating them all as duplicates.

Take a sentence from the story (which was not originally produced by the Independent) and add the word Independent and you are shown  5 versions of the story. Even without the word Independent, you see three versions on page one of the results and the option to see lots more.

The Indy's written a blog post apologising (for some reason).

We are however acting urgently (as are now some of our major competitors) to find a way to avoid such abuse and hope that will be in place shortly.

The solution's fairly simple. Do what other sites do with the same CMS and redirect to the canonical URL when someone types in gibberish in the part of the URL (the keywords) that isn't actually parsed.

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