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Why does Amazon.com have <!-- MEOW --> at the end of their landing page? I have heard that it is just some text that some sort of script or component looks for to tell if the entire page was rendered.

Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, is it a good (or common) website monitoring practice?

3

Many developers do funny things in there source for no reason other than for people to find it. www.digg.com has ascii art at the top of its source today (don't know how long it will be there) they also have at the bottem of their page <!-- digg is done serving you. 2.01355321270u 137.03599911 6.6742x10-11m3kg-1s-2 6.6742x10-11m3kg-1s-2 --> That's the atomic mass of (D)euterium, the (I)nverse Fine Structure Constant, and then the gravitational constant (G) twice

3

Given that unless scripts are included in-line they will have to be requested from the server with a separate HTTP request which in itself could fail (i.e. the home page could load successfully and the checking script fail) I don't see how this helps at all.

Slashdot send you a futurama quote with every HTTP request too. (curl -I http://slashdot.org). Much better easter egg than Meow, if you ask me.

3 accepted

I'd say it's very unlikely to be used for determining that the entire page has finished being parsed or anything like that. There are better ways to do it, and I'd be concerned about the reliability of SGML comments being available on the DOM tree, especially ones outside the HTML.

So I'm thinking: Bored humor is the most likely explanation.

0

It could possibly be used as a marker for whatever reason, reporting, search and replace etc... whatever...

It could also just be a joke, I remember Amazon having the hidden pixel thing in the footer with a link to a secret page. Kind of like an easter egg.

There is definitely no technical reason for this...