seo tricks : the magpie incident

Some universities like Southern California, Harvard and Michigan State have their web-guru’s explain to us how rss feeds work with the elegant Magpie parser demo :

Some example on how to use Magpie:

* magpie_simple.php *
Simple example of fetching and parsing an RSS file. Expects to be
called with a query param ‘rss_url=http://(some rss file)’

* magpie_debug.php *
Displays all the information available from a parsed feed.

Note : magpie_debug.php is the one to watch for, you can do a google search on : magpie_debug.php

and you get a number of educational facilities that kindly demonstrate the use of the magpie rss parser.

These demo pages have a textbox where you can enter an rss feed url, the magpie demo parses your feed and outputs it as an html-page.

You have to be careful with these programs, though : I actually found one domain ( with this remark under the ‘parse rss’ button :

Security Note:
This is a simple example script. If this was a real script we probably wouldn’t allow strangers to submit random URLs, and we certainly wouldn’t simply echo anything passed in the URL. Additionally its a bad idea to leave this example script lying around.

Thank you, you are surely wise like the buddha, I shall try to remember your insight !

note: after a while I decided I had had enough fun with magpies and took the blog off-line.

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