A while back I added an entry to my /etc/hosts file for the "evil hyphen site":    experts-exchange.com www.experts-exchange.com

It always annoyed me to do a Google search, open a bunch of tabs, and discover I had accidentally opened an experts-exchange page. Redirecting to localhost was my little act of vengeance and lessened the annoyance.

Jeff, why not configure StackOverflow to listen for requests for experts-exchange.com? Then I'll point experts-exchange.com to your IP address in my hosts file.

In addition, you could extract the query string in the REFERER and automatically perform that search on StackOverflow.

1. Search Google for "Ruby upgrade to 1.8.6 on CentOS"
2. (Accidentally) click on the experts-exchange.com link.
3. Request goes to StackOverflow servers because of hosts file entry.
4. StackOverflow sees "Host: www.experts-exchange.com" in the headers, and finds the search query in the REFERER (&q=Ruby+upgrade+to+1.8.6+on+CentOS)
5. StackOverflow runs the search query.
6. Where can I get a Ruby 1.8.6 for Centos OS

I don't know how many people would edit their /etc/hosts file but I definitely would!

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    on a side note, I find it annoying that someone would downvote the question. Yeah it might have been a bad idea but its not a bad question. Well written, he provided examples, had some forethought and is sincere in trying to help the trilogy. Downvotes just discourage people from asking questions at all or thinking outside of the box. – Locutus Mar 17 '10 at 17:30
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    @DataPimp, welcome to meta, where downvote == I don't agree. – heavyd Mar 17 '10 at 17:43
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    well where can I downvote that rule. :) – Locutus Mar 17 '10 at 17:59
  • You can view the EE answers by clicking on the Cached link and jumping to the bottom of the page instead of clicking the normal link. ;) – Synetech Mar 17 '10 at 18:52

10 Answers 10


I think this is an actively bad idea. Since Google tracks which results get clicked on, by clicking on the expert-sexchange link you're telling Google "this is a good result", even though what happens behind the scenes is that you get the answer at S*. As Michael says, we're far better off making S* beat EE natively on Google -- this way everyone gets the benefits, not just the few who hack their hosts file.

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    Good point. I hadn't thought of this, and it even gives me a reason not to implement such a script on my own computer since Google wouldn't know the difference and I'd be voting with my clicks. Here's to more future SO success (and I don't think it's struggling.) – richardkmiller Dec 27 '09 at 7:55
  • True, but while they certainly strive for it, Google isn’t the only source of [EE] links in the world. – Synetech Mar 17 '10 at 18:48

You could also not have the other site turn up in your Google search results.

You'll then save yourself that little bit of disappointment when you click before you look.


To be fair, as much as we all hate the expert-sexchange, there's something extremely unethical about attempting to misdirect their traffic to the Trilogy. Given the Google Juice that the Trilogy currently enjoys, I think the better solution is to either use a Google custom search (as random has already pointed out), or to simply look before you click.

I hate to admit this, but occasionally the expert-sexchange has managed to bring me an answer the Trilogy hasn't yet. I get to the answer by, instead of opening a new tab, just clicking. (I cache the Google results to a new tab first by dragging the icon to the new tab indicator. This works on Firefox; I do not know if it works on lesser other browsers.) Then I scroll. A lot. I'm not happy when this happens, but it's happened enough that I wouldn't want to arbitrarily block the evil hyphen site.

(In retrospect, when that's actually happened, I should have probably posited the question to the appropriate Trilogy site. Sadly, these days, I tend to assume any question I have -- or almost any question I have, anyway -- is a dupe, without even checking.)

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    Why not just use the End button on your keyboard? – random Dec 25 '09 at 2:22
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    Yeah, well, that would make sense. Have you ever known me to actually make sense? ;-) – John Rudy Dec 25 '09 at 2:24
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    It'd be unethical if DNS hijacking was done. The personal choice of editing one's own hosts file is a lot harder to call unethical. – ceejayoz Dec 25 '09 at 14:02
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    True, editing one's hosts file is absolutely not unethical. What would be considerably moreso is this recommendation from OP: "Jeff, why not configure StackOverflow to listen for requests for experts-exchange.com?" – John Rudy Dec 25 '09 at 16:53
  • @John: he is proposing that Jeff configure StackOverflow to listen and understand requests for expert-exchange.com that are redirected by users on their own computers. – perbert Dec 26 '09 at 4:16
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    Fair 'nuff. Still not keen on it. While it's not a hijack, I'm still not keen on it. I still think it goes at least very near a gray area -- one of encouraging users to screw another site, when honestly it's probably not even necessary. (Plus, no offense, but SO's search sucks. I'd redirect it to a Google site search of SO with those terms anyway.) – John Rudy Dec 26 '09 at 4:59
  • @John: we agree completely. – perbert Dec 26 '09 at 5:32
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    Good points. I can understand the position of not implicating SO in this (which might hurt its image, and it's already doing so well naturally), but I definitely don't feel it unethical to modify and control what I experience on my own computer. – richardkmiller Dec 27 '09 at 7:50
  • @richardkmiller: Absolutely; your control of your experience is 100% ethical. I just don't like SO taking a position of, "hey users, do this so the other guys get no traffic." – John Rudy Dec 27 '09 at 18:35

Not worth the effort IMHO. I doubt many people would edit their hosts file, and that effort can rather be spent in making sure that StackOverflow beats EE on Google.

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    I really think that this is the best answer. – perbert Dec 26 '09 at 4:17
  • I don't think it'd be much effort, but I see your point of just letting SO win naturally. – richardkmiller Dec 27 '09 at 7:52

You can implement the required functionality yourself on your own computer.

  • Good point, Sinan. Perhaps I'll do that. – richardkmiller Dec 27 '09 at 7:51

Most of all: what for?

The trilogy sites are already reaching the top results in search engines, without any help or trick. This is the correct way to do it, if you want absolutely SO to overtake EE, work on it, keep providing quality content (answers but also questions), which will get indexed as quality results by the search engines.

It's silly and childish to try and find such ways to "cancel" EE links. They exist, and if they are on the top of results, that means that there is nothing better to the eyes of the search engines for that particular request. I you absolutely can't stand to not see a trilogy link for your request, then make it yourself, go ask your question on the trilogy, and it will reach the top results in the next half hour.

There is no point in actively "fighting" EE, or any other support site. Just focus on improving the trilogy, day after day.


Alternatively become an expert at E-E and you do not have to scroll at all.

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    I'd rather not become part of the problem, thanks. – mmyers Mar 17 '10 at 15:40
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    And the problem being? Being a member or having to scroll to see the answer? I really fail to see the reason for all this hatred. I am quite happily member of both EE and SO and several other sites. I am less active at SO since as a newbie here I have all sorts of restrictions that, had I been of the same mind as some EE haters would have me twitter or make a website about how much SO sucks. But I am not, and so far the answers at SO makes up for the failrxxxxflair issue . – mplungjan Mar 29 '10 at 9:04
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    BTW The search at EE when you are a full member (which you super-techies could become in a few days for free) is very powerful. I still do not get the hatred. Just because there is a peer-to-peer techie site lile SO does not mean that a newbie or non-techie to expert site cannot live and earn money. Yes they need to make the paywall smaller, it will happen. One of the major values at EE comes with the moderation and the fact that unanswered questions are picked up, massaged into the correct zones and more experts are invited to look at it. As a newbie I would find SO daunting, even scary. – mplungjan Apr 26 '10 at 14:26

Pretty sure the correct answer is to beat them (soundly) on level ground without playing games.

Further, it would bother me to feel that I needed to associate with or emulate my competitor at this level. Especially when the competitor appears to be getting only 10% of the traffic I was getting.

Other than personal annoyance, I don't see a good business case for such a change.


Even with the completely wrong data that compete has, SO has overtaken sexchange alt text



It would have been nice with a Firefox add-on that replaces the links to experts-exchange.com with the link to the first StackOverflow search result.

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