Red Envelope Madness!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Counting Netflix: in which Google thinks I'm a hacker

Inspired by this item on Hacking NetFlix, about how Netflix Has 70,000 Titles, Blockbuster 60,000, I decided to see if I could count the number of titles displayed on Netflix's Web site using an advanced Google search.

This is the search I attempted: allinurl: MovieDisplay -rss site:netflix.com 1..10000000

The words MovieDisplay appear in the url for every movie. I didn't want RSS feeds, because that results in duplication, and I restricted the site to Netflix.com because Netflix movies are linked on hundreds of thousands of sites. I restricted results to include numbers one through ten million, because I thought that would help find only those movies with a movie id. I changed my search preferences to include all languages, and removed filtering. Surprisingly, that doubled the results!

Google will let me see only one page of the more than 85 thousand results of this search. If I try to go further, I get an error message which says I'm acting like spyware. Click on the following photo to read the message:

I decided to eliminate the 1..10000000, and lost ten thousand results, but now Google no longer thinks I'm a virus. A quick scan of the results shows they are all specific movie titles on the Netflix site. There are 75,400 titles on Netflix.com. See if you can duplicate my results and let me know if you get a different number.

Update: I've repeated the search, and now I can't get more than 75,200 results.

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