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hCard Buttons Across the Web


02:57:28 am Permalink hCard Buttons Across the Web

Categories: Semantic Web and Microformats

A while back I made some buttons for various microformats, then discovered the official home for them and so added them into the wiki. This has had the side effect that many naive developers simply copy and past the code for the button from the wiki into their pages and then use the image hosted on my website. It's not a big problem for me - the image is small and it gets cached for a month whenever someone requests it so not massive bandwidth, and it's mostly just blogs and small sites which do it. Or so I thought...

hcard button on the website

This was brought to my attention this evening as I was switching my default from PHP 4 to PHP 5 and then breaking everything by putting invalid entries into my .htaccess file. After I was done I checked the error log and noticed several errors with a referrer of, I went to look at the referring page and, sure enough, there was my hcard button. You'd think they'd be able to afford to host their own rather than leeching my bandwidth, but times are tough :)

I thought I'd do a little anecdotal analysis of hcard adoption so I downloaded the December log file. There were 76936 requests for microformat_hcard.png in December, 58792 from Comet - by far the most common. Next up was itself with 8661, then one (apparently) very prolific blogger with 3715. There were a few smaller sites with a noticeable number of requests - a New Zealand electricity supply contractor had 85 hits while hcard is also popular among German universities with Universitšt Potsdam scoring 307 hits and Universitšt Bielefeld with 172 hits in what looks like an intranet application.

So not very meaningful in the grand scheme of things, but it is clear from the slightly eclectic set of sites I've listed above that Microformats and hcard in particular have seen adoption across a broad range of different websites. Hopefully we'll see more and more services which take full advantage of all this semantic data.

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Comment from: Andy [Visitor] ·
22/01/09 @ 23:39
Thanks for the great button! Would you prefer that I host the image locally instead of deep-linking to the original? I apologize for deep-linking in the first place -- a potentially uncool practice ;-)

prolifically yours,

Comment from: robertc [Member] ·
23/01/09 @ 00:10
Hey Andy. It's no problem, link to my button if you want - like I said I've it's not a big bandwidth hit for me. I didn't want to sound like I was griping or anything so hopefully it didn't come across that way (I was going for humour, but I often fall short). I'm pleased that Microformats are seeing adoption across such a wide variety of sites, though a major online property like Comet using an image off my shared hosting account is slightly uncool ;)

Keep up the blogging!

Comment from: Justin [Visitor] ·
13/07/09 @ 10:58
Oo00ps. My fault! In my haste to try to teach the world about Microformats I *might* have accidently _linked_ to your button when I was designing v2 of the Services section of Comet. I did the whole thing in 3 days so was a bit rushed but really wanted to try to provide our customer base with more information about the technology we use to provide information. In doing this I spotted your button via the WIKI at

Again sorry about the leech (I believe this has now been removed from the site).
But thanks so much for the excellent button design.
Comment from: robertc [Member] ·
13/07/09 @ 18:16
Hi Justin. Thanks for your comments. My blog post was mostly tongue in cheek, I was more pleased about a major websites making use of Microformats than I was concerned about the leech.