Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

Drudge Report strangeness

I found this moderately interesting and don't have a blog in which to rant so I thought I'd post it here.

Drudge Report isn't exactly known as a bastion of ethics and transparency but they've taken to tracking all mouse clicks, including right clicks, made on links at their site. They're doing it with some ugly javascript rather than the more typical redirector. The clicks are being sent to some mysterious place called eproof.com using a script from here: http://js.eproof.com/1.js

Clicks send a request for a URL like this:

http://keisu.eproof.com/?s=1&t=GOODNIGHT&l=http%3A//www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/07/broadcasts/main678628.shtml&id=&n=&ty=r&oc=&pp=http%3A//www.drudgereport.com/&sc=15

There doesn't appear to be anything useful in the response but I haven't dug into it that much.

eproof.com doesn't have much on their homepage. It's registered through GoDaddy's proxy registration service so it's unknown who actually owns it.

The Firefox Adblock extension provides a good way of disabling this behavior if anyone cares. So much for "eproof".
Permalink Doug 
March 9th, 2005
If this is true, it's not really a huge surprise.

Simpler solution than adblock: Don't read the dreck on Drudge Report.
Permalink muppet 
March 9th, 2005
"Don't read the dreck on Drudge Report."

Their advertising practices leaves something to be desired but there's little original content on Drudge that could be associated with it as "dreck". Mostly it's just links to more traditional, including non-US, news sources. It's a quick stop to get an idea of the current big story before it rises to the top of google news.
Permalink Doug 
March 9th, 2005
Doubleclick clone. BFD.

You, however, have entirely way too much time on your hands.
Permalink Flasher T 
March 9th, 2005
Simple solution:

Read Drudge as before. Since you always disable javascript in your browser, you are not tracked. It's just good sense.


That said, competant programmers know how to track everything without calling attention to the trackers.

Most people don't believe that it is even possible to track the sorts of things I do.

In some cases, you can even choose appropriate product model pictures to perfectly match the customers sexual secret preferences. I have seen these techniques substantially increase sales on high end items particularly.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 9th, 2005
"Most people don't believe that it is even possible to track the sorts of things I do."


wow, you must be really intelligent and clever.
Permalink FullNameRequired 
March 9th, 2005
That's true but it's not relevant to what I was saying.

My point was that javascript tracking is easy to defeat and strictly amateur stuff. You are being tracked right now in ways you are not even aware of unless you have worked in the right parts of the trackingware industry.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 10th, 2005
Whoever owns eproof.com also owns DrudgeReportArchives.com, which says it's not affiliated with the Drudge Report. Either way, it doesn't strike me as being a large outfit like doubleclick.

"You are being tracked right now in ways you are not even aware of unless you have worked in the right parts of the trackingware industry."

Care to expand on that? Joel has my IP address and a cookie. How else am I being tracked?
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 10th, 2005
"You are being tracked right now in ways you are not even aware of"

actually, Im not. <g> as far as I am aware of course...


but as for mysterious technology that allows me to be tracked, its a load of rubbish...there are a few specific ways that such tracking can be achieved and I am aware of them all.

...except for the deep secrets that you hold of course, known to only a few select israeli monks living high in amsterdam.
Permalink FullNameRequired 
March 10th, 2005
is that "high" or "high" - it is Amsterdam after all.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 10th, 2005
"s that "high" or "high""


..Ill leave that to the imagination of the reader..
Permalink FullNameRequired 
March 10th, 2005
How could you have known that I was posting from a monastary in amsterdam? Unless... you are the master tracker.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 10th, 2005
"Unless... you are the master tracker."

but wait! how could you have known that I am the master tracker unless....oh, sorry, of course...
Permalink FullNameRequired 
March 10th, 2005
Uh, ever use Google? You realize they do the same thing, right?
Permalink SomeBody 
March 10th, 2005
Google isn't as bad as DoubleClick.
Permalink MarkTAW 
March 10th, 2005
"Uh, ever use Google? You realize they do the same thing, right?"

I've never seen it on google web or news search which I use frequently. I specifically checked for it moments ago and no, they aren't doing it on the pages I can receive.
Permalink Doug 
March 10th, 2005
Do a google web search and search the source for clk. You'll see that this is a function that they hook up to the onmousedown event of all the links that makes a dummy image request to google to log what you clicked.
Permalink SomeBody 
March 10th, 2005
"Do a google web search and search the source for clk."

That's odd. They don't deliver that function to Firefox but I checked using IE and, sure enough, there it is. A long time ago I stopped running IE with javascript globally enabled so that's why I never saw it in action on google.

I double checked on a Firefox install with no extensions and it doesn't receive the mousedown function either.
Permalink Doug 
March 10th, 2005
Hmm, you're right. I just tried it with Firefox and get no onmousedown handlers either.
Permalink SomeBody 
March 10th, 2005
In related news, the other day Drudge topped himself for worst headline ever. His site had a big picture of Mt. St. Helens and the caption, in bold, "Eruption." It linked to an article that stated --in the first paragraph-- "no eruption is expected."
Permalink  
March 11th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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