Friday, April 2, 2010

How many third-party sites have their sticky fingers in the websites you visit?

 
Using NoScript is an interesting experience.

Btw NoScript is a Firefox add-on that disables all the javascript running on any website you visit unless you allow it. What you quickly learn is that a website can (and usually does) run javascripts from other websites, and you have to individually allow each third-party site's script. Which is great for blocking ads from doubleclick.net or frivolous social media widgets from blippr.com. But it also lets you peer behind the curtain at how many other sites are, through some deal with the site you're visiting, getting a taste of your patronage.

Now, there are lots of sites with very few or no third-party scripts running. A visit to wikipedia.org will expose you only to wikimedia.org additionally, which is of course another domain from the same organization. On average you'll see, say, six other sites. But others...


 

Any visitor to The Huffington Post will have noticed how Web 2.0'd up the yin yang it is. See the collage to the left for all the ways you can buzz all over twitbook about that article on did you see Keith Olbermann on The Daily Show last night? OMG!



But when you have NoScript, you can see that 14 different sites are trying to put their stuff in your browser window every time you click a link.

There's one particular site I found that was trying to jam a record number of other people's stuff into our browsers. Mashable lives up to its name by producing a site that's a complete mash-up of its own website with everyone else's. The box listing them all was as tall as the website itself:

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