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Driving Revenue still directing links to the wrong places 
29th-Apr-2010 07:39 pm - Driving Revenue still directing links to the wrong places
Skittish Eclipse
jfs has discovered links that end up entirely where they're not supposed to be:

http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/
http://www.wwf.org.uk/


Clicking on them in Camino, with all JavaScript enabled, opens up a new window (instead of going to the link in the window I clicked in, despite NO new window target being specified in the HTML) to a different site entirely:

http://www.lcoffers.com/index.htm?atid=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX&q=offers+deals+coupons&askw=offers+deals+coupons

Where the atid is 011076001001006000000000005009, for anybody who wants to keep track.

This is probably due to the affiliate linking script, as it only happens when I have the script enabled; if so, it means that Driving Revenue's new implementation still has problems making links only go to their appropriate sites, except this time because the redirection is entirely dependent on their outboundlink.me server's response instead of defined in the code, no debugging can be done on the script itself to determine what links will go where. It could be another case of whack-a-mole, just like with malware on ads, except this time even paid journals can't escape it.

ETA: marta has informed me that our hard working ops team has disabled Driving Revenue at this time!

ETA the second: Back now, for the curious.


Use these to test:
http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/

http://www.wwf.org.uk/

Regular amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Apple-touch-Generation-NEWEST-MODEL/dp/B001FA1O18/
Comments 
30th-Apr-2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Seems to be linking to the correct site for me, but only because I've already done the switchover in the admin console (Firefox 3.0.4 running NoScript and AdblockPlus).

Also, when filling in this comment I get the following warning:

We need to make sure you are a human. Please solve the challenge below, and click the I'm a Human button to get a confirmation code. To make this process easier in the future, we recommend you enable Javascript.

(I presume you've got Captcha enabled in case of trollery, but I found it supremely ironic under the circumstances that LJ is advocating using Javascript.)
30th-Apr-2010 04:41 am (UTC)
Yes, that opt out would keep this from happening.

Actually, we have nonmember comments screened in case of trollery! The captcha had more to do with some of our posts being popular enough to attract spam, sadly.
30th-Apr-2010 03:46 am (UTC)
I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT PROGRAMMING. But copypasting the link gives me:

http://community.livejournal.com/no_lj_ads/88472.html?dr_log=-1&linkout=http%3A//footprint.wwf.org.uk/

and

http://community.livejournal.com/no_lj_ads/88472.html?dr_log=-1&linkout=http%3A//www.wwf.org.uk/

Which after clicked do indeed take me where you said they would.
30th-Apr-2010 04:43 am (UTC)
Hmm, I guess that's keeping track of where clicks are going! I assume dr_log stands for Driving Revenue log, but don't know what the value -1 means.
30th-Apr-2010 05:23 am (UTC)
And now it works. I don't understand what LJ gains from this, though.
30th-Apr-2010 06:20 am (UTC)
Which part, affiliate links or the outbound link thing?
30th-Apr-2010 07:06 am (UTC)
I don't get either of them, unless LJ gets money whenever someone end up in one of those websites thanks to them.
30th-Apr-2010 07:47 am (UTC)
The affiliate link thing means that if LJ manages to be the last person who claims that affiliate link before the next person buys something on the linked to site, LJ will get a commission/kickback for the purchase. So, yes, money.

The information is more intangible in benefits but very valuable nonetheless. If you have all that data about where people are going when they click on links in your site, you might be able to mine it to make better ads that interest more people and make them click on them more, thus making more money.
30th-Apr-2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
I see. Thank you very much ♥
30th-Apr-2010 08:51 am (UTC)
our hard working ops team has disabled Driving Revenue at this time!

Good. I have 3 support requests open on this one, because:

1. It breaks rapidly mousing over a link and then clicking it, on Firefox at least: the click is ignored if the DR script is still loading/running (I'm not quite sure which), which it is the first time you mouse over a link, though not subsequence times. I have a fairly fast connection and I can mouse over then click fast enough to make it happen, so I assume the delay is at the DR end.

2. The script gives away URLs included in friends-locked postings: every time you move your mouse over any link, the URL is sent to a third party site. Bad for privacy.

3. I see it as advertising on a journal I'm paying for. If they'd like me to continue paying for it, I don't want the script on my LJ when it's viewed by anyone, and I don't want to see it when I browse the rest of the site when I'm logged in (same deal as other ads).

I've not had a response to any of these yet.
30th-Apr-2010 09:42 am (UTC)
Wow. As an Oxfam Australia employee I am very disgruntled at the thought that links to the not-for-profit groups listed ended up mangled due to a monetizing scheme.
(no subject) - hekai - 2010-04-30 01:28 pm (UTC)
30th-Apr-2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
Actually, that entry was about the first round of Driving Revenue. They're not using that script any more; they revised the script, and it's still been giving problems, so it's gotten taken down again. Who knows when it'll be back up next. This tag on affiliate links contains a pretty brief history.
5th-May-2010 12:40 pm (UTC)
Don't bring this back, okay?

Make the site a better place by listening to your users, you know, the ones who provide the content for free for you, and in fact, better still for you, pay you for the privilege of doing so.

If you do that, you will have plenty of revenue, as users will be happy to pay for the site.
6th-May-2010 04:14 am (UTC)
It looks like they've resumed using it, for what it's worth.
16th-Jun-2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
Hi, foxfirefey: I guess you'll see a notification for this, even though it's an old post, so:

Over on andrewducker's journal, he linked to http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2010/06/mindboggling-bridge-would-flip-traffic-lanes-for-drivers-in-china.html. This gets mangled by the latest DR script into something random on the same site.

Of those support requests I mentioned above, the latter 2 got closed with no response, so I've added a comment (which re-opens them, I think) saying it's been 2 months and I'd appreciate a comment from them. The first one got a response to say the devs are looking into it, and then closed, though the main support page says the problem's still there, 2 months on.

At this point, I'm annoyed enough to consider leaving. I'm not sure what the legal position on credit card chargeback would be given that I thought I'd paid for a journal with no ads by getting a paid account: does anyone know?
16th-Jun-2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
I'm curious--have you opened up a support request about what you've found on andrewducker's journal? This isn't me thinking that's what you should have done at this point, I'm just wondering.
17th-Jun-2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
I haven't: I'm in two minds about it, as I don't want to technically improve what I regard as a morally bad system. I've posted an entry asking where I should flounce to instead.
18th-Jun-2010 09:06 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm just in an observational mood to see what happens when it gets reported, don't think it'll improve the bad system (as Driving Revenue's coding has proven to be quite buggy in the past and will certainly continue to be so in the future). So, I opened one.

You know what I like best? You're post's currently on the second page of results for "Driving Revenue" on Google, ha! Delicious, delicious infamy.

Edited at 2010-06-18 09:07 am (UTC)
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