"web bugs" and single-pixel GIF's

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Dairy Land, Feb 27, 2004.

  1. Dairy Land

    Dairy Land Guest

    I have heard that some people use single pixel GIF's as "web bugs or
    beacons" in order to track page accesses. I am new at web design; could
    someone please explain how this would be done?

    thanks

    Darey
     
    Dairy Land, Feb 27, 2004
    #1
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  2. "Dairy Land" <> wrote in message
    news:00x%b.86520$Hy3.77415@edtnps89...
    > I have heard that some people use single pixel GIF's as "web bugs or
    > beacons" in order to track page accesses. I am new at web design;

    could
    > someone please explain how this would be done?


    One way is to use an image such as:
    <img src="/track.asp?pageId=42" alt="" width="1" height="1" />

    Where "track.asp" is a script executed on the webserver that returns the
    transparent gif (etc) image to the client. The information on the
    querystring is the tracking information that has a relationship with the
    webpage being viewed. This is likely processed and stored in a database
    in some way for whatever reason, usually alongside cookie information so
    that a users behaviour can be tracked and site navigation patterns
    analysed.

    Fortunately some browsers and third-party devices filter out such
    markup. This is just as well because HTML email spammers often use this
    trick to register your email address as valid and active so that they
    may sell your email address to someone else for increased profit. In
    such cases the querystring information is an identifier unique to your
    email address.

    Thus, the simple act of viewing such a spam HTML email in a browser
    without a filtering mechanism or a browser derivative (Outlook Express)
    will submit valuable information to unknown third parties without your
    consent. The technique can be applied to almost any externally
    referenced object in a page (any image, css file, javascript file,
    object, etc.) ergo I doubt that web-bug filters are clever enough to
    catch all forms of this practice. You're safer with plain text, assuming
    you don't follow "Click here to unsubscribe" links...
    --
    Andrew Urquhart
    Reply: www.andrewu.co.uk/about/contact/?subject=Re: alt.html
     
    Andrew Urquhart, Feb 27, 2004
    #2
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