[whatwg] <a href="" ping="">
ian at hixie.ch
Fri Oct 21 11:43:59 PDT 2005
One of the patterns I've seen a lot while looking at big sites is this:
<a href="record?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffoo.example.com/"> Foo </a>
...where "redirect" is a CGI script that records that the user followed
the link, and that then redirects the user to the real page (potentially
setting a cookie in the process).
This is used for four main reasons:
1. Improving sites, by getting data regarding how users use the site.
2. Keeping track of which adverts were clicked on, for book-keeping.
3. Improving services, e.g. by offering a number of options, checking
which the user picked, and making that one be the first on the list
the next time the user uses the service.
4. Uniquely identifying and tracking a user for evil purposes.
Sometimes more than one of the above is done, e.g. clicking on adverts
sometimes informs the publisher and the advertiser before moving the user
to the real destination.
The problem at the moment is that the redirect mechanism obscures the
eventual target URI. It would be good to have the target URI separate
from the tracking URIs, so that the UA can show each of them separately in
the UI, indicating the user who is getting told what.
Doing this would also allow the UA to easily turn off the pinging thing
for users who are worried about point 4 above.
Bearing the above in mind, I've added a section to the <a> element that
describes a ping="" attribute. The URIs given in this attribute would be
followed when the user clicks the link, thus getting around the problems
Now, because of number 4 above, I'm guessing this is going to be
controversial, which is why I'm calling this out explicitly (as opposed to
waiting til I've filled in all the TBW sections and then just asking for a
general review, since people might miss it if I did that).
Thoughts? Is it evil?
Ian Hickson U+1047E )\._.,--....,'``. fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/ U+263A /, _.. \ _\ ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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