[whatwg] <a href="" ping="">

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Jan 18 09:38:41 PST 2006

dolphinling wrote:
> dolphinling wrote:
>> Ian Hickson wrote:
>>> On Fri, 21 Oct 2005, dolphinling wrote:
>>>> Like I said before, I like the semantics of ping=. But it doesn't 
>>>> fit into the usage model that advertisers and other trackers want. 
>>>> Semantically, I want notification and linking to be separate. In 
>>>> usage, they want them to be linked. They seem to me to be mutually 
>>>> exclusive.
>>> In my experience, "they" are ok with it being separate, as it conveys 
>>> a number of benefits to the user. (I would consider my source on this 
>>> matter reasonably authoritative.)
>> Hmm... perhaps your source could explain his reasoning here? :) It's 
>> extremely easy to make non-circumventable tracking, and I assumed that 
>> most times it _was_ circumventable were due to ignorance rather than 
>> an informed decision. To me, it seems, the benefits to an advertising 
>> company of doing so outweigh the benefits of not.
> I'd still like to hear this reasoning for this :)

And boy does it suggest this feature will be a marketing problem :( 
Darin Fisher blogged the Mozilla implementation[1] and received a stream 
of comments, many from people who clearly haven't thought about how easy 
tracking already is, to the effect that they will never use a browser 
with this feature etc. It's hardly a representative sample of people 
(since the more alarmed users are more likely to comment) but I can 
easily imagine grossly unfair headlines like "Firefox 3 allows 
advertisers to track you across the web", ignoring the fact that any 
browser that implements HTTP redirects supports the same feature in a 
much less transparent way.

[1] http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/darin/archives/009594.html

"It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people 
believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly 
that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise."

-- http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

More information about the whatwg mailing list