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

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 16:27:17 PST 2006

On 1/19/06, Tyler Close <tyler.close at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1/19/06, Jim Ley <jim.ley at gmail.com> wrote:
> > No, they'll just disable it, as it does them directly no benefit and
> > has a cost, so if you educate them enough to make a decision, they
> > will not decide to be tracked.
> Why hasn't this happened to the HTTP Referer header?

Because no-one's ever attempted to educate people enough to make a decision.

> I think an economic analysis of the scenario is a valid approach.
> Could you spell out your argument in more detail? For example, after
> I've submitted a search request to Google, what is the economic cost
> to me of letting Google know which result I selected? What is the
> economic benefit to me of providing this information to Google?

You're now discussing a very minor use case, the main use case is in
advert tracking, the economic case here is clear, accurate information
is required by the people paying for the ads to be shown and those
showing the adverts - if you're allowing an ad-service to show adverts
on your page, are you willing to accept that ad-service using a
disableable method of tracking what to pay you?

The use case of tracking what you click to leave a site is that it has
no direct benefit to the user whatsoever, they gain nothing at all,
and there's the slowness cost - indeed the site may be slower still if
they use redirect methods, but that's the sort of cost that would make
the tracking uneconomic as it will annoy users.

> I get more
> value in the future for revealing my search terms, in terms of better
> query results.

People don't make the same search more than once, google already knows
what the most popular search result on a particular term is and
without knowing what it was you were actually looking for (most search
terms don't express this very well) and what happened when you arrived
at the site they cannot know how useful the link truly was.

but mostly that's a minor use case compared to the main reason for
leaving site tracking, and that use case the ping proposals abjectly
fails to meet.


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