F U Webstats4U

First of all, I would like to thank the people who emailed me or left me comments alerting me that they were receiving pop-up ads while visiting this blog. I use Firefox which has an excellent built-in pop-up blocker so was completely unaware of the problem. After receiving a few complaints about the pop-up ads, I realized that there may be a problem on my end and not just a reader with malware on their system causing the ads. I turned off all of my pop-up blockers and found that something on my site was referencing a URL called falkag.net which is an advertising site. There was no evidence of my blog being tampered with which led me to believe that one of the scripts I was using for one of the various web services I subscribe to was the cause of it.

The first hit counter I started using when I started blogging was nedstat. I rarely look at it anymore since I prefer Sitemeter to check my referrals, charts and hits but have kept nedstat for historical reasons more than anything else. The last time I checked nedstat, I found that it had been bought by a company called Webstats4u. That was the only new thing really on my blog so I decided to do a technorati search on Webstats4u to see if any other bloggers had anything to say about it. Here are a few samples of what I found.

Patrick Cooper wrote this:

The company didn’t change a single thing in the code on my site. It instead took advantage of a piece of code Nedstat was already using. My good buddy, computer engineer Tom tracked down how things worked. Basically, Nedstat used a few lines of Javascript that did one thing, and Webstats4u turned them around to do another. The lines previous were used to increase the counter. Every time the page was hit, the script would ping Nedstat’s server and tell it to bump the various counts by one.

Under the new regime, the script did a little more. Like sticking “Meet New Girls” on top of my page in large text. When the script got back to Webstats4u, it pinged a different script, not just increasng the counter but also running a program, Tom reported. This program handled a 48-hour cookie (mmmm, 48-hour cookie). If you hadn’t hit a Webstats4u-using site in the previous 48 hours, the program hit another couple Javascript files, more programs, at a site called falkag.net. “A prime purveyor of Web advertising, including popups.”

Rob Cottingham has a similar post except he goes through Webstats4U’s license agreement and finds this:

With the installation of Webstats4U on the site it is accepted that WMS has the right to place advertisements on the site in any format or through any channel, including but not limited to e-mail, layer ads, pops, banners and other usual formats without any forewarning and it is furthermore accepted that WMS takes no responsibility for the advertising content and that WMS shall not be liable for any losses incurred regarding this advertising.

Well, that decides it. I have dumped nedstat, aka Webstats4u and suggest that anybody else who has that as a hit counter to take a good look to see if they are sending pop-up ads through your site. It seems that most of the pop-up ads were porn ads which really pisses me off since I have tried to keep this blog clean for my readers who visit it from work. I apologize for the ads and am sorry I didn’t find out about it sooner.

Here is the Technorati search for Webstats4u. Looks like I am not the only person who is upset.

Question

I have received a few emails that some people, while visiting this site, are receiving some pop-up porn ads. Now, I haven’t added any pop-up ads to this blog and I certainly wouldn’t have added any porn ads since I try to keep this work friendly. I have checked and haven’t found anything on my end which means something is either escaping me or the people who are complaining about this have some malware on their pcs. Can anybody else verify that a pop-up ad is appearing while visiting this site and what browser you are using if you encounter this problem?

Thanks in advance,
Chris

Update:
I’m not really sure if this is related or not but I went through the scripts I have that may be causing a problem, such as the scripts for adsense and the hit counters I have. Nedstat, the first hit counter I have used, has been acquired by Webstats4u.com. I clicked on it and I was instantly clicking through several pop-up ads including this:

popup.jpg

Sorry Nedstat or Webstats4u but i am not going to give you any business if you try trick people into clicking on the fake window alert popup box. I have taken it down from my main page but am keeping it on my archives for the moment. Could those of you that were having the pop-up problem click on any month in the archives to see if you are having a problem still? I have no idea if jettisoning Webstats4u will solve the pop-up problem but there is no sense in keeping a stat counter that tries to trick consumers the way they are and have them go through 5 or 6 pop-up ads.

Update 2:
Somebody else is having problems with Webstats4u:

Like I said on Friday, Nedstat/webstats4U wants to shove spam down your throat when you visit a site containing its counter/stats image. I can’t have that happen to you, so I removed the counter.

Friday Cat Blogging

DSCN1116.jpg

So we tried the “cats in sinks” thing with Cyni-kitty who was a little less than cooperative. The picture above is the only one we managed to take before he transmogrified into a streaking comet of fur and claws as he lept from the sink leaving only the echoes of hissing and cat curses bouncing off the linoleum. Sheesh, what a bitch.

I’m taking a sick day from blogging today. Have a great weekend everyone.