W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > July 2007

@ping attribute wiki page.

From: Jon Barnett <jonbarnett@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2007 09:03:32 -0500
Message-ID: <bde87dd20707050703s1da23050l320c7cba173672e7@mail.gmail.com>
To: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>
I took a crack at writing up the wiki page for the @ping attribute.  Feel
free to hack it to pieces.

I searched the archives for this list, but I didn't find any results
regarding the @ping attribute.  I did all my searching on the WHATWG mailing
list archives.

My personal opinion on this:
@ping fails the "flip test". [1] Let's say that the only way to track
click-throughs is the @ping attribute, then someone introduces a new method
of using server-side scripting and redirects to track click-throughs.  These
redirects are foolproof and can't be circumvented by the end-user.  The
redirects are nearly invisible to the end user, and tracking is much more
accurate.  Most people who care about tracking would choose the latter.

Yes, the redirect takes time, but most users don't notice - I usually
don't.

Yes, the destination URL is obscured, but URLs are not particularly useful
to most end users.  Even if end users actually hover a link to see its URL
in a status bar, my tracking URL can still be helpful.  For example, my URL
http://www.example.com/redirect/123/ESPN.com-article-about-Basebrawl-Feveris
more informative than the destination
http://proxy.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?id=1239718 - it tells me where the
link is going and what the destination link is about.  The actual
destination URL is not very informative.  It would be more advantageous to
encourage authors to use better, more informative @title attributes than it
would be to use @ping to expose the destination URL to the end user,
especially when that destination URL is cryptic to most end users.  <a
title="ESPN.com - Basebrawl Fever" href="tracking-redirect"> is better than
both of the above.

So, I think that @ping is not harmful, but its advantages are far outweighed
by its disadvantages to those who care about accurate tracking.  Some
opinions say that the benefit to end users is more advantageous and that
advertisers would still use it.  Whether its actual usage will be enough to
justify it is debatable

[1] http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070125/095301.shtml

-- 
Jon Barnett
Received on Thursday, 5 July 2007 14:11:07 GMT

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