Just wrote a post in Great Debates where I cited a book and included the smile.amazon link as a short reference to it.
When the post was originally made, though, it didn’t link to the original page. It went here instead (link broken): http://www.knetbooks. com/american-nations-history-eleven-rival/bk/9780143122029. Which is a link for the same book, just a different website. But now that I look at the thread again, it’s back to smile.amazon. Reloading the page a few more times, I’ve seen it go back and forth yet again.
So… is this my own computer, or is the website itself selectively redirecting links to more favored book websites? It’s not Amazon, it’s either here or my own browser. The link at the bottom clearly shows knetbooks when I hover over it.
There are two possibilities that off the top of my head seem likely.
The first is malware on your computer.
The second (and in my opinion the more likely cause) is viglink. If you don’t know what viglink is, it’s a service that the SDMB uses. When it was first installed here, all it did was count clicks and gave money to the SDMB based on that. Over the years though, viglink’s behavior has changed. Now it changes links based on advertising from viglink’s customers and it even sometimes creates links where none existed before.
Viglink runs via a script, so if you have a script blocker running you won’t see the issue. You can also block viglink with an ad blocker (block all of viglink.com) which will also prevent you from having problems with it.
If I were able to go into people’s posts and change their links without permission, would your solution be:
A. Ask people to block me if it bothers them too much, or
B. Ban my ass so fast I wouldn’t be able to fini
It happens with regular Amazon links, too. Or at least, with a regular Amazon link to the same book, even using Preview Post. It switches back and forth when you preview.
But I’ve tried the same link with different websites, including my own website and Facebook, and they haven’t had any problems. I don’t think it’s malware on my computer. I think it’s probly that viglink thing here on the boards.
Just to test the redirect theory, I logged in anonymously with my ad blocker turned off (Ghostery). I wasn’t able to recreate the redirection from the link given in post #8 (it always went to Amazon). But I was hit by 75…COUNT 'EM…75! ad/junk services. Really, Cecil, that number makes SDMB super-high on my list of the most offensive sites around, and it sure slowed things down a whole heck of a lot. I hope the income is worth it, because it’s dirty money, y’bet.
As I understand viglink, the link is not supposed to change. It goes to a viglink version of the original link. Nothing looks different but it enables viglink to collect and disburse the payment to the subscriber(?).
They do seem to have regular trouble where the original link gets redirected to another site, usually for the exact same product.
That’s the way it originally worked (which I didn’t have a problem with). That’s not the way it works now. At some point they changed the behavior of it. Viglink’s website explains the current behavior, so it’s not a bug. It’s working as they intend it to work.
That’s my opinion of it as well. If I had any say over it (which I don’t) I’d have them drop it like a hot rock.
Amazon could really only prevent this by paying Viglink. “Real-time, advertiser-bid auctions” means they could protect their own links by outbidding everyone else, every time anyone clicks the link. Seems to me a bad solution. Conventional wisdom on the topic is akin to “billions for defense, not one penny for tribute” or “we don’t bargain with hostage-takers.”
I doubt the law would be on Amazon’s side either, but I would like to hear from an actual expert on this. My thought is that competitive keyword advertising (say, search for “Cadillac” and Google shows you adsense links for Lexus) is equivalent and the precedent so far has favored a competitor’s right to show you his marketing when you ask for another’s.
I understand it as SDMB permits VigLink to access their data stream on the way from SDMB’s servers to the viewers and rewrites parts of the HTML code on the fly before your browser gets the code. The only difference I see with malware is the program that traps and rewrites the code for VigLink is external to the user’s computer, where malware resides internally in the user’s computer.
Amazon has no control over this (other than what gnoitall said about bidding), and may not know it’s happening.
I still can’t understand how Amazon has not yet sued VigLink into oblivion. When people create links to Amazon, that has real monetary value to Amazon. When VigLink hijacks those links, that steals that value from Amazon, and transfers it to VigLink. That’s exactly the sort of thing that lawsuits are intended to remedy.
I’m not sure why we are concentrating on Amazon. The example given was a redirect from Amazon to some other seller, sure, but we have no evidence that Amazon is the only victim. Most likely, VigLink treats all vendors the same unless they get some vigorish and anyone is fair game. So if anyone sues anyone, it should be a class action.
I just spotted something interesting. Even though I am a member, which prevents 59 malware links from being sent by SDMB for each post, VigLink is not filtered out. So unless I turn off my ad blocker, I will still be subject to the VigLink redirection, as well as 5 more from the great unwashed. Good going, Cecil.