7 min

Media websites, JavaScript bloat, tracking, Ghostery monitoring

Jul 4, 2014 - PandoDaily - I just installed a tool which shows how popular websites are spying on me. The results are horrifying

With JavaScript enabled, an article page may take several seconds, maybe more than 10 seconds, to load completely. With JavaScript disabled, an article page will load in under a second.

With JavaScript disabled, as long as the content of the article is displayed, that's all the matters.

If the JavaScript was used only to help the user, that would be okay. But a lot of the crap is ad-based, tracking-based, etc. Cruft.

Some of the JavaScript, however, is meant to improve the user experience, but too many sites are bogging themselves down with trying to create a native app-like experience in the browser. So on older machines, the heavy JavaScript sites use more CPU.

And too much JavaScript meant to improve the user experience can actually hinder the experience.

From the PandoDaily article:

What I didn’t know is how absolutely out of control the number of trackers on popular sites has become. It’s actually horrifying.

Earlier today I met with an entrepreneur who is working on some neat-sounding software that allows us to improve our “related articles” recommendations for readers. To prove how many different sites already use his software, he showed me the results from a browser extension called Ghostery which shows which trackers are embedded in any given page.

Every site he visited contained at least one piece of tracking code, but some showed dozens. That’s dozens of different companies, or divisions of companies, watching you every time you visit a single web page. Those creepy ads that follow you from site to site, reminding you about products you once looked at? Yeah — that’s one tracker. Imagine how much a dozen trackers know about you.

https://www.ghostery.com/en/ - browser plug-in.

The browser that I have used the most in recent years on desktop and laptop computers is Google Chrome.

When I want to surf the web with JavaScript disabled, I use Firefox, since I have JavaScript disabled globally in that browser.

In Chrome, I have rules setup to disable JavaScript for a few sites, such as the ToledoBlade.com.

Reading the Blade website with JavaScripe enabled is a horrible experience. It's offensive to the Web.

The Blade uses too many slide-down and slide-in adds. When copying text, it adds that "read more" crap to the copied text like many media sites do.

I understand the need to generate some revenue, but it's so bad, that the Blade's experience needs a major do-over.

The Toledo Blade website will take 10 to 20 seconds to load completely when JavaScript is enabled, even for an article page. It's terrible. It's piggish and bloated.

But an article page will load nearly instantly with JavaScript disabled. It's a much better experience.

Maybe media sites should offer paying customers a version of their site without all the JavaScript crap. It might be worth a subscription fee if the org produced a pleasant reading experience.

Feature request: A clean article web page with good typography, good design, little to no JavaScript bloat, super-fast load time, and responsive designed to display comfortably on all devices with no need to install an app nor visit a mobile version.

Jul 7, 2014 - Ghostery findings for the Toledo Blade home page with JavaScript enabled (23 findings):

  1. Adify - Advertising
  2. Advertising.com - Advertising
  3. BlueKai - Beacons
  4. Casale Media - Advertising
  5. ChartBeat - Analytics
  6. Criteo - Advertising
  7. Dotomi - Beacons
  8. DoubleClick - Advertising
  9. Facebook Connect - Widgets, Social
  10. Google Adsense - Advertising
  11. Google AdWords Conversion - Advertising
  12. Google Analytics - Analytics, Analytics
  13. Google+ Platform - Widgets, Social
  14. Lotame - Beacons, Analytics, Lead Management
  15. MediaMath - Advertising
  16. Pinterest - Widgets, Social
  17. Press+ - Widgets, Affiliate Marketing
  18. Quantcast - Advertising
  19. Rubicon - Advertising
  20. ScoreCard Research Beacon - Beacons, Analytics
  21. Turn - Advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Lead Management
  22. Twitter Button - Widgets, Social
  23. Zedo - Advertising

On an article page at one of the Blade's subsites, such as this,
Ghostery detected 14 trackers.

For this Blade article:
Ghostery detected 34 trackers!! Again, this is probably a major reason why an article page takes so long to load when JavaScript is enabled. Here are the 34 trackers or findings from Ghostery:

  1. Adify - Advertising
  2. AdInterax - Advertising
  3. Advertising.com - Advertising
  4. Adzerk - Advertising
  5. AppNexus - Advertising
  6. BlueKai - Beacons
  7. ChartBeat - Analytics
  8. Content.ad - Beacons
  9. Criteo - Advertising
  10. DoubleClick - Advertising
  11. Facebook Connect - Widgets, Social
  12. Facebook Social Plugins - Widgets, Social
  13. Google Adsense - Advertising
  14. Google AdWords Conversion - Advertising
  15. Google Analytics - Analytics, Analytics
  16. Google+ Platform - Widgets, Social
  17. Lotame - Beacons, Analytics, Lead Management
  18. MediaMath - Advertising
  19. Newsmax - Widgets
  20. OpenX - Advertising
  21. Pinterest - Widgets, Social
  22. Po.st - Widgets
  23. Press+ - Widgets, Affiliate Marketing
  24. PubMatic - Advertising
  25. PulsePoint - Advertising
  26. Quantcast - Advertising
  27. RadiumOne - Beacons, Behavior Tracking
  28. Rubicon - Advertising
  29. RUN - Advertising
  30. Sailthru Horizon - Beacons
  31. ScoreCard Research Beacon - Beacons, Analytics
  32. Simpli.fi - Advertising, Segment Data, Behavior Tracking
  33. Twitter Button - Widgets, Social
  34. Zedo - Advertising

This section:
26 Ghostery findings.

The findings vary for some reason. This page:
has 31 findings.

Reloading this one again with JavaScript still enabled:
31 findings by Ghostery. What happened to the other 3? Maybe when visiting page for the first time, additional trackers are loaded.

Reloading the above page again, produces 33 findings or trackers by Ghostery.

Anyway, it's over 30 findings, and it takes at least 15 seconds for the page to load completely. And then once loaded, annoying ads, quite large and intrusive, will drift down from the top and/or from the left side, covering content.

Now with JavaScript disabled, this page:
fully loads in one second or less, and Ghostery detects only one item:

  1. Quantcast - Advertising

How to disable JavaScript in Chrome browser:

(pulldown menu) -> settings
-> show advanced settings
-> privacy
-> content settings
-> (pop-up menu)
-> Do not allow any site to run JavaScript
-> Done

To disable JavaScript in Chrome for a specific website, do the following:

  • click the three-lined icon in the upper right corner of the browser.
  • near the bottom of the menu, click "Settings."
  • scroll to the bottom and click "Show advanced settings."
  • underneath "Privacy," click "Content Settings."
  • underneath "JavaScript," leave the radio button clicked for "Allow all sites to run JavaScript (recommended)" and click the button for "Manage exceptions."
  • in the text input field for "Hostname pattern," add this text:
    and then select "Block" from the dropdown.
  • click "Done."
  • click "Done" again.
  • close "Settings" browser tab.
  • reload an article page or visit the website.

No more pop-ups. No more slide overs. You won't be able read Facebook comments on article pages, but I don't care about those anyway.

But the biggest change will be in page load speed. Article pages will load much faster without the bloated JavaScript. This I like.

If you want JavaScript working, try visiting their mobile site at http://m.toledoblade.com which is simpler and much less cluttered. It loads faster.

Aug 11, 2014 Cleveland.com

Ghostery detected 43 "things" with this article:


Advertising, Segment Data, Analytics
Widgets, Social
Aggregate Knowledge
Analytics, Analytics, Behavior Tracking
Dynamic Logic
Facebook Connect
Widgets, Social
Facebook Social Plugins
Widgets, Social
Gigya Socialize
Widgets, Social
Google Adsense
Google Analytics
Analytics, Analytics
Google+ Platform
Widgets, Social
Integral Ad Science
Legolas Media
Widgets, Commenting System
Beacons, Analytics, Lead Management
NDN Analytics
NetRatings SiteCensus
Neustar AdAdvisor
Beacons, Lead Management
Omniture (Adobe Analytics)
Beacons, Analytics
Widgets, Social
ScoreCard Research Beacon
Beacons, Analytics
Advertising, Analytics
Analytics, Tag Manager
TRUSTe Notice
Twitter Badge
Widgets, Social
Twitter Button
Widgets, Social
Typekit by Adobe
Widgets, Font System
Beacons, Analytics, Popups

#media - #browser - #javascript - #blog_jr

By JR - 1368 words
created: - updated:
source - versions

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