Treacherous SiteMeter

Yesterday, while I was adding the previous update, I noticed something funny. Like many other Web surfers, I have an ad blocker installed. Well, while updating the blog I saw a tiny number on the ad blocker’s toolbar button.

That was weird. I never had any advertising code inserted on the blog, so I was dumbfounded and completely amiss as of how this could have happened. Worse, there is no feature to see which elements are blocked on Google Chrome, so I couldn’t even see which the offending elements were.

However, I opened Firefox; its ad blocker, thankfully, was quick to supply a list of offending elements. Some of them I was able to track to a plugin and is part of its code (albeit a doubtful one). But other elements came directly from the main site. But, how?? Again, I never inserted any advertising code.

I googled a little bit. It turned out that the culprit was an old link I had to SiteMeter. As you can see in the snippet below, the hat tip goes off to Lindsay. I removed the SiteMeter references, and the two rogue elements were gone.

The End of the SiteMeter Era

In sum, SiteMeter was quietly doing some dubious stuff behind my back. If, as a consequence of visiting this site you experienced some random ads or any other suspicious behavior, I am sincerely sorry.

I’m sad for SiteMeter, and the moral is: We have to stay vigilant.


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