How Turning Off JavaScript Changes Advertising

I’ve mentioned the danger of browsing the web with JavaScript turned on before. (See the previous post here.) I encouraged you to turn off your JavaScript in that post.

To review, why exactly is JavaScript dangerous? I’ll quote a recent article I read. “The fact that JavaScript can be used… to capture keystrokes or upload files should be cause for concern and reason to disable JavaScript whenever possible.” Basically, having JavaScript “always on” allows anyone who posts a web page to the internet to run code on your computer when you visit their site or even someone else’s site that has a reference to the original site. I know of a person at my office who recently had the log in to her MySpace page stolen through a JavaScript-based phishing attack.

How does the growing awareness of the dangers of JavaScript effect us as advertisers? Just like I’m encouraging you to do here, I think fewer people will be using it in an “always on” state in the future. Since the ad industry makes great use of JavaScript — to serve ads, to track visits to our sites, to start a Flash movie, and more — we need to adapt.

Try installing NoScript and simply go surfing around the web. You’ll notice many few ads, probably no pop-ups, and no advertising page take overs. I’d bet you’ll see much less Flash animation in general too. Some of the best micro sites we see out there simply show a blank screen if you don’t have JavaScript turned on. That can and should be addressed when we build sites for clients. (See what Pigs Anonymous, one of my sites, looks like if you have JavaScript turned off by clicking the thumbnail image in this paragraph.)

Another problem we’ll run into is how we show the effectiveness of our campaigns without JavaScript. Much of the code counting visitors to sites is JavaScript based, like the popular Google Analytics. Suddenly the success of your next campaign is in question simply because we haven’t been able to count users correctly. That’s assuming we were able to get them to see it at all without JavaScript.

The solution to many of these JavaScript problems can be addresses with the concept of progressive enhancement in the web design process. Basically, you write a basic page that gets better automatically, based on the abilities the user has enabled on his or her web browser. I’ll write more about this in a later post, but for more than preview, check out DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model by Jeremy Keith, which I wrote about here.

Not convinced of the problem with JavaScript? Read the following articles.

I sent a different version of this post as an email to my friends at work. If you end up reading it twice, my apologies. wink


Comments on this post.

Real Cool $)

Glad to see that lots of people share my same interests and thoughts.Great Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.


Restaurant Web Design

i had no idea keystrokes could be recorded

make sure we keep our personal info secret

thank you

By andrew on Nov 05 2008
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