I’ve been talking with Jeremiah Grossman about his history revealer a lot over the past few days (I’ll probably talk more about it in some later post), but I started thinking about additional applications for knowing where someone was beyond the obvious stuff. It then occured to me that there is a way that porn sites and other blackhat websites can monetize traffic that they haven’t touched yet, to my knowledge.
There’s a pretty old trick where once the user clicks on a link they are immediately taken to another page. When the user finds that they are on a page that they aren’t interested in they hit back on their browser. When they do that they land back on the page with the redirect and they either get redirected again or to another website. This is a pretty aggrevating user experience that just makes them hit back on their browser twice quickly, use the history drop down or manually type in another website to escape the site. As they do so the malicious website looses that user - probably forever.
It just occured to me that there is a better way to monetize that traffic based on two factors that are known. The first is where the user is coming from. Thankfully most browsers send referrers. If you know the referrer of a search engine you can tell exactly what they were looking for and what all the other links on that page are. Stay with me.
Now the user gets the search experience they would expect but now you completely control everything the user will find upon searching and clicking. I bet more often than not the user won’t even notice they aren’t on the search engine website because they will be served up an exact replica. Without looking at the URL they will still be convinced because it looks exactly like the last page they were on, complete with the search results and the viewed links.
Of course if you do this you are risking getting lawyers all over you for trademark infringement blah blah, but I’m not sure most blackhats care about that kind of thing - if they can be located anyway.