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Share Buttons by AddToAny
[resolved] [Plugin: AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Buttons] Lockerz tracking gif? (11 posts)

  1. Bob33
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Noticed that since Lockerz acquired Add to Any and updated the plugin, a 1x1px gif has been loading which wasn't there before:

    http://pts.lockerz.com/1x1.gif?ver=0.1&app=a2a&uuid=66605efd-65f6-4f7e-a3b4-fg7496966681a3c&event=load&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mydomain.com%2F&referrer=

    Not an expert but this looks like a tracking gif?

    Also found this being loaded:

    http://map.media6degrees.com/orbserv/hbpix?pixId=867459&curl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mydomain.com%2F

    Great to have free stuff 'n all, but to have this plug-in loading these and using my site to gather data without letting me know and without an opt out doesn't seem sporting.

    Or perhaps I'm mistaken.

    Would be interested to hear comments on the above.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-to-any/

  2. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 2 years ago #

    If you have any concerns about a plugin that was downloaded from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ please contact plugins@wordpress.org with the full details.

  3. Bob33
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thanks esmi, will do.

  4. micropat
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    The Lockerz tracking is normal. It's for stats.

    You can actually turn off 3rd party trackers by placing this line of code in your Additional Options box (Settings > AddToAny):
    a2a_config.no_3p = 1;

  5. Bob33
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thanks micropat

    however the code you supplied, having been placed in said box, is not working - the tracking pixel remains despite various cache emptying etc.

    I'm also not sure what you mean by the Lockerz tracking being 'normal'.

    Having googled the line of code you supplied, I see I'm not the first to raise the privacy and disclosure issues.

    The tracking pixel and media6degrees cookies have been variously called "spying", "behavioural marketing" etc etc.

    Given the number of add to any users I can understand the temptation to gather this data which I presume yields significant revenue.

    However, it seems to me that a failure to disclose this openly to plug-in users is unwise at a time when internet privacy is a growing concern.

    It's a great plug-in in terms of its functionality, but I'm not comfortable that my readers are being tracked without their knowledge or my permission.

    Not to mention that the tracking pixel is adding to loading times on my site - despite it being only 1px x 1px the server seems slow on occasion - no doubt due to the millions of hits it's taking as it happily gathers all that $data.

    Can you suggest why the line of code you supplied might not be working?

    Many thanks.

  6. micropat
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thanks for the feedback. AddToAny / Lockerz Share is the only widget that provides an explicit publisher-side opt-out mechanism, and there's also a link directly to the privacy policy on the plugin homepage (which is more disclosure than other plugins).

    As far as speed, the plugin is designed to always load your content first so that requests to either lockerz.com or addtoany.com do not bog down your site.

    The line of code for the 3rd party opt-out should work to prevent m6d from loading... can you point to your site so we can check for any possible issues?

  7. Bob33
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thanks for your reply micropat and for clarifying the privacy policy and speed issues.

    I can also see that the code does remove m6d, thanks.

    I suppose my initial question related primarily to the pixel tracker. Given that it's not '3rd party' are you saying there's no built in mechanism to disable it at this point?

  8. micropat
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    No problem. :) You're right, since Lockerz owns the product, the lockerz.com tracking replaces the original addtoany.com tracking for internal stats. Of course the internal stats are used to help guide development, further optimize the technical ends of universal sharing, and to recommend best practices for publishers. It beats shooting in the dark. :)

  9. runbei
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Whenever people visit one of the sites I webmaster, if they have NoScript installed, they see a notification in the status bar indicating that lockerz is being blocked. For our type of sites, that is just not something we want our users to be bothered with. This new behavior of AddtoAny is just totally, completely unacceptable. No doubt, it's the reason lockerz acquired ATA in the first place.

    That said, can anyone recommend a social media plug-in that adds similar functionality? AddToAny has been the best, by far. I'm very disappointed that we'll have to replace it on all our sites, at considerable expense in time and energy. Thumbs-down to lockerz. I'll never install ATA again unless they cease and desist.

  10. micropat
    Member
    Plugin Author

    Posted 2 years ago #

    @runbei I work at Lockerz, founded AddToAny, and maintain the WordPress plugin. There's nothing new here, really. It's just an HTTP request to lockerz.com instead of addtoany.com for usage metrics that are crucial to improving the sharing tools & services. This is something that all major 3rd party scripts do to help plan for the future. Alongside engaging with the community, internal metrics are our data-driven way to deliver the best possible product.

    Hope that clarifies!

  11. Ken
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    It's the cross-site requests that are the concern. I noticed that AddtoAny was doing this via NoScript blocking of the script from lockerz.com. After digging in, I see there's a re-branding going on and it would have been much better received to switch to the lockerz.com back-end as a part of plugin update covering re-branding vs. doing it under the covers as it was done.

    Some of us are very sensitive to security issues and when a site you manage unexpectedly starts pulling in scripts from somewhere new site it raises security concerns. And thus lowers trust in the source of the change. I'm also concerned about the commercial tie-in. Maybe I hadn't read the privacy policy sufficiently before so I'm not sure if/when the plugin became a data gathering tool for commercial interests.

    However well founded the changes are, trust and perception are delicate things. A little change management would have gone a long way.

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