FireFox adds Ping attribute to the Anchor tag


It appears that FireFox 1.6 will have an additional attribute added to the Anchor tag called “Ping”. This feature will let the browser send a notification ping to the URL specified for the Ping attribute. The intent of the attribute is to improve page load performance and provide sites a mechanism for link tracking.


I don’t know about you, but when I put my evil QA hat on I’m thinking that this could be a nice little feature that could gain me more pings/hits to my site. If I set the ping attribute to qainsight.net for every link I put on my page, I could get an extra hit for link clicked; more hits equals more Google Adsense revenue… Okay, the hat is off now, the evil Brent is gone (I won’t be doing that).


I haven’t installed FireFox 1.6 to test this but I’m imagining my evil code would look something like this:


<a href=”http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/darin/archives/009594.html” ping=”http://qainsight.net”>Link to Fried Fish</a>


Can you think of any other exploits?

2 Responses to FireFox adds Ping attribute to the Anchor tag

  1. Greg says:

    Actually, I think pings woudl not mean more adsense revenue. Adsense pays per click and the page has to be loaded to count as an impression. If anything happens as a result of this, it would be to lower the click-thru ratio… and I am not sure it will even do that.

    It does have the potential to screw with stats for sure.

  2. Mark says:

    A PING is on a different port that HTTP traffic, also (53 vs. 80 I think?). I don’t know how adsense workds, but, I’m sure it’s pretty easy to track in your logs, and it’s easy to pick the ports, so, I’d expect it’s pretty easy to figure that out when figuring things out. IIS logs show what port your request is coming in on, so, I’d imagine adsense would consider that. I’m sure Google has at least one "Brent" there!

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