Solved

Non- sweepable CSS?

Posted on 2012-04-11
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I'm not even sure how to title this question. What I'd like to do is have an image over and over again on a page, and then use CSS to place a coupon code on the image.

So far so good, I can do that. But the boss is afraid that hackers will come along, scrape the site and steal all the coupon codes. Is there anything I can do to avoid that, other than making them all images?

I hope you understand what I mean, I'm creating a coupon site with the coupons just for his company. Here's an example page:
magickitchencoupons.com/percent-off.html

Doing it this way means I can make changes to the codes easily. If I have to make them all images, then I need to create a new image for each coupon code in perpetuity.  Thanks in advance!
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Question by:mel200
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12 Comments
 
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Assisted Solution

by:LZ1
LZ1 earned 334 total points
ID: 37837272
Your going about it the completely wrong way.  First, the coupon codes should be kept in a database and then somehow delivered securely(via email generally).  

What is your general skill set as it relates to development?
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LVL 16

Assisted Solution

by:s8web
s8web earned 166 total points
ID: 37837287
I can't think of a way to pull that off with just css and html. You are probably going to need to lean on some server side technology. Nothing is 100% though. If it can be displayed, it can be taken. It's just a matter of making it annoying enough to deter automated attempts while not so annoying as to deter visitors. The first thing that comes to mind is some kind of captcha application to weed out bots. Then look at your audience. If you're not targeting geographic regions that are notorious hotbeds for originating malicious activity, restrict access. What server side language are you using?
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Author Comment

by:mel200
ID: 37837641
Hi- I can't get to this for a few hours but I wanted to be sure you knew I appreciate your help!!
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Expert Comment

by:LZ1
ID: 37837649
That's what were here for.
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Author Comment

by:mel200
ID: 37839618
Hi, I'm on this now. I used to be pretty good with Coldfusion, but the site this is on doesn't have that, it uses Perl. So I'm pretty much hooped for server-side knowledge.

I know coupon sites like retailmenot use flash, it looks like.
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Expert Comment

by:LZ1
ID: 37840614
You could do Flash, but hopefully no one is visiting your site from an iOS device.  

In all honesty, your best bet would be to try to use a server-side language to your advantage.  But realistically, what would a "hacker" do with all those coupon codes?  Their only good on your site, so what else could happen?
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Author Comment

by:mel200
ID: 37840665
Right, I'm not sure of my client's fears. He says, 'the coupon scrapers will go after these and put them all over their own sites and discount our brand.  Can you figure a way to verify the user as real?" and then he says, "Use Simple SP." And that made me come to you.

Thanks for your responses, I'll mark this as solved because I can't use server-side, but that's the way I guess I have to go.
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Author Comment

by:mel200
ID: 37840667
Actually, he said Simple Septia, but I couldn't find that on a google search except as a reference to color. Is there something called simple SP that could help??
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Accepted Solution

by:
LZ1 earned 334 total points
ID: 37840675
In my opinion, I think your client's fears are unrealistic. There are millions of coupon codes floating around the internet. No offense to either of you, but I don't think the site is as large as say Dell or Amazon or Godaddy whom are all infamous for coupon usage.

I've never heard of "simple septia". Sepia is a style or filter that can be applied to a photo or image.  It sounds like your client is relatively uneducated in internet technologies.  I guess I just don't understand what his real fear is. If someone "steals" a coupon code, what could they possibly do with it besides purchase something at a discount?  

I do wish you the best of luck with this project.  I'm sure we'll see you back here again soon.  We'll be here if you need us.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mel200
ID: 37840815
Thanks so much for the advice.
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Expert Comment

by:s8web
ID: 37841856
Another possible angle, if you change your coupon codes frequently, it will make the coupons harvested and distributed by third parties useless.

However, as LZ hinted at, these third party sites might work out for you. Most people don't care where they buy. They're more interested in the best price. If somebody is looking for a deal on a widget at store a, and they find a coupon elsewhere for the same widget at store b, they're probably going to head on over to store b and award them the sale. In this scenario, you didn't have them in the first place, but you do now. Then if they're dazzled by your awesome service you might have them in future too.

Just a thought.
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Author Comment

by:mel200
ID: 37842148
Great point!
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