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Extra Content Pasted from Copied Hyperlink

Posted on 2014-03-18
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Last Modified: 2014-03-19
Hello Experts.

I'm not really sure if my chosen Zones will attract enough experts with in-depth knowledge of this, but here goes.

I was recently checking out a page for a friend to determine whether it was a scam or might provide some useful info to help her:  

http://www.moneynews.com/MKTNews/social-security-FAASF-senior-benefits/2014/03/11/id/558833/?promo_code=16BD7-1

My conclusion was that it was just a moneymaking racket designed to sucker people into being signed up for free trial subscriptions to publications that they probably wouldn't be able to cancel.

While checking out the page I was quite disturbed by a new marketing/tracking trend that I have never seen before now.  You will see a red bold "Editor’s Note:" on the page followed by a bold blue hyperlink entitled "Click Here to Secure Your Government Giveaway Package".  When you scroll over and then copy (I use Ctrl + C), it immediately shows a little "social networking" popup at the right that states "Powered By Tynt", as shown below.
.  When I pasted what I had copied into a text editor, it included this:

Editor’s Note: Click Here to Secure Your Government Giveaway Package
Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.moneynews.com/MKTNews/social-security-FAASF-senior-benefits/2014/03/11/id/558833#ixzz2wIghUqL1
Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!
In reading about Tynt (http://www.tynt.com) I see that you can now "Add Incremental Revenue To Your Site With New Intent Signal Solutions", and you can "Leverage On-Site Copy & Paste Activity" by "Understanding your audience’s intent in real-time to boost site traffic and brand reach while driving user engagement".

Apart from the fact that "Leverage" is not used in the correct context, and the fact that the statements are riddled with pompous and BS buzzwords, I can see that my "Intent" of copying the link rather than clicking on it might help somebody down the line to realise that the link was so overtly "in my face" and apparently fraudulent that I was not induced to click on it.

What DOES concern me, and I am wondering whether any of you web gurus know, is why the copied contents included the line: "Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!".

Maybe I'm not seeing something else adjacent to this "Powered by Tynt" popup?

Perhaps if I actually click on either of the Social networking icons, or on the "Don't Show This Again" link, I would be inadvertantly creating false referendum votes somewhere?

The link actually goes to a page on the http://www.newsmaxstore.com site, and I realise from googling that there are some allegations that the site is nothing more than a heavily biased political propaganda factory, but I can't see anything on the original page that would allow me to "Vote Here Now" should I have wanted to.

Is this additional line that gets pasted just one of those subliminal message things targeted at the general audience who would be interested in Social Security benefits for Seniors, and the obvious implications of a "health service", or is there actually some redirection of clicks going on behind the scenes to create some false popularity votes on the newsmax site?

Your expert insight is appreciated.

Bill
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Question by:BillDL
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Accepted Solution

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Dan Craciun earned 500 total points
ID: 39936291
This is the code that triggers that. How? I'll let people smarter than me explain it :)
<!-- BEGIN Tynt Script -->
<script type="text/javascript">
if(document.location.protocol=='http:'){
var Tynt=Tynt||[];Tynt.push('atbo_mayur4inHadbi-bnq');Tynt.i={"ap":"Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com ","el":" Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed?<a style=\"color:#003399;\"href=\http://www.moneynews.com/surveys/ObamaPoliciesMN/Should-Congress-Repeal-Obama-s-Policies/id/44/kw/default?PROMO_CODE=10EFF-1\"target=\"_blank\"> Vote Here Now!</a>","ss":"ft"};  (function(){var s=document.createElement('script');s.async="async";s.type="text/javascript";s.src='http://tcr.tynt.com/ti.js';var h=document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];h.parentNode.insertBefore(s,h);})();
}
</script>
<!-- END Tynt Script -->

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LVL 38

Author Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39936417
Thanks Dan.  Strangely enough I had searched the page source code, but I didn't find Obama.

Maybe I misspelled the President's name  ;-)  You'll enjoy this one:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2577055/Stupid-Ive-got-17-GCSEs-says-girl-thought-Barraco-Barner-President-An-audience-beauty-salon-receptionist-story-speaks-volumes-modern-Britain.html

Although I often dig deep into websites and can sometimes figure out what they do, with this one it's a bit over my head.  On the face of it this just looks like a ploy to get people to paste additional lines of text of the website's choosing into a Facebook page and share that message.
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LVL 38

Author Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39940406
OK, so my mistake was just pasting into a plain text editor where I just saw a message and a cryptic "Click Here" prompt, but no hyperlink.

Pasting into any rich text editor that supports hyperlinks will paste the line:
"Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!"
with the words "Vote Here Now" hyperlinked to an opinion/survey page on the http://www.moneynews.com website, as shown in the screenshot below.

Hyperlink pastes into Rich Text EditorSo, somebody has scrolled down the page and the social networking buttons are now a long way up.  Ignoring any Right-Click "accelerators" a user may have enabled in their browser to share a link, there is no obvious way to just share the link they are now seeing, so they decide to copy it.  In Firefox the "Copy Link Location" option on the Right-Click doesn't do this, but the normal "Copy" or "Ctrl + C" triggers the little Tynt popup.

The user may now decide to use the Facebook or Twitter icons (or whatever the author has decided to have shown) to share the link.  Those who don't use either, or prefer not to blindly click icons, decide instead to paste what they have copied into an email, instant messenger, or any of the "sharing" and social networking sites.  Unless they are careful to inspect what has just been pasted, which is often hard to do in the small comment box provided, the person has inadvertantly pasted a link to the political survey site.

I don't know if, by clicking the Facebook or Twitter icons, it will also submit this additional content, and I'm not about to try it.

So, definitely sneaky but it isn't automatically sending false votes to some opinion poll, which was my concern.  I am beginning to see more little boxes of a similar type popping up on pages when I scroll over and copy something.

Dan.  Thanks for finding that code which for some reason I had missed.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39940432
I saw the link in the JS code. It has "PROMO_CODE=10EFF-1" in it so I just assumed it's a referral and someone tries to make some money by sending traffic to that page.

On a side note, I liked the Barner story, but it changed my beliefs: the British are not immune to word explosion. What should of been a 200 words story was blown into a 3000 word repetition :)

Dan
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Author Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39940456
I know, and no doubt as many adverts crammed into the lengthy page as was possible.
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39940483
I wouldn't know :)

I use Adblock Plus and Ghostery with Chrome and the Internet is way cleaner.

I pay/donate on the sites I like, so I don't feel guilty about not seeing the advertising.

PS: I had to use Firefox and disable NoScript to replicate the behavior you were seeing.
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LVL 38

Author Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39940528
I use Firefox with AdBlock Plus, and have now disabled all Tynt popups, so I don't see a lot of the advertising either.  I'll take a look at Ghostery.  I've used DoNotTrack Plus, but they tried to get too fancy with the UI.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 39940649
Ghostery is good but you have to be careful if you block all.
I had to allow Omniture, or it would break E-E.
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