More MySpace ‘cat and mouse’ September 23, 2007Posted by ClustrMaps Team in News.
When ClustrMaps users try to embed their ‘thumbnail widget HTML code’ within a MySpace profile, part of it (specifically the A HREF part) looks disturbingly changed from the user’s point of view while they are trying to edit or save their MySpace profile. This is because the ‘outbound link’, in other words the link that takes you to your personal ClustrMaps large world map page, gets intercepted and changed for internal MySpace purposes. This is not inherently a bad thing (after all, it is MySpace’s site on which you are putting this code), BUT in certain cases the change may take you to a place other than what you expected.
MYSPACE USERS WITH EXISTING WORKING MAPS SHOULD BE FINE, BUT NEW CLUSTRMAPS USERS ON MYSPACE MAY EXPERIENCE THE PROBLEMS DESCRIBED NEXT.
The effect was described as follows in a Mashable posting on July 20, 2007:
Unlike other “blocks”, where MySpace would strip out certain URLs from user profiles, they’re now using redirects on outbound links. As you might remember, MySpace began replacing outbound links in the comment sections with “msplinks“, a sort of tinyURL system that allowed them to track outbound linking and presumably stop comment spamming. More recently, they expanded the system to MySpace profiles themselves: if you put a link anywhere on a MySpace profile, whether text, an image or otherwise, it will be replaced with a msplinks.com URL. Clicking it redirects you to the correct URL.
Except when it doesn’t. Those aforementioned companies are complaining that MySpace has “hijacked” URLs from certain companies, redirecting their links not the 3rd party sites, but to the MySpace.com homepage.
This is something we are now investigating as a matter of urgency. As we have written in the past, “We respect the MySpace terms and conditions of service and therefore do not want to encourage activity which is in violation of these terms. On the other hand, we are working hard to provide a viable mapping/tracking tool that fits appropriately within the rules of MySpace.”
We encourage ClustrMaps users who are having trouble getting their maps working properly on MySpace to write politely to http://www.myspace.com/myspacehelp or firstname.lastname@example.org to request that either this ‘stealth blocking’ of an innocent geographical hit counter be removed or that the policy be made much clearer and less prone to ‘surprises’!