Advertising, rich media, and….trendy sexuality?!?!? (a stealthy Urban Dictionary prank?)

For a while now, Urban Dictionary has been randomly redirecting to the (NSFW) entry for EyeBlaster. No, not the former digital advertising company, now known as MediaMind – but instead the vulgar description for a sexual act. At first I thought this one of my friends pulling a prank,  however no new chrome extensions had been installed.

I thought, this must be some kind of internet-wide prank, but there was no sudden mention of the redirect on twitter, and there weren’t any discussions thereof…..anywhere. After some investigation, I came across a single YouTube video of someone else experiencing this:

Even weirder, in the time since I first drafted this post (December 6th, 2012), the page has been changed. The original page looked like this:

Seriously?? This is weird. Like really weird.

Seriously?? This is weird. Like really weird.

 Now also notice, it’s tagged “rich media” — which suggests to me that the author knew what’d happen

"rich media"

“rich media”

My guess – as a somewhat experienced programmer, not a web developer –  is that some kind of public variable stores the user’s search term, and then passed on to the server as a request. This variable must also be used by another (and badly coded) script, that then, immediately before the browser transmits the request, overwrote the user’s term with “eyeblaster”. I opened up the page’s source code, did some work in with Chrome’s Developer Tools, and there it was: addineyev2.html,  JavaScript, and iframes.

I figured that Urban Dictionary’s Query string/return was simple enough that a small conflict could case the eyeblaster redirect. Lastly, these redirects were inconsistent and appeared unintentional (with respect to urbandictionary) – therefore it must be a third-party! Certainly then, another party running the same code should suffer from the same effect

….and this is where I discover the connection between Mediamind, Eyeblaster, and redirects.

In the month since I first discovered this oddity, there has been some buzz about  the eyeblaster redirect affecting blogs and  other websites, confirming that this is a third-party phenomenon.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/13462795/determine-which-advertisement-made-a-request-to-eyeblaster-addineyev2-html

http://www.knowcrazy.com/2012/12/how-to-fix-eyeblasteraddineyev2html.html#.UOktcR1i5VZ

<under construction>

~ by Alexander Riccio on January 6, 2013.

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