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  1. #1
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    Can My Web Site Detect Toolbars? How?
    I've seen this question posted "in passing" in several other discussion threads, but I've not yet been able to find a response that actually answers the question.

    Is there a way to detect the presence of "some" or "all" parasitic toolbars?

    I assume that one strategy would be to create a server-side script that would read the browser info from the http-request headers, and if a specific "undesirable" text-string were detected in the browser field, the script would either display a warning message, or would redirect to a warning page.

    However, I suspect that many or most toolbars aren't identified in any way in the headers. Is there some other way to detect toolbars?

    So: What can be done, technically?

    Either way, I'm definitely not proficient enough to write such a script.

    So: What is currently available to meet this need?

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    I've been trying to research this very thing the last few days.

    I read a couple of posts elsewhere where someone wanted to block Alexa's toolbar, and someone posted a method using .htaccess, but I haven't tried it (I need to set up another computer for all this testing stuff).

    Code:
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Alexa\ Toolbar
    RewriteRule .* - [F]
    The technology has to exist - there are still websites that get by all the pop-up blocking technology that is out there.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    This script on the following site does detect toolbar / bhos
    http://www.doxdesk.com/software/js/parasite.html

    and lets you give warning messages or redirects to a page if you like --


    You will have to get the CSID of the toolbar you want to redirect

    thats about all there is from what I know -
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Magi, for the suggestion.

    The doxdesk parasite.js script seems to have last been updated in February 2005 (4 years ago). I believe I did install this script code on one of my sites back in 2005 or 2006, but never knew if it detected anything.

    I can't really tell which parasites it detects. It seems to be more focused on "involuntary" parasites (trojans, viruses, etc.) but it's not entirely clear.

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    Thanks, Magi, for the suggestion.

    The doxdesk parasite.js script seems to have last been updated in February 2005 (4 years ago). I believe I did install this script code on one of my sites back in 2005 or 2006, but never knew if it detected anything.

    I can't really tell which parasites it detects. It seems to be more focused on "involuntary" parasites (trojans, viruses, etc.) but it's not entirely clear.
    Take a look at parasite-data.js - that file has the list of whatever BHO back in 05 - ... this has changed greatly over the years ..

    In Order to block out the BHO / Toolbar , you going to have to figure out the CSID and plug it in there ...

    and to do that .. you have to install the toolbar, and search the Registery -

    -----
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magi
    In Order to block out the BHO / Toolbar , you going to have to figure out the CSID and plug it in there ...

    and to do that .. you have to install the toolbar, and search the Registery -

    -----
    So in order to block a toolbar, we have to install another toolbar?

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    I can't say if this works on all toolbars, but it is one you might like to look at:

    <?php
    if (eregi("ZangoToolbar",$HTTP_USER_AGENT)){
    print("<h1>Warning ZangoToolbar Browser Hijacker Detected</h1><p>We have detected a suspicious piece of software on your computer. See <a href=\"http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/" target=\"_blank\">Spyware Doctor</a> for more information.</p>"); }
    ?>
    There is another version that just redirects without warning. Then you need to decide if you want to scare your visitors..

    <?php
    if (eregi("ZangoToolbar",$HTTP_USER_AGENT)){
    header("Location: http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/"); }
    ?>

  8. #8
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    I prefer the first one .

    2Busy, will there any other steps that need to be taken other than just insert the codes? Plus, how is the outcome looks like? a pop-up window on my visitor's computer with the warning message or the message stays on the spot where the codes are? Thanks.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    That code only works for Zango, You can try it for others by editing, but it's "sold as is" your mileage may vary.
    To see if it works for other toolbars you would need to download the toolbar you want to test for and install it, then test it on your site. Not something everyone wants to do. I posted it for people who are interested in possibly developing new uses with it which is not something that I do.

  10. #10
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    I was more thinking of inserting codes like that with all the toolbars I can gather from all sources onto my site. If there is no toolbars detected, the codes sit there and do nothing. But if some toolbars got detected, the message show up to warn my visitors.

    I guess it's not as easy as I thought, and I won't get in the mess to download every thiefbars out there

  11. #11
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    The problem with detecting them on your site and warning is - overwhelmingly, these toolbars are knowingly installed by the user. The days of drive-by installs has lessened.

    That is whem warnings worked - hey do you know why you get more popups? zango! But to remind them they installed a toolbar and this is going to help them save money? Not such a hot warning. Anyone who does warn their users should be very careful in the wording of the message they display, very careful.

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    That's true, some of the users could complain about your site and the stinkers have been known to sue. They don't win on a regular basis but who wants that? People are asking about detecting toolbars and I'm sure it can be done, but then what do you do?

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    People are asking about detecting toolbars and I'm sure it can be done, but then what do you do?
    Yeah, in real life, you see a thief, you call police.

    Here, thiefbars are best friends of most if not all networks(affiliate police in a way) and a large number of merchants. Sad.

  14. #14
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    That's true, some of the users could complain about your site and the stinkers have been known to sue. They don't win on a regular basis but who wants that? People are asking about detecting toolbars and I'm sure it can be done, but then what do you do?
    Perhaps a warning isn't what's called for. Suppose instead of a warning they were denied access to your site with an explanation that the particular toolbar that they are utilizing is not welcome. No redirect, no information regarding the parasitic nature of the toolbar. Just block them. Someone posted a site recently that wouldn't allow IE users, same sort of thing. It gives the owner of the toolbar absolutely no grounds to sue, it's your site and they're simply not welcome.

    By denying the browser access you really aren't losing anything. What you are doing though is denying the owner of the toolbar at least one site that it can poach sales from. It's also quite possible that if the user is denied access to enough sites with the same message they may start to actually get the message and lose the toolbar.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  15. #15
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rematt
    Perhaps a warning isn't what's called for. Suppose instead of a warning they were denied access to your site with an explanation that the particular toolbar that they are utilizing is not welcome. No redirect, no information regarding the parasitic nature of the toolbar. Just block them. Someone posted a site recently that wouldn't allow IE users, same sort of thing. It gives the owner of the toolbar absolutely no grounds to sue, it's your site and they're simply not welcome.

    By denying the browser access you really aren't losing anything. What you are doing though is denying the owner of the toolbar at least one site that it can poach sales from. It's also quite possible that if the user is denied access to enough sites with the same message they may start to actually get the message and lose the toolbar.

    -rematt
    !

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Perhaps a warning isn't what's called for. Suppose instead of a warning they were denied access to your site with an explanation that the particular toolbar that they are utilizing is not welcome. No redirect, no information regarding the parasitic nature of the toolbar. Just block them. Someone posted a site recently that wouldn't allow IE users, same sort of thing. It gives the owner of the toolbar absolutely no grounds to sue, it's your site and they're simply not welcome.
    OK rematt, I think you've got it!

    <?php
    if (eregi("NameYourToolbar",$HTTP_USER_AGENT)){
    header("Location: http://www.yoursite.com/getout.php"); }
    ?>
    Just combine this with the Bad Spider Trap that John posted here:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?p=902504
    and they will be forever banned from your site. wala!

    might want to let them try again though so they could get the point by returning home empty handed

  17. #17
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Maybe instead of wasting the SE or PPC traffic, you redirect them to a page on your site with general information on the product. And loaded up with adsense of course.

  18. #18
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy
    Just combine this with the Bad Spider Trap that John posted here:
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?p=902504
    and they will be forever banned from your site. wala!

    might want to let them try again though so they could get the point by returning home empty handed
    I LOVE IT!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    Maybe instead of wasting the SE or PPC traffic, you redirect them to a page on your site with general information on the product. And loaded up with Adsense of course.
    Finally a good use for Adsense. But no redirect needed. Just load up the initial "you're toolbar ain't welcome" page.

    I think we may be on to something.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  19. #19
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    it sounds like a good time for a custom adsense for search page. Do they all have custom user agents?

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    The bad news if I remember correctly is that the freecause toolbars (OneCause, aGoodCause, etc.) don't have a user agent. I think Magi said we have to dig out their registry code. I know there are folks here who are capable of putting this together, hopefully someone will chime in.

  21. #21
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{CC0D77AF-731A-4C50-A69D-2BC36ED01A97}]
    (Default) = "FreeCause Toolbar"
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  22. #22
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I'd like to add - you should always remain focused on selling.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Lets see if this is right..hmm..
    <?php
    if (eregi("FreeCause Toolbar",$HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{CC0D77AF-731A-4C50-A69D-2BC36ED01A97)){
    header("Location: http://www.yoursite.com/getout.php"); }
    ?>
    well it can't hurt to try

    note: this particular setup requires you to have the Bad Spider Trap in place, but you could always build an adsense-atorium instead I guess. Adjust the URL accordingly.


    selling, selling, selling

  24. #24
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Chetf's point is a very good one. While I have been asking privately about ways I can have my pages make toolbars stand down on my pages, if the user has the toolbar there for a specific purpose, I'm not doing that visitor any favors.

    It's a tricky issue.

    So if I make FW's toolbar ignore my site through coding, a consumer makes a purchase, and they don't get their cash back, they more than likely will ask FW why not. And if FW tells them it's because that site blocked our tracking, I end up looking like the bad guy, regardless of how the affiliate community feels about it.

    Maybe a better bet would be to have SAS send the user my portion of the commission* through FW, but I keep the FW portion. Hardly an ideal solution, but we're all grasping at straws here anyhow.

    *In other words, FW and I split the commission. I don't expect SAS to start paying end users to support FW's business model.

    Of course, the REALLY OBVIOUS downside of this is that it still tends to proliferate the use of toolbars. But if the cash back site is just administering in this scenario, and not making any money, it's a less preferable situation.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Kevin]
    It's a tricky issue.
    QUOTE]

    Do you have any issues with redirecting your users straight off your page that contain xyz toolbar?

    The redirect will happen so fast .. the user wont even see your content and go to whatever page you want them ..
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

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