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I'm seeing very weird behaviour in relation to this domain and a tracking image. On a specific page on our site, I'm seeing a script that's being added dynamically, apparently via flash (I wasn't even aware that flash could alter the DOM ...) That script is located at:

http://scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js

When I request that URL, I see a 1x1 gif. Another weird point is that this domain appears to break all the web-based whois tools; entering that domain results in a 1x1 gif. This is even to the extent where, if I enter scorecardresearch.com into the Title as part of this question, GIF code appears just below it! Hence, the "dot" in the title.

The only 'unusual' thing on the page is a slideshare 'widget', which is flash-based - that's why I'm concluding that flash is altering the DOM.

Anyone know what is going on here? How concerned should I be?

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Did John's great answer help you out at all Bobby? –  Christopher Feb 14 '11 at 19:50
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1 Answer

That JavaScript file gives me a 404 error.

From their website:

ScorecardResearch, a service of Full Circle Studies, Inc., is part of the comScore, Inc. market research community, a leading global market research effort that studies and reports on Internet trends and behavior. ScorecardResearch conducts research by collecting Internet web browsing data and then uses that data to help show how people use the Internet, what they like about it, and what they don’t.

ScorecardResearch collects data through from two main sources: surveys and web tagging. For our surveys, we invite people on the Internet to provide us with anonymous demographic and Internet usage information that we can use to refine our reporting. These surveys are always voluntary, and are never used to collect personal information. For web tagging, participating websites agree to deploy a special code throughout their sites. Again, no personally identifiable information is ever transmitted by, or linked to, the web tags.

Learn more about ScorecardResearch and our market research programs.

ComScore is a legit tracking company as they are frequently quoted in relation to website traffic and browser statistics.

What I want to know is why you have something on your site that you don't know anything about. Did you put the flash there If not why not remove it? If so, shouldn't whomever provided it tell you about what it does?

FYI, Whois info:

Registrant: TMRG, INC. 11950 Democracy Dr. Suite 600 Reston, VA 20190 US

Domain Name: SCORECARDRESEARCH.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:

  Administrator, Domain                
  TMRG, INC.
  11950 Democracy Dr.
  Suite 600
  Reston, VA 20190
  US
  703-438-2000 fax: 512-727-3144

Record expires on 01-Nov-2011.

Record created on 01-Nov-2007.

Domain servers in listed order:

NS1-213.AKAM.NET
NS1-86.AKAM.NET

USE1.AKAM.NET

USE3.AKAM.NET

USW2.AKAM.NET 65.166.152.131

USW4.AKAM.NET

USW5.AKAM.NET 63.241.73.214

EUR2.AKAM.NET linked to, the web tags.

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It's a site for which I'm the acting web developer. Someone, via our CMS, has added that flash onto the page, in order to display a 'slideshow'. –  Bobby Jack Oct 27 '10 at 16:07
    
As long as it is put there intentionally there shouldn't be any harm in this. At least not as far as I can see. –  John Conde Oct 27 '10 at 16:10
    
OK - I guess I was a little wary, but it's reassuring to hear that they're legit. I'll have to assume their tracking image is used for honest-to-goodness analytics. It's a bit concerning that these are different domains, and also that flash can - apparently - alter the DOM, but I know what I can do if I'm really bothered by it all :) –  Bobby Jack Oct 27 '10 at 17:09
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