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DA is 'The Man'...

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 23, 2007, 11:50 PM



Don't know how many of you noticed the performance issues with DA lately?  Odd behaviour, missing comments, etc, etc.  I got the news post from spyed (Acting CEO, DeviantArt), explaining it as upgrades and other things - I'm a tech, it all sounded pretty reasonable...

But I was browsing a couple of nights ago and noticed that my DA page loads were working OK, apart from one last object which always took forever - I checked the detail and discovered that DA was actually waiting for a third party server "pixel.quantserve.com" - WTF?

So I go digging, and I think I've discovered that DA is actually "The Man" - our behaviour and activities on DA are being watched people, and it's more than just "who's pic is popular this month" kind of stuff, it's full-on user demographics!!

I'm pretty sure everyone has known for a while that DA was tracking some movement on the site with Google Analytics - DA is a business, so making use of tracking information to maximise profits is pretty common.  However, this "pixel.quantserve.com" thing got me intrigued, and here's what I found:

The Code
If you view the page source for your own DA page, you'll find these little snippets at the bottom of the page, for both Google Analytics and Quantcast www.quantcast.com (note that formatting has been changed to stop browsers from trying to run the code!!)

[script src="www.google-analytics.com/urchi…" type="text/javascript"]
        [/script][script type="text/javascript"]
    _uacct = "UA-<randomstuff-1";
    _udn = "deviantart.com";
    if (self.urchinTracker) urchinTracker();
    if (self.__utmSetVar){
        __utmSetVar('LoggedIn' );
    }
    [/script]    [!-- Start Quantcast tag --]
    [script type="text/javascript" src="edge.quantserve.com/quant.js"][/script]

    [script type="text/javascript"]
    _qacct="p-<random_stuff";quantserve();[/script]
    [noscript]
    [img src="pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-<random_stuff>.gif" style="display: none" height="1" width="1" alt="Quantcast"/][/noscript]
    [!-- End Quantcast tag --]

Interesting to note that Quantcast uses a 1x1 pixel with a unique name to track us... Hmmm, I can feel hijinks coming on...

The Result
Look at a few of these and you'll see where I'm going with this (and why it's just a teensy bit scary...)

spyed - >1.3m pageviews - www.quantcast.com/spyed.devian… - ranked just under 369,000
kris-wilson - >1.5m pagesviews - www.quantcast.com/kris-wilson.… - ranked approx 58000
scottjamesprebble - almost 375k pageviews - www.quantcast.com/scottjamespr… - ranked approx 339000 (with 10k unique visitors per month, go Scott!!)

You can look yourself up as well, but don't expect anything too exciting - just copy and paste one of the links above and change the obvious bit in the URL!!  What you will discover is that if you are not a huge traffic generator (like Kris Wilson is), then you won't have demographic info, and you are probably ranked out in nowhere land with depressingly few visitors per month!!

Apparently, DA as an entire site is ranked 135 in the world, with 14 million unique hits each month!!  Here's the stats for all to see - www.quantcast.com/deviantart.c…

Conclusion
This journal brought to you by a quick bit of investigation and a bunch of assumptions about how things work.  I'm guessing DA uses this information to target advertising, and is also perhaps considering the options of harnessing the power of the people who are high traffic generators, like Kris Wilson.

I hope Kris is getting his subscription for free, and if DA approach him to use his popularity for the expansion of the site, that they do the right thing and reward/compensate him.  Yes, DA is a community people - but I bet DA corporate is going to look really hard at how best to leverage the most popular denizens in this little society to make more money!!

Featured Deviants

:iconabrito:
Shoots the kinds of shots I aspire to achieve... one day
:iconvidi:
One of the most interesting and effective photographers I've seen, well worth a look!!


YouTube Silliness

Videos that have been testing my sanity, and/or keeping me amused!!
The new iPhone, will it blend? - www.youtube.com/user/Blendtec - watch them all!!
How to Kill a Mockingbird Book Review - www.stanford.edu/~scodary/tkam… - Oldie but a goodie
Stick figures on Crack 3 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyKWWL… - Madness
Charlie the Unicorn - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5im0S… - WTFOMGROFL!!! Not right...

Wikipedia Rabbit Hole

I'm addicted to Wikipedia, there are soooo many interesting distractions to get caught up in at 2am...
Need a new religion? Try this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_S…
Want to do your head in? This tinyurl.com/ywftfu might help!!

Projects and other things

Photography Challenge 2007, check it out - projectjp.deviantart.com/journ…

Clubs

:iconphotolust: :iconrestlessphotographer: :iconcorset-fetish-club: :iconfetish-comunity: :iconartistic-nudes: :iconelitenudes: :iconnudecritique: :icondeviantnudes: :iconnewnudes: :iconphoto-class: :iconmusicians-united: :iconmacrophoto: :iconcrikey: :icondevaus: :iconaac: :iconunseenartists:


Stamps

<img src="fc03.deviantart.com/fs10/i/200…" width="99" height="56" / alt="Powered by Canon"> Deviant Nudes Corset Fetish Club <img src="fc01.deviantart.com/fs7/f/2006…" fc01.deviantart.com/fs7/f/2006…" width="99" height="56" alt="DA policy on Nudity" /> <img src="fc01.deviantart.com/fs11/i/200…" width="99" height="56" / alt="Be seen...">
  • Listening to: Asshole Father - Sick Puppies
  • Reading: Shantaram (still!!)
  • Watching: DA pages load... slowly
  • Eating: Shapes
  • Drinking: Pepsi Max (yuck, it's all I got!!)
Add a Comment:
 
:icon928:
928 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009
As far as I can tell, it's a nuisance.
Takes pages longer to load while it retrieves information, as well as from Google analyst.
The tech boys should do something about it.
Reply
:iconrajooda:
rajooda Featured By Owner May 27, 2009
I have recently started tracking the visits on my page and had very interesting info about the returning visits and visit lengths. Though not Google Analytics, information that can be obtained are limited as I can not put the code on every page. It nevertheless provides some insight as to what is popular and how to improve the gallery on the whole.
Reply
:iconrushy:
Rushy Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2009
I'm working on a way to kill these off if I can.
Reply
:iconcelticwren:
celticwren Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2009  Professional General Artist
Ooo, stats! I am terribly curious about how much traffic my page gets, it is not that much, but it is interesting to see. :)
Reply
:iconpagan22:
pagan22 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2008
I got fed up with DA working so slow and looked up that place too. Google brought me right to your journal. Thanks a lot for posting this.
Reply
:iconprism-urase:
Prism-urase Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008
Gugh... that Quantserve thing's managed to piss me off... won't stop loading for me... at all... gotta hit ESC... thank god for AdBlock, the rest are gone... damn things loading over and over and over...
Reply
:iconsawnoffshogun:
SawnOffShogun Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2007
Ever thought of becoming a online investigator?

How the hell do they come up with the U.S. Demographics for kris-wilson? Household Income, Ethnicity, Head of Household Education... WTF? Am I missing something? Or is this just a US thing? This really blows me away Jeff!

Tracking clicks is all part of the internet and I know the ISP can also be responsible... "The man" gathers all kinds of info about us, it's not just related to the internet. Why else do the evil GE genies (Coles Myer/NAB) push the fly-buys card? [link] Who/when/where/what information!
Although this information is not available to the general public, it is available to any business associated to them (and of course all government agencies). I have yet to find a comprehensive list of these so called "authorised representatives..."
Here's the concerning parts of the contract:
2.2 & (3.3 call centres???) [link]
The last part of 5.4 [link]

I've got nothing to hide and there is no reason anyone would need to single me out but spam, mail outs and cold calls really shit me off and if 'the man' is reading this, "don't bother with the above, I'm really not interested..."
Reply
:iconprojectjp:
projectjp Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2007
You're on the money Les, funny you mentioned FlyBuys, I'm not a member for exactly the kinds of reasons you describe. A long career in IT security has taught me to disclose as little as possible, but there are plenty of occasions where participation can actually be worthwhile. For example, I have a credit card that gives me points with Qantas, since I do a bit of travel those FF points are actually useful to me.

I wrote a much longer reply and then realised I didn't want to cause paranoia in all of the people that read this journal (yes, all 3 of them!!). But I have seen some scary stuff in my years in security, yet it doesn't stop me from buying/using goods/services - it's a question of risk/reward. FlyBuys does not offer me enough incentive to give up my personal details and allow them to track me, while Qantas FF points on a credit card I have to use anyway does... How paranoid individuals should be is entirely personal choice - we're all noise anyway, mere blips on a very large radar that is much more interested in larger fish!!

And I agree, I hate those cold calls and mail-outs, I'm planning on putting in a PABX ([link]) into the house to screen the call centres out

Cheers

Jeff :D
Reply
:iconjohnsy:
Johnsy Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2007
The digital age, profiling us all for the profits of big business! Here’s another funny clip from Youtube [link] , a bunch of animations… funny as :)
Reply
:iconprojectjp:
projectjp Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2007
Those gifs are a riot, most amusing!! Might have to add that to my YouTube Silliness collection!! Cheers :D
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2007
My brain starts panicking when I see things like this, I'm afraid. :(
Reply
:iconprojectjp:
projectjp Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2007
It's been going on for years, this is not the first nor will it be the last. In fact, DA's efforts are pretty lightweight compared to what Governments are capable of (just look at Carnivore [link] and Echelon [link]).

I've been working in the IT security game for over 10 years - I've protected my identity, set up fake trails and red herrings, and generally stayed under the radar, and what has it got me? Nothing much more than a slightly cynical perspective on the world and no frequent flyer points!!

The only comfort is that it affects everyone equally, so I sleep well at night knowing that I will get lost in the noise of the Internet... Cheer up, there are more benefits than downside in using the Internet!! :D
Reply
:icondalaiharma:
DalaiHarma Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2007  Professional Photographer
You're a cluey devil aren't ya Jeff :D
Well that is very interesting to know! :nod:
And yes with people like Kris and BlueBlack and Lithium Picnic [amongst others] churning out those staggering hit points, you would HOPE that DA is compensating them for their contribution, be it intentionally or not.
Won't dare check my stats, I have no chance of matching those figures :giggle:
Reply
:iconprojectjp:
projectjp Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2007
Lol, great to hear from you Harm, I think you do just fine on DA, over 100k views you star!! :worship:

Did you ever get that light meter sorted out? And will you be gracing Melbourne with your presence after your trip? It would be great to catch up, I spoke with *TinyAndAdorable and she wants to tell you off for teaching Rosie to make faces during poses!!

Hope you are well :hug: :D
Reply
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