Adblock breaks Nordstrom.com, Macys.com, Birchbox.com, Landsend.com, expedia.com, travelocity.com - easy workaround


I recently set up my wife's brand new Surface Pro 3 (i5/128GB) and she complained that certain shopping websites didn't work quite right in both IE and Firefox. I thought that was odd so I tried the same websites on my desktop computer and the same features were broken. After some hacking using the handy F12 dev tool in IE, I figured out that using certain tracking protection lists and adblocking tools breaks core features of some websites. I had been using a modified hosts file to accelerate page loads and to fight back against the erosion of online privacy.

In particular, Macy's and Nordstrom appear to contract with MaxyMiser.com for their web analytics / data warehousing so portions of web pages like the in-store inventory rely on IFRAMEs and javascript with content served from maxymiser.com and maxymiser.net. So if you are using a hosts file or other adblocking tools, you'll need to unblock those two domains.

Birchbox.com is similarly crippled when using ad-blocking/anti-tracking. Many links on birchbox.com are filtered through google-analytics in an odd way such that when you left-click on the link nothing happens, but if you right-click and open in a new tab it works just fine. If the right-clicking workaround bothers you, just unblock ssl.google-analytics.com and left-click will work again.

Landsend.com is dependent on javascripts from assets.adobedtm.com, Adobe's "dynamic tag management" system to track users.

Here is a running list of poorly designed websites and their dependent adware servers you need to unblock to gain full site functionality. I really hope the web developers aren't doing this deliberately and perhaps these sites serve real content in addition to ads? In any case, I have some thoughts about automating the workaround for specific sites so that these domains are not wide open and serving you ads all the time, but I'll keep my mouth shut for now just in case the ad men are watching. I hope to check in a solution to github at some point.

 
Website Adware servers
macys.com cg-global.maxymiser.com, service.maxymiser.net, cdn.tt.omtrdc.net
nordstrom.com cg-global.maxymiser.com, service.maxymiser.net, s.btstatic.com
birchbox.com ssl.google-analytics.com
landsend.com assets.adobedtm.com
expedia.com tags.tiqcdn.com
travelocity.com tags.tiqcdn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments (1)
  1. BluDragn says:

    Good detective work! Those websites are not necessarily poorly designed, they are just using "optimization" code from the likes of Maxymiser (and probably others). This code is meant to block page load at particular points and essentially swap in a particular version of page content in an effort to either test which version of content is most favorable to visitors or personalize a page for a particular visitor. If you block these scripts from running with something like AdBlock, you will in effect prevent parts (or most) of the page from loading. Hope this helps!

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