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RISadler

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RISadler    10
RISadler

The inclusion of remote content from google-analytics.com and from cloudfront.net is sometimes preventing access to BoB ... now with the international line down again ... just so you now know.

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RISadler    10
RISadler

Cannot access BoB unless I turn off JavaScript (which disables the internationally downloaded code from the mentioned two sites) ... but then BoB doesn't function anymore (as the whole site is "session"-based and not URL-based) ... just so you know.

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MacMuffin    0
MacMuffin

Although we host our site locally and serve monthly close to 8TB of data, we do rely on some international services such as Google Analytics.

 

You are correct in saying that some externally hosted scripts (such as the social sharing functions on item pages or the Norton site-seal) will introduce a degraded user experience if international traffic is cut. Depending on which browser you use, you will find that some (such as Chrome) will not attempt to download a previously failed resource.

 

Most externally loaded scripts such as Google Analytics and sharing functions do a deferred load which will not block the rendering of the website.

 

The last week has been horrible - not just due to the Seacom outage, but also widespread DDOS attacks against DNS service providers due to the Spamhaus incident.

 

Unless Google/Amazon and other big players provide proper edge nodes in South Africa there will always be a dependency on international services.

 

If you are able to replicate yesterday's issue, it would help to drop me a screenshot of the network activity on your browser and also to understand if all or only some URLs cause an issue for you.

 

I also think that with the various Seacom related ISP issues it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the problem. My previously perfectly fine home MWeb ADSL connection for example nowadays drops 60% of it's packets.

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RISadler    10
RISadler

Screenshot included ... UA is Firefox 19.0.2 ... [bLANK PAGE] The offending scripts are downloaded (via some cache), but as they cannot perform their function (i.e. connect to the tracking server) it just hangs the whole page. My biggest gripe (with your web development team) is how they've redesigned BoB as a sessions & cookies only website. It has the effect that turning off JavaScript (or accessing the site with an HTML-only browser, e.g. Links) is impossible. This completely goes against how websites should be designed & built, apart from the fact that it destroys accessibility. BTW, the draft Bill on the Protection of Personal Information, when enacted, will make your use of both "google-analytics" and "cloudfront" illegal. Just so you know ...

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MacMuffin    0
MacMuffin
Screenshot included ... UA is Firefox 19.0.2 ... [bLANK PAGE] The offending scripts are downloaded (via some cache), but as they cannot perform their function (i.e. connect to the tracking server) it just hangs the whole page. My biggest gripe (with your web development team) is how they've redesigned BoB as a sessions & cookies only website. It has the effect that turning off JavaScript (or accessing the site with an HTML-only browser, e.g. Links) is impossible. This completely goes against how websites should be designed & built, apart from the fact that it destroys accessibility. BTW, the draft Bill on the Protection of Personal Information, when enacted, will make your use of both "google-analytics" and "cloudfront" illegal. Just so you know ...

 

POPI will not make the usage of analytics software, which collates anonymous browser usage, illegal. POPI will penalize companies which on-sell customer information (those annoying SMS's you get or those new emails you receive from some retailers).

 

POPI is all about protecting and managing how Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is used. We take privacy and data security very seriously and the privacy policy goes into great detail of what data we collect and how we process it. In short, all PII data collection is consensual and we do not share PII with 3rd parties unless it is in the context of a transaction (such as passing your credit card details to our payment gateway or providing your contact details to a seller/buyer to conclude a purchase). Google Analytics collates non PII and is essential to our business in order to understand business performance. In fact it tracks page-events and anonymous visitor behaviour so that we can analyse the performance of our web-traffic and advertising.

 

Javascript has become a necessity to improve user experience. Our website will just not work without Javascript. Analytics is essential to for advertising and product placement.

 

POPI will become more relevant for brick-and-mortar businesses and if you happen to be part of any loyalty programme (Clicks, PnP, Dischem, Discovery, Woolworths, frequent flyer programmes, eBucks etc) your PII is already heavily profiled. Many insurers already profile your driving behaviour and adjust risk profiles on that, it's one small step away from Outsurance declining an accident claim because you redeemed eBucks at the liquor store ;-)

 

BTW: If you want to earn R25,000 "bounty", send some developers my way - Senior Java Developer - Java/JEE, web development & web services running on OSS stack at bidorbuy.co.za in Bryanston - Job | LinkedIn

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RISadler    10
RISadler
POPI will not make the usage of analytics software, which collates anonymous browser usage, illegal.
Correct ... but remember that BoB (Pty) Ltd is not doing the collection, but a third-party (Google & Amazon). Therefore, no matter what your privacy agreement/policy/statement says, you cannot directly control what said third-parties do with the information. Now if you had specific contracts with Google and Amazon to do the stuff on your behalf and that agreement says they are not allowed to use said gathered information for their own purposes, then it should be OK. I have read the Google agreement and they do use the information gathered from other websites via their code in their own business. (About Amazon, well, they probably do the same ... using your user statistic to determine how best to market their products.) And remember that in contract law, agreeing to the BoB user agreement does not make the person automatically agree to the Google and/or Amazon agreements, unless you specifically say so and include said agreements in your agreement. But given the fact that (a) one cannot "sign away" a fundamental Constitutional right and (b) statutory law supersedes contractual law, not even that will work.

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RISadler    10
RISadler
Javascript has become a necessity to improve user experience. Our website will just not work without Javascript.
A website is like an ogre - made up of layers. The first sentence quoted above is (semi-)correct regarding JavaScript. The second sentence quoted above points to ... sorry qball ... incompetent/lazy/bad web design, as the site should function without JavaScript, albeit not as awesomely nice. It should even function without CSS, but maybe that's pushing it.

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RISadler    10
RISadler
Analytics is essential to for advertising and product placement.
Then do it yourself. If you cannot DIY, then how can you understand the results and act accordingly?

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RISadler    10
RISadler
POPI will become more relevant for brick-and-mortar businesses and if you happen to be part of any loyalty programme (Clicks, PnP, Dischem, Discovery, Woolworths, frequent flyer programmes, eBucks etc) your PII is already heavily profiled. Many insurers already profile your driving behaviour and adjust risk profiles on that, it's one small step away from Outsurance declining an accident claim because you redeemed eBucks at the liquor store ;-)
I do not participate in any of those programmes ... wait a moment ... eBucks ... liquor store ... together equals free beer? Holy Underwear!

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RISadler    10
RISadler
Senior Java Developer ...
Sorry, I prefer Kenyan ... and French over the weekends.

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RISadler    10
RISadler
... anonymous visitor ...
Somewhere along the line they link that unique, pseudo-random ID string with a person ... either through Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or your Amazon account ... Trust me, they know exactly who you are, where you live, and the name of your cat. Nineteen-eighty-four is a reality ... in more ways that you can imagine!

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MaxiTrading    10
MaxiTrading

RISadler - I've been doing some research into your problem, as BidorBuy don't seem to care. They are using Google's asynchronous code which should be non-blocking on most modern browsers, as it queues up the variables and then asynchronously communicates with Google as the page continues to load. In practice, however, there are instances where it can cause blocking, and so on some of our sites (we have 32 internationally that are heavily trafficked, but this is something we do on our local sites) on pages that are unlikely to have the user clicking off before it has fully loaded we place the GA snipped just before the closing body tag instead of in the head. This is intentional, and reduces the risk of blocking that can be caused by the async snippet (even when it shouldn't). In this instance, though, I suspect it is the cloudfront.net snippet that is blocking you.

 

But I digress.

 

I've experimented a bit with this, and it should work ok for you. If you are on Windows, then follow these directions to edit your hosts file (note that the instructions on how to edit it start about 1/5th down from the "In order to edit it" line). Then add these lines to your hosts file at the end:

 

127.0.0.1 www .google-analytics.com

127.0.0.1 google-analytics.com

127.0.0.1 d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net

127.0.0.1 d31qbv1cthcecs.cloudfront.net

 

Just remove the space after the www - the forum automatically turns it into a URL. Save it, and try access the site again. Once you have your international bandwidth back you can remove those lines from your hosts file, or leave them in (not being tracked by various sites is a pleasant side-effect;)

 

If you're on OS X, you can edit your hosts file in terminal - sudo nano /etc/hosts - and then save it with ctrl-O and exit nano with ctrl-X.

 

Hope this helps you!

Edited by MaxiTrading

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RISadler    10
RISadler

MaxiTrading, brilliant solution, many thanks! And now I also won't be contributing to their statistical analysis of user behaviour anymore! [insert sinister laugh here] Eat cupcakes, Muffin Man!

 

OK, more serious. Although the solution works 100%, it is still a solution on my part at my end for a problem caused by them at their end. This is totally unacceptable, especially from a company that employs dedicated web developers. But as I always say, it's their business ...

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MacMuffin    0
MacMuffin

Alternatively you can use Ghostery to see and control the usage of tracking code on a per-site basis. As said, we rely on Google Adwords for advertising and Google Analytics for measuring the advertising performance.

 

Building our own web-analytics solution is not in our interest and not our core business. The GA implementation is based on Google best-practises - i.e. inject the non-blocking async snippet in the

section to avoid blocking of the page loading.

 

With the connectivity issues over the last week, we do believe that the Cloudfront snippet caused your delay, but we have not been able to positively confirm it (it works on MWeb, Neotel and Telkom Internet). We did move the Cloudfront snippet to the bottom of the

tage which might (or might not) alleviate the problem. Perhaps if you can comment out the hosts-settings and let us know if the issue is still the same or better, it would help.

 

Google/Bing/Yahoo as well as social media is a necessity for an online business such as bidorbuy to operate. We use Google Adwords, Analytics, Alexa toolbar and the various social plugins on our site and that's pretty much it. We consciously do not utilise platforms such as Effective Measures due to their 3rd party cookie policies.

 

BTW: It will help us if (in addition to post a message here) you would also log a ticket in our support system so that we can track it properly. The forum works very well to discuss and share information, but does not allow us to track and monitor reported issues.

 

Let's see if the switch of the Cloudfront script solved the issue or if it still persists. Just note, that the engineering team will only pro-actively look at issues again from Tuesday, but we can troubleshoot some parts till then.

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RISadler    10
RISadler

Hallo, MacMuffin. In all frankness, the solution provided by MaxiTrading works, with the added benefit that it "protects" my privacy. As I am not a salaried member of BoB's web development slash engineering team, why should I do or bother with any further troubleshooting?

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