Wednesday, January 02, 2013

What is a pixel tag or web bug?

LEVEL 2 What's this?


SUBJECT: Pixel Tag / Web Bug 

from Wikepedia - [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_bug]
A web bug is an object that is embedded in a web page or email and is usually invisible to the user but allows checking that a user has viewed the page or email. Common uses are email tracking and page tagging for Web analytics. Alternative names are web beacon, tracking bug, tag, or page tag. Common names for web bugs implemented through an embedded image include tracking pixel, pixel tag, 1×1 gif, and clear gif. When implemented using Javascript, they may be called Javascript tags.
and used in email...
...example, an email sent to the address somebody@example.org can contain the embedded image of URL http://example.com/bug.gif?somebody@example.org. Whenever the user reads the email, the image at this URL is requested. The part of the URL after the question mark is ignored by the server for the purpose of determining which file to send, but the complete URL is stored in the server's log file. As a result, the file bug.gif is sent and shown in the email reader; at the same time, the server stores the fact that the particular email sent to somebody@example.org has been read. Using this system, a spammer or email marketer can send similar emails to a large number of addresses to check which ones are valid and read by the users.
The reason (above) some experts recommend users do not click images on websites or in email.

#
Read an (ABC News 20/20) article by columnist HEMANSHU (HEMU) NIGAM  on pixel tags: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/We_Find_Them/pixel-tags-threaten-online-privacy-security/story?id=14809833
from article -
Pixel tags work, more or less, as sidekicks for cookies. Cookies are tiny pieces of information that websites store on a computer to enable a faster and more-tailored Internet experience for that computer. Pixel tags -- or, web beacons, as they are also known -- attach to a browser and collect information about an anonymous user's movements on the Internet.
Label: Definition


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