Edinburgh Web Development

Web design Norton ad-blocking gotcha

by Iain Wilson

30 August 2006

Here's a little ad-blocking problem from Norton that we came across recently which should be a concern to web designers everywhere and web users in general.

Symantec's Norton Internet Security (NIS) product is a fine product with lots of great features. We believe there is one though, that goes a little too far.

Their Ad-blocking facility is meant to filter out annoying and irrelevant adverts when you are browsing a site. Fair enough, there seems to be more and more of these ads around and for the most part, they just get in the way.

However, part of the mechanism NIS uses to filter out these adverts is extremely clumsy. If your web design has mark-up for an image that specifically has width and height attributes of 250px x 250px, the ad-blocker filters it out. For example, if you code: <img src="./yourimage.jpg" width="250" height="250" alt=""/> you will find that NIS will rip out the image (and possibly completely screw up your web design).

What to do? Well, to fix the problem all you have to do is change the width/height attributes to something other than 250 x 250, for example 249 x 249, or simply remove them entirely.

So it's not hard to fix, but that's really not the point. The issue is that Symantec seem to have taken a unilateral decision that any image of those dimensions (and maybe others) is ad spam, which of course is complete overkill and a downright liberty to web sites everywhere!

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