Jens Oliver Meiert

Evangelists, Focus on Standard Ad Code

Post from January 7, 2007 (↻ June 12, 2021), filed under .

This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved ebook: On Web Development.

Here’s ad code of a kind I see way too often:

<SCRIPT language='JavaScript1.1' SRC=";abr=!ie;sz=728x90;ord=[timestamp]?">
<A HREF=";abr=!ie4;abr=!ie5;sz=728x90;ord=[timestamp]?">
<IMG SRC=";abr=!ie4;abr=!ie5;sz=728x90;ord=[timestamp]?" BORDER=0 WIDTH=728 HEIGHT=90 ALT="Click Here"></A>

It’s the code, uncensored except for “SNIP,” we used to receive from ad partners. To ensure quality, we had (and my former colleagues probably still have) to rework every ad that came to us. It made all our attempts harder to output valid code.

This ad code mess needs to stop. While at GMX we tried to talk to ad companies to use standards-compliant code, nobody seems to talk about this important aspect in public. Monetized websites take it easy and use the code they receive from advertising partners, like DoubleClick or Falk. That code sucks. It’s one of the brakes in the process of getting larger sites to use higher quality code, and join the web standards cause.

I don’t want to mention Google here. Although sophisticated in certain applications, their frontend code is bad much of the time. Hopefully, Ian and Co. bring change; my suggestions to get Google’s AdSense code fixed didn’t go anywhere.

I urge us members of Web Standard Project, Webkrauts, and other standards-oriented organizations to focus on ad providers in our work, too. Let’s start by lobbying the Interactive Advertising Bureau?

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on April 29, 2020.

I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

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Comments (Closed)

  1. On January 10, 2007, 17:29 CET, Robert Wellock said:

    It will be a tall order to say the least getting any of those companies to even consider creating something remotely clean. There are very few advertisement inclusion companies that seem to have anything even remotely resembling non-proprietary HTML.

    It doesn’t score well on the accessibility side either anyway good luck with trying to “convert” them.

  2. On January 14, 2007, 16:52 CET, David Storey said:

    We have a problem in Opera, where flash ads served by doubleclick are sometimes displayed twice when plug-ins are not available (such as devices and phones) or switched off. I’m in the process of getting a DoubleClick contact, so I’ll bring this issue up with them as well. I can’t promise anything, but well try to get them to use more valid code.

    David Storey
    Chief Web Opener, Opera Software

  3. On January 14, 2007, 20:32 CET, Jens Oliver Meiert said:

    Robert, hope dies last!

    David, that’s great news!

    I might need a hand but I’ll try to get Falk and Co. aboard.

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