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Krimpet
It looks like Wikia has now stooped to using unscrupulous advertisers that trap the user with JavaScript alerts and display faux dialog boxes to mislead the user into thinking they're "infected." Make the mistake of clicking a link to Wikia and you may be welcomed with this dialog box:

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Regardless of what you click, you'll be whisked away (in the same browser tab) to this fake "system scan":

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Attempting to click Back (to the Wikia page you were trying to view) will just cough up another JavaScript dialog; it seems Wikia is more interested in driving you to their advertisers than serving their actual user-generated content.

(Perhaps unsurprisingly, since the early pioneers of this scare-ware advertising, Bonzi.com, have enjoyed special protection from Jimmy Wales.)

Essentially, this means every link to Wikia on Wikipedia is a potential infection vector for this questionable software. (Anyone moderately savvy with computers shouldn't be fooled, of course... but would the mythical "child in Africa" be expected to tell the difference between an ad and a real OS dialog?)

If Wikipedia has any scruples, it should cease linking anywhere to Wikia-owned sites.
sbrown
QUOTE(Krimpet @ Sat 25th July 2009, 4:38pm) *

If Wikipedia has any scruples, it should cease linking anywhere to Wikia-owned sites.

Thats the wrong phrasing. If hypothetically wikipeida had any scruples, it would cease linking anywhere to Wikia-owned sites.
Somey
I've seen sidebar ads on Wikia that cover the whole left side of the client area too, FWIW. So you can't click on the navigation stuff on the left side, or even see it, making the Wiki interface rather useless. It's not anywhere near as bad as antimalwarescannerspam, of course, but still annoying!

Most sites of Wikia's class have their ads fed to them by separate hosting services - I saw at least three different sources just now, by watching the status bar as a page was loading. Supposedly most of them use tracking cookies to decide which ads you see... Anyway, if they're allowing this sort of thing, it suggests that they're getting a little desperate for revenue.

They've managed to keep most of the ads off of Uncyclopedia, at least for now... No idea how long that's going to last, though.
Kelly Martin
It would be interesting to see if Jimbo has demonstrable ties to Bonzi. It wouldn't surprise me, that's the sort of business that he was in back in his old "scam the venture capitalist" days.
EricBarbour
It seems to be that this is either the beginning of one of Jimbo's worst scandals yet,
or even the demise of Wikia. Because if the malware blacklists decide that Wikia
sites are malware sources, they are finished.

(As an aside, here's a bold idea: you could always try to talk Google into adding Wikia
domains to their blacklist. And enjoy a good, stiff irony overload.)
anthony
QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Sat 25th July 2009, 7:52pm) *

It seems to be that this is either the beginning of one of Jimbo's worst scandals yet,
or even the demise of Wikia. Because if the malware blacklists decide that Wikia
sites are malware sources, they are finished.


Is it possible they're already in trouble and this is a hail mary pass? I have no idea what the demographics of Wikia visitors looks like, but if I had to guess based on the content, I'd guess not very good from an advertising standpoint.
Kelly Martin
QUOTE(anthony @ Sat 25th July 2009, 8:28pm) *
Is it possible they're already in trouble and this is a hail mary pass? I have no idea what the demographics of Wikia visitors looks like, but if I had to guess based on the content, I'd guess not very good from an advertising standpoint.
Almost certainly. Internet advertising has been in serious decline over the past twelve months anyway, and I can't imagine that Wikia is that much of a good market. They have a few decent properties (e.g. Wookiepedia, Memory Alpha) but most of their content is any more monetizable than your average Blogspot blog, and they don't have Google's synergies to exploit.
Krimpet
QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Sat 25th July 2009, 10:02pm) *

Almost certainly. Internet advertising has been in serious decline over the past twelve months anyway, and I can't imagine that Wikia is that much of a good market. They have a few decent properties (e.g. Wookiepedia, Memory Alpha) but most of their content is any more monetizable than your average Blogspot blog, and they don't have Google's synergies to exploit.

If I recall correctly, didn't Wikia originally require an application process for new wikis on their site to provide some semblance of quality control, but several months ago they threw that out and started letting anyone create anything they wanted? That seems like a big turning point - it's basically turned them into just another free web host. (Presumably as their quality control was already awful, given the huge number of empty and/or redundant wikis they already had, they decided to just throw it out and hope opening their doors to any content would bring in a few extra dollars.)

Now if you'll excuse me, my private data is under attack. ermm.gif
Kelly Martin
QUOTE(Krimpet @ Sat 25th July 2009, 10:11pm) *
If I recall correctly, didn't Wikia originally require an application process for new wikis on their site to provide some semblance of quality control, but several months ago they threw that out and started letting anyone create anything they wanted? That seems like a big turning point - it's basically turned them into just another free web host. (Presumably as their quality control was already awful, given the huge number of empty and/or redundant wikis they already had, they decided to just throw it out and hope opening their doors to any content would bring in a few extra dollars.)
That would also coincide nicely with their layoffs last October. So that would indeed make a lot of sense.

thekohser
Krimpet, there is a formal way to suggest that a domain has become too aggressive with adware, in which it becomes suitable for discussion regarding placement on the spam blacklist.

I hope others will weigh in, in favor of a blacklist inclusion.

Let's end this hypocritical nightmare that Jimbo has imposed on us.
dtobias
Discussion of the blacklist proposal on-wiki seems to be focusing on how "The report you link to is from Wikipedia Review, where things are misreported or blown out of proportion on a regular basis" and "I would need some amazing, thunderingly overwhelming evidence that claims made on WR with respect to wikia are true before lending them any credence."

Prejudices about WR aside, is the original reporter of this issue certain they don't have some sort of malware on their system that's causing these deceptive popups to come up, rather than their being actually embedded in the Wikia site?
Jon Awbrey
QUOTE(dtobias @ Mon 27th July 2009, 7:41am) *

Discussion of the blacklist proposal on-wiki


… is of course a Total Waste Of Time (WP:TWOT).

Ja Ja boing.gif
thekohser
Krimpet's veracity is being questioned in a couple of places now.

Is Will Beback really that retarded?
Nerd
I think this report is fairly unclear. Which Wikia site was it? You didn't mention that. And you're using... Internet Explorer. Frankly, I have no sympathy for you.

That being said, I do agree that the reaction to this is rather silly. "Oh noes, it was reported on Wikipedia Review, they MUST be making it all up to push their ev1l agendas!" WR certainly needs removing from the interwiki map on Meta, though I feel blacklisting is a little too much, unless there is more evidence the whole site is a problem. There are certainly few cases Wikia needs to be linked from Wikipedia.
SirFozzie
Or.. the third party ad provider they're using could be serving the ads.

For the WR folks here, remember when the board got hacked and it was trying to infect others? It happens dude. Now if the ad was still there, or it continues to pop up, I'd suggest WIkia look at a less trouble-prone third party server of ads.
Krimpet
QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 27th July 2009, 8:25am) *

Krimpet's veracity is being questioned in a couple of places now.

Eh, I'm not surprised at the reaction, nor concerned. I could have fished the password to my Wikipedia account out of the reset tool and posted a more formal complaint on-wiki, but I don't want to get sucked into the beast again, so I figured I'd just point it out here.

QUOTE(Nerd @ Mon 27th July 2009, 12:34pm) *

I think this report is fairly unclear. Which Wikia site was it? You didn't mention that. And you're using... Internet Explorer. Frankly, I have no sympathy for you.

Here's the exact page that ad popped up on. (I was watching Futurama, and was curious what other episodes "Flexo" was in, so I did a Google search, and it was one of the first results.)

Oh, and this is why I use Internet Explorer. tongue.gif IE 8 is a nice browser; modern Firefox is a bloated piece of lard by comparison.
Nerd
QUOTE(Krimpet @ Tue 28th July 2009, 3:39am) *

Oh, and this is why I use Internet Explorer. tongue.gif IE 8 is a nice browser; modern Firefox is a bloated piece of lard by comparison.


Eh, I never said Firefox is better!
Krimpet
Also, it looks like Wikia users themselves have been reporting the same thing since the 23rd, confirming it's still happening as recently as today (the 27th).
Cla68
QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 27th July 2009, 12:25pm) *

Krimpet's veracity is being questioned in a couple of places now.

Is Will Beback really that retarded?


I think several of the names in those discussion threads don't normally patrol the spam blacklist page. So, it's funny that they're so quick to dis WR when it appears that it was WR that led them to the discussion in the first place.
EricBarbour
QUOTE(Cla68 @ Mon 27th July 2009, 9:40pm) *
QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 27th July 2009, 12:25pm) *
Is Will Beback really that retarded?
I think several of the names in those discussion threads don't normally patrol the spam blacklist page. So, it's funny that they're so quick to dis WR when it appears that it was WR that led them to the discussion in the first place.

Yes, he evidently is that retarded. And Protonk is evidently a toad.

And these fools are highly-ranked administrators on Wikipedia.

What they are demonstrating is essentially massive buck-passing incompetence.
If that were a corporate server infected with malware, and those two
worked for me as the responsible sysops, I'd fire them immediately. Of course.

Nerd, does that qualify as a Wiki-Problem or not?
They have a malware infection on a Wikia server shoved right in their faces,
and they're mumbling "well, this came from Wikipedia Review, so I can't take
it seriously". IN PUBLIC.

I know they're not responsible for that server. But it's still insulting and disturbing.
Achromatic
QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Mon 27th July 2009, 9:57pm) *

I know they're not responsible for that server. But it's still insulting and disturbing.


That's another popular line. Betacommand seems to believe that "it's not wikia's fault",ergo it's not a problem. He also makes the (in my mind absurd) claim that administrators, in legions and volumes rarely seen before, are on a rampage installing malware on their web servers... Not getting a virus, mind you, but installing software that masquerades as "MS Antivirus". I call BS. That kind of claim is right up there with JoshZ's "conspiracy to destroy my wiki reputation by stalking me with the power of premonition".

Although credentials are like assholes... me? I used to be a program manager at Microsoft, managing a really small website with a paltry 13,000 page views a second on the homepage alone. I think it was called nsm.com or something... But it meant I had plenty of experience dealing with ad server administrators and techs, and say what you like about ads online... it takes a lot of knowledge and workmanship to be able to build a server farm that can keep up with that kind of traffic, for that site alone...

Speaking of JoshZ, he says that it's not a problem, "because wikia knows about it and is trying to fix it" (so apparently it's not an issue, after all, wikia's desire to resolve the situation will protect people's PCs, right?)
Grep
QUOTE(Achromatic @ Tue 28th July 2009, 7:37am) *

Speaking of JoshZ, he says that it's not a problem, "because wikia knows about it and is trying to fix it" (so apparently it's not an issue, after all, wikia's desire to resolve the situation will protect people's PCs, right?


Ah yes, super-secret technical measures which we mustn't be told about because then the Bad Guys would find out. Have we heard that before somewhere?
Nerd
QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Tue 28th July 2009, 5:57am) *

QUOTE(Cla68 @ Mon 27th July 2009, 9:40pm) *
QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 27th July 2009, 12:25pm) *
Is Will Beback really that retarded?
I think several of the names in those discussion threads don't normally patrol the spam blacklist page. So, it's funny that they're so quick to dis WR when it appears that it was WR that led them to the discussion in the first place.

Yes, he evidently is that retarded. And Protonk is evidently a toad.

And these fools are highly-ranked administrators on Wikipedia.

What they are demonstrating is essentially massive buck-passing incompetence.
If that were a corporate server infected with malware, and those two
worked for me as the responsible sysops, I'd fire them immediately. Of course.

Nerd, does that qualify as a Wiki-Problem or not?
They have a malware infection on a Wikia server shoved right in their faces,
and they're mumbling "well, this came from Wikipedia Review, so I can't take
it seriously". IN PUBLIC.

I know they're not responsible for that server. But it's still insulting and disturbing.


Sorry, what? It certainly is a problem, yes. Why are you addressing me?
Gandoman
On the spam blacklist talk page, JoshuaZ is arguing that nothing should be done because this is not done deliberately by Wikia. Yeah, that'll be a great consolation for those users who get their computers infected. "Too bad, your computer got infected with malware, but at least Wikia didn't do it deliberately, so it's no big deal, eh?"

It's amazing how a serious issue is being completely pooh-poohed only because the person who found out has ties to a BADSITE. Also, I suspect that the fact that Jimbo runs Wikia has something to do with it. We wouldn't want to cross the God-King by criticising his advertising practises, right?

Just shows that Wikipedia is all about politics and where you are in the hierarchy.
Lifebaka
QUOTE(Gandoman @ Tue 28th July 2009, 3:30pm) *

On the spam blacklist talk page, JoshuaZ is arguing that nothing should be done because this is not done deliberately by Wikia. Yeah, that'll be a great consolation for those users who get their computers infected. "Too bad, your computer got infected with malware, but at least Wikia didn't do it deliberately, so it's no big deal, eh?"

It's amazing how a serious issue is being completely pooh-poohed only because the person who found out has ties to a BADSITE. Also, I suspect that the fact that Jimbo runs Wikia has something to do with it. We wouldn't want to cross the God-King by criticising his advertising practises, right?

Just shows that Wikipedia is all about politics and where you are in the hierarchy.

There's also no small subsection of the community that doesn't care. Never forget about the part that doesn't care.
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