Bad, vile and meaningless: Dumbtext.com from Alan's clob

The fight against intellitxt

For some reason, plenty of ordinarily decent hardware sites have gone all ad crazy. The enabler in this case is AJAX, the whole new promise for scammers and ad-monkeys of all kinds to extract detailed data about what users are doing on their sites. It's no longer just about how many times did you read a page, it's also possible to know how long you spend on the page, what links or words did your mouse pass over, and make a good guess whether you read the article completely based on information about what elements on the page received mouseover events.

Take Tom's hardware for instance. This site is intolerable without a recent squid+adzapper combination. It gets rid of the flash at top, the intrusive ads that populate articles, and all sorts of flashing thingys in the side panes. For a long time, everything was good: an adzapper filtered page is completely still with no flashing, moving, or irritating bits to be seen. The web, in short, is readable again.

The newest menace on the horizon is intellitxt, a piece of Javascript that is sourced by the site with some bit of CSS styling and it applies keywords to phrases it finds. The words turn green with a double underlining and if your mouse happens to even remotely pass over such a keyword, it'll flash open a small text box—an ad. There's several reasons why this is irrelevant to me:

I think these three above constitute a good reason to totally get rid of intellitxt. In the meantime, I fume at Virbantmedia and would like them to all die painful deaths for coming up with this wretched ad system that spams my web.

Until adzapper incorporates the changes to block intellitxt/vibrantmedia for good, we will be stuck with this offence. Here's the workarounds:

Alternative one: Greasemonkey and dumbtxt.js

Greasemonkey is a feature in Firefox to run user-specified scripts on sites matched by URLs. Someone wrote a piece of script that eliminates intellitxt ads by breaking some assumptions in the JS code so that it no longer works. This works but since there are largish number of sites that use intellitxt, you need to keep adding websites (or run it globally, but that's not necessarily a good idea). If you have a LAN, you need to do the same steps on all the computers.

Alternative two: map all intellitxt hosts to 127.0.0.1

This is harder because there's so many of them. I have counted something like 10 names that require mapping to 127.0.0.1. The names I've currently mapped are:

127.0.0.1       itxt.vibrantmedia.com
127.0.0.1       itxt2.vibrantmedia.com
127.0.0.1       itxt3.vibrantmedia.com
127.0.0.1       intellitxt.com
127.0.0.1       toms.us.intellitxt.com
127.0.0.1       us.intellitxt.com
127.0.0.1       uk.intellitxt.com

These are in my name server and do get rid of the whole thing for the whole LAN.

Alternative three: do not allow outbound connections to certain networks

Block at least 63.211.210.1/24, 81.19.48.1/24. To be fair, /24 is probably a bit harsh but it's probably just legitimate scammers you will be blocking anyway. If you are operating a router, consider blocking vibrantmedia and intellitxt.