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Old 10-02-1999, 02:13 PM   #1
Max
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Exclamation Many Banner and Affiliate networks can't handle users using Transparent Proxies.

This post is very important to all banner and affiliate network representatives that lurk around this board.

I do not want to name any companies this affects.

I have sent e-mails about this problem to those companies about this problem when I have encountered it and they have responded to the issue that they are investigating it.


Transparent Proxy servers are as the name says, transparent. This means that when your ISP is using such relatively new technology, you can not "disable" it in any way. This is not the kind of proxy server e.g. AOL use, where you specify proxy address and port number. In this case you don't specify any proxy server. They do make web surfing speed faster but have some big disadvantages. Since everyones data-traffic goes thru these new proxy servers their normal dynamic IP gets transformed to that of the transparent proxy. This means that everyone using that ISP will surf the web with the same IP. And cookies are even
cached by the proxy and stored for a certain amount of time. This is where the trouble really begins.

Let's say person A logs in to an advertisers account. A cookie is sent via the proxy to the persons computer. Now the cookie is in A's computer and stored at the proxy server. Maybe a minute to hour later person B using the same ISP logs in using his/her own username & password. This again goes thru the proxy, BUT a cookie is cached at the proxy server and the advertisers server thinks it is the same person that logged in x minutes or hours ago. Person B suddenly finds himself/herself in person A's account and sees those pages person A just has visited. If person A has not been to e.g. his/her personal details page, this has not
been chached, then the person B will see person B's personal details. BUT if a person C logs in a bit later and goes to the personal details page, person C will
see B's data, = NOT GOOD.

Well this is happening to me. When I log in to X company to check my stats, with MY username and MY password, I get into anothers persons account. And that person is ALWAYS using the same ISP as me. This has resulted that when this happens I stop logging in using my ISP and instead log in at work, where no caching proxy server of any kind is in use. This way I can actually see MY stats and not expose my personal details to a fellow surfer from my ISP.

And this is not with some "Cyberthrill" rated companies. I have encountered this with companies that are 100% legit and that are rated $$$ or more at clickquick.com.

A whole new thread could be started with the topic Transparent Proxies and Unique visitors/clicks.
And yes that IP at the bottom of this message is not my personal dynamic IP but the IP of the proxy server. (sigh)

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Old 10-02-1999, 11:31 PM   #2
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interesting, to touch on your point about the lack of unique ip addresses. i've experienced this, but not for the same reason you're talking about.

i run a local web site about birmingham, alabama and you can only imagine how non unique my click thrus are.

i mean, most of the visitors to my site are from the area and there's only so many ip addresses to go around in this small city.

good luck http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/wink.gif



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Old 10-03-1999, 01:36 AM   #3
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Hi Max,

Interesting post. Which ISPs use Transparent Proxies? A list of names would be helpfull along with some pointers for white papers which detail this technology?

Thanks in advance.



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Old 10-03-1999, 10:26 AM   #4
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My ISP uses Squid 2.2 as proxy software. It's one of the most used since it can be used as non-transparent and transparent. www.squid-cache.org is their homepage. They have there some very technical (hard to understand http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/wink.gif)documentation. (Transparent Caching/Proxying FAQ )Some documentation in proper english can be found at www.cacheflow.com .

The point of which ISP's worldwide use transparent proxies is a very hard question. When an ISP says that there is no need to specify any proxy servers in IE or Netscape preferences it can mean the ISP does not use any proxy servers at all or that they use as they might call them "automatic" "invisible" or "transparent" proxies.

And to fairhousing's point about IP's.
I'm really getting worried about lack of unique IP's. I live in Finland (Northern Europe). We have here 3 big ISP's. (Has est. 75% of the market) Two of them are already using this technology. In both cases all the unique IP's are filtered out. The largest ISP will start use this same stuff any week now.

This how all visitors from the two ISP with transparent proxies look like:
cache.kolumbus.fi
sitruuna-out.kakku.saunalahti.fi

The scary in this is that it does not matter how many visitors I have from these ISP's. If e.g. 20 visitors a day from one of these ISP's clicks on a banner it is is only counted as one click, meaning huge loss in earnings. I can already see my CTR fall http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/frown.gif
Maybe more use of CPM banners might be the solution?
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Old 10-03-1999, 10:31 AM   #5
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I have seen the stats problem when I log into the stats page from home from one very well known PPC network.

This is using freeserve (Uk's biggest ISP - about 1 or 2 million users).

I **think** freeserve uses NetCache as occassionally you see their error messages. There is definitely some uniqueness as it seems there are multiple IPs - but perhaps not total uniqueness

I'm not sure if CPM necessarily helps as it depends on if how the CPM sponsor counts impressions. I'm sure some will count the same banner to the same IP, as 1 impression.

To be honest I don't really know about this stuff as I am mostly a PPS/PPL guy

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Old 10-03-1999, 12:28 PM   #6
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Is it fair to say that this issue seems to be with European ISPs? If so, why this geographic concentration?

Domestic traffic does generally not go thru any proxy. Since many ISP's have built their own domestic backbone. But ISP's have to pay for traffic abroad. And because competition is fierce they want to maximise speed and save expenses on foreign traffic. That's why they are starting to use such proxy/cache technology.
This is especially important to these free ISP's that pop up all the time here in Europe using very agressive marketing.
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Old 10-03-1999, 11:47 PM   #7
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Much thanks for the info. I'm going to archive this thread for future reference.

I'm not really a network geek so please bare with me. Is it fair to say that this issue seems to be with European ISPs? If so, why this geographic concentration?

I'm not trying to minamize the issue which also appears to have some "security issues" as well.

Let me also see if I can round up some experts who can help us understand the issue even better http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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Old 10-04-1999, 11:49 PM   #8
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This question can really be a hard core techno geek question.

From a caching perspective, this quote from the cache flow web site really sums it up: "As Web servers quickly multiply and browser access to internal and external information becomes the norm, Enterprises must prepare their networks to deliver fast response times for an exponential number of user requests."

In an effort to speed up a users web surfing caching is used.

Another reason that many networks use proxying is for security reasons. The following URL is for the proxy server product I am familar with and if you are so inclined, you may learn a bit more by reading it: http://www.novell.com/bordermanager/whatisbmgr.html

Another issue that may be involved is the ISP trying to conserve connections? In the past I've mentioned new technology in the works that would address IP issues. Rather than to try to explain in 30 words or less, let me suggest those so inclined to educate themselves in what's coming to start at the very geeky 3com site with amd explanation of IPv6:

http://www.3com.com/nsc/ipv6.html

I hope to digest and simplify some of these issues in an upcoming edition of the geek talk chronicles.

HTH

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