Frames in the Picture

March 2, 2009

Frames and iframes are nifty. Over the years, their use has aroused some controversy. At one time, Google took a dim view of iframes. I have had reports that Google itself uses iframes. Other vendors have employed the technology to allow users to visit sites that are not what they seem. You navigate to another site and then discover that you are not where you want to be. Over the years, I have stumbled across patent documents that include variations of the iframe technology. Some uses are for the purpose of tracking user behavior. Others allow a Web site operator to inject content around the user’s intended destination. I lose interest in this type of cleverness, having lost my enthusiasm for tilting at windmills. There are quite a few clever and tricky folks who find ways to warp a naïf’s Internet experience., a news service that I like quite a bit, reported on some frame use at, the also-participated Web search vendor. for me is a good example of what happens when someone who is good at one thing tries to extend that expertise to another domain unrelated to the first. The outcome of this type of master-of-the-universe thinking is a service like It’s not bad; it’s not good. It’s one thing today; it will be another thing tomorrow. I recall a dinner two years ago when an azure chip consultant told me that was on the move. I thought, “This fellow is getting paid to advise publishers about online partners?” Now is the search engine of NASCAR. I wonder if any of the executive team hangs out with Kentucky’s NASCAR fans? I have. I am not sure this demographic is where the action is for search.

Search Engine Roundtable followed up with its February 27, 2009, story, “ Crosses The Line: Frames Search Results.” This is a useful write up, and it includes a screenshot. For me, the most interesting comment was:

Searchers are not happy about this at WebmasterWorld. Robzilla said, “this annoys me as both a user and a webmaster, and overall just seems a little desperate.” Senior member, skipfactor, accurately points out that the search ads are not framed in.

What’s my take? Behavior that tricks users or actions that are designed to pump up revenue are part of the present culture norms. When it is a banker paying himself / herself a bonus for losing money or an insurance company refusing to honor a claim, I see behavior that makes me uncomfortable in many places. Why should anyone be surprised that online companies caught in a cash crunch would push into such murky areas. As more people use the Internet, there are more opportunities to snooker users.

The Internet is no longer something new, accessible only to scientists, engineers, and researchers. The Internet is like the Kentucky State Fair. As long as you can get on the grounds, you’re good to go. Last time I checked, the Kentucky State Fair was a mirror of the best and worst in the bluegrass state. I think it is useful to alert users of certain methods, but I don’t think most users know or care about Those who do may be quite happy with whatever provides.

Stephen Arnold, March 2, 2009


3 Responses to “ Frames in the Picture”

  1. Live Search Changes Round Up : Beyond Search on March 2nd, 2009 8:17 am

    […] at and Microsoft’s Live Search. I commented about the frames initiative here. You can find a useful round up of what is new and what seems to be in the pipeline for Live […]

  2. g.s.bedi on April 26th, 2009 11:01 am

    employees are not working without any monetary benefit. how i can work with shortage of staff without giving any monetary benefits

  3. Stephen E. Arnold on April 28th, 2009 10:13 pm

    g.s. bedi,

    help me out. I don’t know what you mean.

    Stephen Arnold, April 28, 2009

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