Hootsuite: Framing is Dead, Long Live Framing!

by Ben Cook on April 27, 2010

Hootsuite: Framing is Dead, Long Live Framing

Opponents of framing (or framejacking as I prefer to call it) have had a good couple of weeks.

First Digg announced that Kevin Rose was taking over and his first order of business was to kill off the Diggbar.

This morning, I received an email letting me know that Hootsuite was putting an end to the framing ways of their URL shortener ow.ly!

Those are two huge blows against the despicable practice of framejacking other people’s content with your own crap. There’s just one problem…

In the same email Hootsuite announced that they’re creating a NEW framejacking URL shortener called Ht.ly to replace Ow.ly’s functionality.

Hootsuite's pants are on fireSo yes, I am happy that Ow.ly will no longer be trying to frame content. Yes, I’m happy that my friends on social sites who for some reason don’t mind that Hootsuite’s pants are burning, can use their favorite service and I will once again be able to click their links, guilt and annoyance free.

But I’m not going to give Hootsuite a big hug for creating another frame jacking toolbar. They know it’s wrong, they’ve promised in the past to stop the practice, and yet they just can’t seem to bring themselves to do the right thing.

And since I seem to get this argument every time I talk about framing, yes this goes for Stumble Upon with their frame, Google Images for their frame, and anyone else that diminishes the value I get in exchange for my content.

Hootsuite users, please use the Ow.ly option as I won’t be clicking on any Ht.ly links. Or better yet, tell the lying framejacking piece of crap Hootsuite to piss off and use a straight URL shortener like Kl.am.

Image sources: Jeff the Trojan & busyPrinting

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael D April 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Got the email too and had the same thoughts. Offering options is at least a start.

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Ben Cook April 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Michael, that’s true it is a start. And now there’s no excuse for users to framejack. I used to get people telling me, “but I like Hootsuite” so now those people can use it without framing.

However, Hootsuite still allows & encourages framing and still never made good on the changes they promised ages ago. That tells me all I need to know about their company.

@Will I don’t know which will be the default (good question) but hopefully users will go with Ow.ly or, as I mentioned, better yet leave Hootsuite all together.

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Will Hanke April 27, 2010 at 12:15 pm

So they discontinued one and started another. Makes perfect sense. I’m assuming that ow.ly will be the default for most users now, or will they change it so ht.ly is the default with ow.ly as an option in the future? Sheesh.

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Kristi April 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm

First of all, I hate framejacking toolbars. Really, nothing irritates me more, especially when someone is using a framejacking toolbar sending me to a bookmarking/voting site. I usually change links when retweeting so that my tweet’s link goes straight to the article – before I went to bit.ly, though now I can just use ow.ly.

But to play devil’s advocate, I can see why some people like to share their articles using the ht.ly toolbar – maybe they think visitors will be encouraged to share the page using the toolbar’s social sharing options? That’s the only reason I can think of that people would choose to use ht.ly over ow.ly, and why HootSuite continues to have that option. It’s not a good reason – but it’s the only one I can think of.

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Ben Cook April 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

@Kristi if ht.ly only allowed users to frame their own sites, that would be perfectly fine. I wouldn’t do it, but I don’t care if other people want to.

The problem I have is that ht.ly and other framejacking “toolbars” allow users to frame MY content without any consent on my part. In fact, I have to use a framebusting script just to prevent that from happening.

That’s where the problem is and that’s why Hootsuite needs to kill off the idea of a framing toolbar rather than just kill one and create another. The internet has had this debate in the past and we pretty much always come to the conclusion that framing sucks and shouldn’t be done. Let’s hope Digg’s move raises enough eyebrows to bring other sites (StumbleUpon I’m looking at you here) to their senses.

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Kristi April 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I didn’t think of it that way, but you’re right. Can you share that script for those interested in making sure the same thing doesn’t happen to their sites with all of the toolbars out there?

cory huff April 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I was never a huge fan of frames, and I was glad Hootsuite made the change this morning.

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Dana Lookadoo April 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Oh, great…just when I thought I would start clicking and retweeting ow.ly links, now we have to beware of Ht.ly links.

I have found that I still cringe anytime I see ow.ly – hard to overcome the stigma against the data robbing frames.

Thanks for the heads, up, Ben!

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Ben Cook April 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm

@Dana, I was just thinking that today. Saw an ow.ly link, ignored it instinctively & then went “oh yeah, I can click those now… eh oh well”

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Ben Cook April 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm

@Kristi I just use the “frame buster” plugin for WordPress. (you can either search for it from your plugins dashboard or go here: http://www.semiologic.com/software/frame-buster/)

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Kristi April 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Cool… thanks!

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