Tuesday, March 07, 2006

MSN adCenter: Customers With Firefox Might Not Get Tracked

Search Engine Watch reported It annoyed me a few weeks ago when I signed up for the MSN adCenter pilot that Firefox wasn't supported. That was still the case with the open adCenter sign-up today and annoyed one of my readers Paul Holstein, as well. Firefox users also get treated to a warning that Firefox is "unable to verify the identity of adcenter.msn.com as a trusted site"

Who really "trusts" anything Microsoft does?
if they try to enter adCenter. Paul came across a similar but more serious warning that could alienate Firefox users, one that may appear if advertisers make use of adCenter's conversion tracking script on their own pages.

Here's what Paul emailed me:
Did you know that MSN ad center is not Firefox compliant? This should come as no surprise but the kicker is that the conversion tracking is not compliant either. Therefore, any merchant using the conversion tracking script will run into problems with their Firefox customers.

When they purchase something, they will be told that the merchant is pretending to be r.microsoft.com. Needless to say, this will be a problem for at least 10% of a merchant's customers.

We called MSN and spoke to them. Their official solution is that we should switch all our customer service reps to IE6 and alert our customers that they should only use IE6 to purchase from us.
Why on earth should someone revert back to an outdated browser that does not have many of the features that have caused so many customers to abandon it and go to Firefox instead. I believe the proper solution is the vendor should dump MSN adCenter.
Hmm, that doesn't sound like a practical solution to me.
It is not, but it is typical Microsoft. Back when they were threatened by people switching to Netscape they made the FrontPage publishing software screw up websites if they were viewed from Netscape, but work fine with IE, hoping web site owners would encourage people to only use IE when visiting their site. In my opinion the solution was to dump Front Page, and find a web publishing program that worked regardless of what browser the viewer wanted to use.

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