Talk:Web bug

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References in article[edit]

The references in the main text of the article are not reproduced at the bottom. 19:50, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Regarding paragraph 1, sentence 5, which states that the web bug raises privacy concerns, someone has indicated that a citation is needed. I would suggest the following: [1] Prof. Mark (talk) 16:02, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

HTTP cookie[edit]

I have submitted the article HTTP cookie for peer review (I am posting this notice here as this article is related). Comments are welcome here: Wikipedia:Peer review/HTTP cookie/archive1. Thanks. - Liberatore(T) 16:56, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Why is the article titled Web Beacon rather than Web Bug?[edit]

I was wondering why the main article was headed as "Web Beacon" rather than the term "Web Bug"

I had never heard the term "Web Beacon" until today, when I refered someone to the article on Web Bugs.

A simple google count is misleading, as the results for "Web Beacon" give the majority of results leading to sites that would like them to be perceived in a positive manner - advertising networks, large software companies, EULAs and website privacy policy pages, while they are called Web Bugs by the news media, privacy sites, anti-spyware companies, computer technology sites and online security sites. Google shows resouces for "web bug removal" but none for "web beacon removal"

Can you cite your sources? I did a quick google search and it was this talk page that came up for "web bug removal". Google themselves also refer to this object as "image beacon" in their docs for Page Speed. Patorjk (talk) 14:42, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Web Beacon sounds like it was a term thought up by some large marketing department to make the web bugs sound more acceptable to the general public. I'd go for the term that is used by the general public, not the term that companies with a particular barrow to push want used.

I Agree! In my opinion, web beacon should be redirected to web bug, not the other way around.--Smarbin 04:41, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I also agree. --NealMcB 22:25, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Done. —Nightstallion (?) 07:54, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Well if everyone agrees, then make a change!

Exactly the opposite opinion here: I've heard the device called "web beacon" from the beginning, and only recently "web bug". Given the strong connotation that "bug" has, especially in IT-related contexts, as a programming mistake, i.e., a behavior of some piece of software that is contrary to its specification or intended use, "web beacon" is a)more accurate, since from the point of view of the author of the page the behavior of the beacon is *exactly* what is intended; and b)much more specific, since arguably any faulty software supporting any functionality delivered through the web can be validly called a "web bug". A "web beacon" is a "bug" only in the same sense that a virus would be a bug, i.e., only by a (rather unwise) extension of the proper meaning of "bug". But since common (professional) practice distinguishes between viruses, worms, and trojans and prefers those terms to "bug", this article should also prefer "web beacon" over "web bug". For example, the expressions "to debug a virus" or "to debug a worm" do not mean to eliminate the virus or worm from a system, but to make them work correctly according to the intention of the author of the virus or worm. In the same vein, "to debug a web beacon" (to describe, for instance, fixing a problem in a javascript used as a beacon) makes perfect sense, while "to debug a web bug" is self-contradictory on its surface and hopelessly confusing in its intention (do you want to fix the behavior of the thing or completely remove it from the page where it appears?). For these reasons, web bug should redirect to web beacon and NOT the other way around. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:21, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I had never heard of the term "web bug" until I saw this article. This use of the word "bug" is confusing in the context of the software world. I think it's also inconsistent with the commonly used term. A simple Google search shows 13x times more results for "web beacon" than it does for "web bug", I don't think that can be discounted. I don't think this article's name change was justified, and I think it conflicts with the current trend of usage for the term. Patorjk (talk) 14:42, 26 October 2011 (UTC)


Wordpress does this with their little smiley face on everyone that uses or the Wordpress system itself. (talk) 15:02, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Firefox 3 'Better Privacy' add-on[edit]

Can anyone advise whether this add-on is an effective anti-malware tool against web bugs? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:59, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

No that won't prevent webbugs. Webbugs do not rely on cookies and that Firefox addon just removes cookies. Webbugs can just be images on a foreign domain that track usage by IP, they don't need to use cookies (although that would be more granular and accurate than IP). (talk) 08:32, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Should this article's title be changed back to Web Beacon?[edit]

A simple Google search shows 367,000 results for "web bug" and 4,940,000 for "web beacon". I believe this article is not using the popular terminology for this term. One can argue that "web beacon" is more friendly and was probably created by big bad spyware companies, but so what? Shouldn't this article use what's commonly used? The discussion for changing the name to Web Bug happened back in 2006, I think over the last 5 years the "web beacon" term has won out, as I'd never heard of "web bug" until today, and thought it rather confusing since "bug" has other meanings in the web development world.

What is the argument for titling this article "web bug" rather than the more popular "web beacon"? Should we change it back to "Web Beacon"? If you want to argue certain industries use the term, please provide sources. One person listed Google as using web bug, but I see google using "image beacon" on the docs for their Page Speed addon. Patorjk (talk) 14:56, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

Agree it should be changed back. This is the first I've heard of "web bug." I'm also adding a new topic on how email beacons have seemingly been sanitized here.
-- (talk) 15:21, 10 April 2012 (UTC)Doug Bashford
Yes, change back to web beacon, as this is now the prevailing term far and away. The term web bug is antiquated and misleading, as it seems to mean a computer bug (i.e. an error). Senator2029talk 00:47, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

This article has been, and will be sanitized?[edit]

It looks like this article has been sanitized, particularly regarding email beacons. For example:

E-mail Web beacons
Web beacons embedded in e-mails have greater privacy implications than beacons embedded in Web pages. Typically, the URL of web beacons contained in e-mail messages carry a unique identifier. This identifier is chosen when the e-mail is sent and recorded together with the recepient e-mail address. The later download of the URL signals that the e-mail has been read. The sender of the e-mail is therefore also able to record the exact time that a message was read and the IP number of the computer used to read the mail or the proxy server that the user went through. In this way the sender can gather detailed information about when and from where each particular recipient reads e-mail. Additionally, every time the e-mail message is displayed another request goes to the sender's web site.

Web beacons are used by e-mail marketers, including spammers, to verify that.... End quote.

Others have noted here that vested interests could be downplaying the privacy threats. Even such powerful players as SBC freely admit they use them.

Does Yahoo! include web beacons in email? | Yahoo! Privacy Help

In order to determine if email messages are opened and acted upon, Yahoo! includes web beacons in HTML-formatted email messages (messages that include ...

Therefore vigilance is needed, even supposed experts can not be trusted. In certainty, simple economic principles dictate that their beacons be defanged and normalized within the online culture that they themselves help create. This is not acceptable.
-- (talk) 16:02, 10 April 2012 (UTC)Doug Bashford

  1. ^ AICPA Generally Accepted Privacy Principles [2009], p. 31, at