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Seven Responsible Adults Can't Figure This One Out
Now you see it; now you don't

 7:09 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

We have a large web site done in ASP. Our web hosting clients get a free listing in our "business listings" section. It's a page with a sequence of text listings like this:

Joe's Widget World
123 South Main St.
Anytown, NY
Phone: 555-555-5555

It works well for everybody in the universe-- no complaints. Except, it seems, for a handful of people. They can see the address lines but not the line containing the business names. Even when there are 10 listings on a given page the same problem exists for each listing. Can't see the business name.

There's no common denominator that we can find. Not the browser version. Nothing. We can't replicate the problem on any of our computers.

As you might imagine, it's developing into a customer relations problem as they believe that we're treating them like people who have seen UFOs. Of course it's only that we can't solve it and don't know where to turn.

The code is:

<b><a href="ad.asp?id=#*$!">Joe's Widget World</a></b><br>123 South Main St<br>Anytown, NY<b><br>Phone: 555-555-5555</b>

(NOTE: the id=#*$! part of the code is not the real code. When I tried several times to post the code containing id=834 that's what came out.

Has anybody ever experienced the same thing?



 7:25 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

The only time I've experienced this is when there's a quote or closing tag error preceding the actual problem area. The browser captures the entire block as an attribute it doesn't recognize.

For example,

<a href="index.html>Home page</a>

<a href="about.html">About us</a>


<a href="index.html">Home page

<a href="about.html">About us</a>

I've seen the stuff between the bolds disappear.

Try looking somewhere else on the page, and check that the code validates. The easiest way I've found to do that with dynamic output is view the source, save as html, run that through the validator.


 7:36 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Try validating the code in a html validator - that may very well catch it


 7:42 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Using a validator is a very good idea, but you should also check how you are generating the data, for example are you submitting a form or something similar? What happens if, say, you disable referrer logging? Oh, and it's a long shot, but are all the affected clients using the Norton Internet Security suite? (that program can be the cause of some strange problems).


 7:43 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the quick replies--- we'll use your tips straight away.


 8:23 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just to add: if you can, get them to view source in their browser and save the result as a text file and then send it to you - it might give you a clue as to what is happening.


 12:09 am on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think I know the answer to your problem because I went through a similar thing. Norton Anti-virus, or anti-spam, or one of them any way blocks all sorts of things to do with advertisments. Your ad.asp falls into that catagory. That is the reason why only the url of your business name does not work.

There is a posting somewhere on this site which show hundreds of words which falls pray to this problem.

The solution is to change ad.asp to something.asp

I chose fn.asp , can you guess what fn stood for?

I am sure this will help.


 12:12 am on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Found the url:



 1:31 pm on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Aberdeen, we're changing the code and testing. Thanks.

And as an aside, if you or I were to pull something like what Norton has done we would have been sued into oblivion and lost our house, our dogs, our chickens...


 1:42 pm on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, we just had a client who experiences the missing link problem e-mail us with the fact that, she can see the links on a second computer that has the same browser versiion but has no Norton on it.

Thank you Norton, arbiters of How The Web Ought To Be.


 1:44 pm on Aug 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> I chose fn.asp , can you guess what fn stood for?

That's hilarious! :)

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