And many of them abuse noscript sections to put keyword-friendly links. Wouldn't be at all surprised if Google cracked down on that aspect, at least.
Now, you have an agreement with whichever service you use, so whether this link is part of that is up to them.
In terms of "threat level", I couldn't say anything specific as I haven't looked at any specific data about it. But I don't think stats services are high on the radar, and if anyone suffered as a result of this type of link, you'd hope that it would be the services themselves.
Interesting I am having this problem as well with my analytics. I have thought for a long time that they are making me link to their site in the code. I tried to take the part out that links to them and it seems to go back in on .php and .asp pages.
... and then only if they are eagle-eyed enough to notice a transparent gif measuring 1x1 pixel ;)
Took a quick detour to my own analytics program's equivalent. That one says simply
img src = "/trackername/trackername.php?idsite=1"
in the noscript section. But robots will see everything anyway; they're reading the code, not displaying the page.
And I would really, really like to think that g### recognizes the format of competing analytics programs' boilerplate and quietly ignores the whole package. (This may be a vain hope, considering how many well-known search engines have to be physically locked out of the analytics directory.)
|... and then only if they are eagle-eyed enough to notice a transparent gif measuring 1x1 pixel ;) |
At first I thought the bold portion of the link in front of the img src was a separate link. I see now that the closing </a> isn't until after the pixel. That was what concerned me. You're right, surely Google won't penalize a tracking pixel, but they do seem to be taking a step in that direction (blocking phrases, etc).
<div><a href="http://www.example.com"><img src="http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/connect.cgi?usr=(some details about the page) border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="stats"></a>
I emailed them, and the link that was being generated by the server has been removed, so all that remains is the tracking pixel in this format:
<div><img src="http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/connect.cgi?usr=(some details about the page) border="0" height="1" width="1" alt="stats"></a> </div>
I'm still not sure why the link appeared as it did other than to generate a link back. I feel like tracking pixels are ok, especially when noscripted, but the link format that I bolded in the last post may look suspicious.