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How to identify and block users who run Google Toolbar?
A question for the experts, obviously
zett




msg:3995591
 12:43 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

In this thread [webmasterworld.com] WW members discuss the aspects of Google's Sidewiki.

I understand that the newly introduced Sidewiki feature is only available to users of Google Toolbar. One member mentions that it would be good to just block users with running Google Toolbar. I agree to this, because I think that only a small fraction of users is using GTB anyway, so the traffic loss is probably minimal. Maybe we could display a "content on this site is only visible to users who do not run Google Toolbar" message.

Can something like this be done, and if so - how?

 

zett




msg:3995806
 6:07 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Found an answer, paraphrasing it here for all WW readers:

Site owners wanting to block Google Toolbar users can do so by adding a couple of lines to their .htaccess file (see below). The "nogtb.php" points to a file with further explanations why the content can not be seen.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} GoogleToolbar [NC]
RewriteRule .* nogtb.php [L]

Hope this helps.

ken_b




msg:3995956
 11:22 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for digging that up Zett.

Leosghost




msg:3995965
 11:37 pm on Sep 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

much appreciated zett :)..saves us all some time

And thanks to cs1380 who thought it up ( interesting that google return the favourable comment that is below his/hers and was actually posted later than it as the snippet from their own groups page where he/she posted it ) ..manipulation of snippets GOOG ? ..nah surely not ;)

jdMorgan




msg:3996030
 2:29 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

If installed in .htaccess, that code will cause an 'infinite' loop, repeatedly rewriting nogtb.php to itself until the server gives up. Fix for use in .htaccess:

RewriteEngine on
#
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} GoogleToolbar [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/nogtb\.php$
RewriteRule ^ /nogtb.php [L]

or in more-compact form

RewriteEngine on
#
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} GoogleToolbar [NC]
RewriteRule !^nogtb\.php$ /nogtb.php [L]

I disagree with telling your visitors what they can and cannot use on their own computers -- It seems a bit presumptuous if they're a potential customer. But if you're going to do it, at least don't put your server through an unnecessary workout while doing so.

Jim

Leosghost




msg:3996035
 3:04 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thankyou Jim :)

I disagree with telling your visitors what they can and cannot use on their own computers -- It seems a bit presumptuous if they're a potential customer.

If all they are going to do is visit so that they can comment ( in a side bar so they can see themselves "being on the internet" ) without contributing to the site then I for one dont mind making them do it elsewhere ..

Not all sites are selling something ..they want to comment ..they can learn to code or get a blog and make it a conversation ..not heckle and waste my bandwidth ..

Its only a matter of time before goog decide to show them ads in the sidewiki based upon their history or their comments ..some parasites should be stamped on early ..this idea of Goog's is one of them ..

I dont like "reality" TV either where wannabe famous idiots watch other wannabee famous idiots and vote for which one survives ..

Google along with myspace , twitter and facebook et al is now racing to empower the "I want to be famous" or see my reflection in my iphone mentality morons..just so long as they can slap ads on it ..

The "noise" is fast outweighing the quality ..sidewiki is just adding to the noise.

zett




msg:3996103
 6:07 am on Sep 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Jim for fixing the code. I'm not a coding genius, and I know I shouldn't have tried it in the first place. Much appreciated.

I disagree with telling your visitors what they can and cannot use on their own computers

Don't wanna drag the discussion from the other forum over here, but I would like to just confirm what the general consensus about the Sidewiki thing is among those who think it's a bad idea: Sidewiki comments are displayed not in a separated (off site) context, but directly in relation to your site and your pages. You have no control over what is shown IN THIS CONTEXT. Do I want to see Youtube-like "comments" along my pages, without me knowing or being able to remove some of the comments? No, absolutely not. If I want comment functionality, I enable comments on that specific page using my own comment system.

I am tired of Google trying to become a publisher (with content they own) instead of being the middleman (by referring people to other sites). Obviously they understand that owning content is much more profitable than being the middleman. Hence, they try to own as much content as possible:

- Google Maps
- Google Streetview
- GMail
- Sidewiki
- Google Search

They want to become a monopoly. I don't like monopolies.

RonPK




msg:3996512
 11:05 am on Sep 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Firefox on the Mac doesn't use the word GoogleToolbar in the user agent string, so the rewrite rule won't work. Here's the full string:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X 10.5; nl; rv:1.9.1.3) Gecko/20090824 Firefox/3.5.3 GTB6

So the rewrite condition should perhaps look like this:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} (GoogleToolbar¦GTB[0-9]+) [NC]

The ¦ should be a solid pipe...

But I agree that is a bit harsh to block users just because they might abuse SideWiki.

lavazza




msg:3996877
 6:38 am on Sep 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

How to
identify and block users who run Google Toolbar
_______________________

Maybe I'm blind...

Is there somewhere that describes how to identify how many visitors are running Google Toolbar?

lavazza




msg:3998205
 3:23 am on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

bump

zett




msg:3998249
 5:47 am on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I ran a quick check on one of our sites, looking at the reported user agents. For that site (a medium sized one with global audience), we found that about 29% of the user agents were containing the term GTB which indicates either Google Toolbar version 5 or version 6. (Users with these user agents, however, were causing just 15% of all pageviews.)

tangor




msg:3998257
 6:11 am on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

GTB is just another way of tracking users... and the mystery of Page Rank this "tool" relates is the reason why those WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER play along. Page Rank resides right up there with Carbon Emissions (and how to tax it). Creating something from nothing... but then again, just my opinion, which isn't worth much.

luke175




msg:3998925
 10:26 pm on Sep 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am tired of Google trying to become a publisher (with content they own) instead of being the middleman (by referring people to other sites). Obviously they understand that owning content is much more profitable than being the middleman. Hence, they try to own as much content as possible:

- Google Maps
- Google Streetview
- GMail
- Sidewiki
- Google Search

They want to become a monopoly. I don't like monopolies.

Of those examples at least all of them provide some useful purpose except for sidewiki which appears to be nothing more than a glorified scraping service designed to be monetized with more ads.

I would bet that Sidewiki wouldn't get a good Adwords quality score. :)

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