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I'm looking for answers to the following:
When does a brower generate referral string?
When do they not?
- generate strings from password protected directories?
- block referrals with the word "password" in a posted forms?
- only generate off site referral strings?
- generate referrals strings between sessions and which don't?
- does a No Cache tag or http Expires/Modified lines effect browser referral generation?
- besides Opera can you turn off referral strings? Hidden option?
- block strings from email/news? Which allow them?
- snip form submitted data from referral strings? Is that on a POST or a GET?
- have other 'hidden' features, options, or bugs?
I can't find any published studies on the above. It is strange too, since referral strings are the heart of promtion results tracking.
I set up a PW protected directory on one domain using mod_auth and set up a page linking to another domain that is logging referrals.
These browsers all sent referers on my Win2K box:
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0)
Mozilla/4.08 [en] (WinNT; U ;Nav)
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; m18) Gecko/20001108
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT 5.0) Opera 5.02
and from my Unix shell account:
- referrals from all sites but those protected from http access files.
- no form value passed on POSTed form.
- referrals when click is to new window, or when "open in new window" is used.
- no referrals from directories protected from http access files.
- no referrals from email.
- no referrals from "mouse gesture" into new window (down release). Might be a bug.
- yes referral from shift-click new window, or "open in new window".
- unknown: form/cookie with word "password" in it.
- no referral string on form value "password".
Netscape Communicator, version 4, Windows.
There is a file called prefs.js in the Netscape Communicator folder.
You can turn off referral strings by adding the following line into that file:
Make sure netscape is not running if you want to edit this file.
Or, if the line is already in there and indicates true, change true to false. It might also work on Netscape6.