Blocking Tynt, the Copy/Paste Trackback Service

Q: Sometimes when I copy and paste text from websites into documents or other browsers I get a 'Read more' message with a link full of jibberish back to the original site. How can I get rid of this?

Tynt-Thumbnail.gifA: It's the most annoying service that you know nothing about. Tynt, which raised $8 million in a second round of financing back in April of last year, is a product that is designed to give publishers some control over how visitors copy and paste from their websites. About two percent of pageviews involve some sort of copying of text, according to TechCrunch; Tynt allows publishers to track how much copying is being done and exactly what content is being shared. You know it, though, because of the way it monitors that activity: Tynt uses a trackback feature that adds a unique link to the bottom of any copied text longer than -- typically -- seven words. If used by The Atlantic, copying from this page would result in something that looks like this:

It's the most annoying service that you know nothing about. Tynt, which raised $8 million in a second round of financing back in April of last year, is a product that is designed to give publishers some control over how visitors copy and paste from their websites.

Read more: http://theatlantic.com/2011/01/13/...

Most of Tynt's clients, according to Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who wrote a screed about the service back in May, are newspapers and print publishers that "have no respect for their websites or for their readers." It's a terrible idea, Gruber wrote, because it's ridiculous to assume that a significant number of people copying text from these sites actually leave the trackback link in before publishing. Without the link, Tynt is unable to drive traffic back to the site from which the copied text originated.

If you use copy/paste with some frequency and are tired of seeing Tynt's trackback links, there are a number of ways to make sure that they never show up for you again. If you use the Google Chrome browser, there's a special Tynt-blocking extension, Tynt Blocker, that will disable the service whenever you visit a site that has it installed. If you're a Safari user, Drew Thaler's JavaScript Blacklist extension will block Tynt, but know that it will also block Kontera and Intellitxt, two services that add double underlines and green links to select phrases, and Snap, the link previewing service. For users of other browsers, Tynt's homegrown 'Opt In/Out' page should do the trick.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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