Is Framejacking?

The popular URL shortening service has recently come under fire on Twitter, and is being criticized for “framejacking.” (Framejacking is an unpleasant trick that was employed quite a lot in the late nineties, where someone would load others’ web pages into a frameset along with their own branding and ads. Example.)

I ask you, is what does bad? Toolbar

How does this thin toolbar, as you can see above in the image, harm you or your website in any way? The bar is thin and unobtrusive. There are no paid ads, and the logo is tiny.

I argue that is useful to your social media-connected readers, and to you. The short URLs are easily shareable on Twitter, like any URL shorteners’, and the toolbar puts Tweet and Share buttons in easy reach, which can score you some retweets, Diggs, and Stumbles, which may lead to more traffic for you.

As a prolific Twitter user, when I read an interesting article, whether it be from Twitter or no, the first thing I do after is post it to Twitter. I have a handy bookmarklet that opens my desktop client (Tweetie) and dumps the link and page title into it. Not everyone has such a thing. People who enjoy Twittering, but aren’t quite as obsessed as I am, often use the web interface.’s convenient Tweet link makes posting an article a snap. Which saves the poster time, and it benefits the publisher.

What does do that hurts your site? I have yet to hear a convincing and logical argument for this opinion. doesn’t try to pass-off your content as your own; they keep their branding minimal, and it’s clear that the top frame is a toolbar from the shortener, and not part of the site. I also checked for major SEO problems, and’s server sends an HTTP 301 response code, which means search bots should pay attention to the original URL rather than the frameset. HTTP Headers

I see this an a win for both users and publishers. I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone framed my content, slapped a large logo on it, and shoved-in a bunch of paid ads, but isn’t doing that. Compare the screenshot above to this one from, a real example of what would be considered “framejacking.”

Tutorialized Framejacking

Does that seem the same to you? I don’t think so. One is fairly useful to me as a user and keeps out of my way, while the other leaves me with only 290 pixels of vertical space to view the content I’m interested in, simply for the Tutorialized branding and a bunch of ads. (Of which the content provider doesn’t see a cent.) Honestly, do they seem the same to you?

If you can see a real problem with, speak now.

  • Ayla

    This toolbar is a PAIN!!! It loads on its own…you don't get a choice… THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO HAPPEND!!!! I will NEVER use this piece of JUNK!!!

    I can't stand this type of SPAM!!!!

  • Josh is definitely framejacking. Framejacking doesn’t require ads.

    The problems from a webmaster’s perspective:

    * A framejacker tries to “own” your content by putting it on their own URL.
    * When the visitor copies and pastes the URL to link to your site, they copy the framejacking URL. Many things can go wrong, such as the framejacking website going off-line or out of business permanently or the visitor browsing to another page and then trying to copy the URL (which never changes, so the link is wrong)

    The problems from a visitor’s perspective:

    * Framejacking URLs hijack the browser — it’s very difficult to know exactly where you are on the web without being able to see the URL.
    * When you browse to a different page, the URL doesn’t change. If you want to copy a URL, you have to popout the frame, which is something that many people don’t know how to do.
    * Basically, from a visitor’s perspective, it’s about controlling your own browser. Websites should never touch the URL (framejacking) or the status bar text. Both of them are annoying and are security risks.

    IIRC, a court in the late 1990s or early 2000s ruled that it was legal to framejack, but I think that was only because law was/is behind technology. I don’t think that is right or should be legal for one webmaster or service to be able to frame someone else’s content through their lens — whether that lens is an HTML frame or something even newer like Google SideWiki. The laws need to catch up.

  • Oscar M Johnson Jr
    this file was downloaded and screwed up my facebook page, I cannot access facebook because it keep saying “you do not have access to your account because you not confirmed that you are human. Please come back later and tray again”. something has to be done about this.

  • MisterMarley

    So whats the difference between and Are they owned by the same company?

  • happyjourney

    I got sent a link with an owly address in the email from someone i don’t recognize and i’m not going to click on it cause i’m suspicious. i’d reccomend anyone do the same. there can’t be any real legitimate need to hide an original web address from what i can see.

  • happyjourney

    i spelled recommend wrong and it won’t let me edit.

  • wisefritz

    Spoofing, Chase Bank fraud, fraud, fraud. Avoid like the plague, unless you are stupid.