Experts Exchange are cloaking asshats

It’s rare that I get personally frustrated by cloaking. After all, I expect those types of shenanigans from Web -2.0 companies like the New York Times.

But Experts Exchange? Holy crap, do they expect to not just frustrate people by literally scrambling the text of answers until you register?

An screenshot of scrambling shenanigans (Actual URL):
Experts Exchange ROT13 Scrambling Shenanigans

See how they cleverly position a semi-transparent GIF over the scrambled text to heighten the illusion of inconvenience? Of course, if we delve deeper we learn that the scrambled text is using a highly idiotic encryption cipher, ROT13.

No, no, they save the really clever programming for the cloaking of the unscrambled content to search engines. Oh yeah, that’s what that page is supposed to look like. I guess Googlebot forked over the $12.95 a month to see giant animated banner ads for eBay and MSN Live.

Let’s face it, Experts Exchange has always been a horrific hodgepodge of self-advertisements. I’m quite certain the first dozen or so times I visited the site I never even finished the multipage scrolling trek to the first “comment,” thinking the site only existed to offer “questions” while cross-promoting it’s other services. Even the new redesign is still chock full o’ self-love.

If I had more time I’d write the Greasemonkey script to disable that transparent gif and rot13 the comments back to being readable. But, honestly, I think I’d rather just never visit their site again.

Good luck with your re-design Experts Exchange!

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