Re: rs6.net still blocked by widely used ad blocking and security software - CC needs to change this

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Another workaround would be to use custom link-shortening services that provide their own tracking/analysis features, although this might be more difficult to integrate with Constant Contact specifically. It would probably involve using variables to identify unique subscribers, and then using dynamic links such that each subscriber receives a unique link that associates them with it.

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adamd118
Occasional Participant

The domain being used for links/buttons in Constant Contact campaigns "rs6.net" (other domains may also be included here) is being blocked under a public blocklist at. This causes many popular ad blocking and security solutions such as uBlock Origin, hhproxy, Simple DNS, et al--to throw an error or otherwise refuse to load links included in campaigns. You may have seen screenshots that look like:

adamd118_0-1641671128801.png

 

Of course, this causes a great deal of significant issues with using Constant Contact's link tracking features, as these software and proxy/DNS solutions are becoming increasingly common across private and commercial users' networks. While the screenshot above shows the resulting message from the browser plugin uBlock Origin, and includes a relatively simple solution for the end users to click a button to disable the strict blocking associated with that domain specifically--end users who do not have a technical background are highly unlikely to understand what that message is telling them or what those options are for. It's far more likely that they will view that message as an indication of some kind of security risk, and close the window without a second thought. So while I may be able to instruct some handful of end users specifically encountering uBlock Origin's message with options to temporarily or permanently exempt these links (and that is in and of itself not a great solution for anyone with hundreds or thousands of subscribers), anyone using the same widely adopted blocklist with other protective solutions such as proxies, custom DNS entries, or blocking at the router level will not see the same screen or be given any such options to exempt.

 

It is time for Constant Contact to abandon rs6.net and move on to an alternative for this feature that cannot be rendered moot so easily by any single crowd-sourced blacklist.

 

My initial suggestion would be to employ a dynamic subdomain of constantcontact.com so that blacklists such as the one referenced here (which only operate using top-level domains) would be reticent to include it as it would necessitate blocking Constant Contact's website entirely, and be far more likely to disrupt their users' experience. Other options may be employing something other than URL-based tracking to manage dynamic lists.

In the meantime, my own solution to this, and my recommendation to others, is to avoid using the built-in click-tracking/custom lists feature altogether in your campaigns. If your links are mostly pointing to a page on your own website, there are methods for gathering similar marketing data on that side of the transaction (so that the visitor's engagement is registered and correlated via your webpage rather than from the email itself). This will be my approach for the foreseeable future, but I very much hope that Constant Contact will move to remedy this widespread and pervasive issue from their end, rather than placing that burden on their customers as I have seen in previous posts referencing this problem. It has been a few years now, and it is only growing exponentially worse as ad-blocking has been employed as a built-in feature to many browsers, email clients, mobile phone apps, and even operating systems.

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