Company you've never heard of acquires copy and paste clipboard-molesting jerks to create an even bigger pile of shit

Tynt, the company responsible for inserting adverts when you copy text from websites, was bought by another company that specializes in "graphing" brand loyalty. Just imagine how much fun these guys are to hang out with! [TechCrunch via Daring Fireball]


  1. Can you show us an example of this copy-and-paste ad text?

    I had half hoped to see an easter egg in your post, but copying and pasting revealed nothing.

    1. (a rag on par with the Daily Mail) uses Tynt.  Go to one of the articles, copy some text to the clipboard, paste it into a text editor.  Enjoy the spam.

  2. Can somebody post a url with an example of this?  I’ve never seen this before.  Maybe it’s the adblock plus and I just never happen to  go to the right (wrong?) sites.

      1. Diden’t do it for me
        IE 9
        I think it did not work because I have Active X filter turned on

        LOL did not read article until I tried it again , seam’s like a nice guy

      2. Firebug does indeed show a post to some random offsite server with the “content” I had copied, and an ad link was indeed copied to the end of my selection, but the ad link didn’t appear when I copied a small amount of text (less than 40 characters, as it turns out).  So if you want ad-free text, just copy 39 characters at a time.

  3. That is true, but I agree with MrEricSir. Tynt merely happens to be the one we know about. Not only does it put text into your clipboard, but it sends any text you select back to Tynt and their clients. It doesn’t have to do anything to your clipboard…it could just silently send your copied text back home. And blocking Tynt alone won’t catch anyone else who decides to use the same trick for more nefarious purposes.

    On a more technical note, browser *already* by default don’t allow Javascript to access your clipboard. Tynt specifically knows this and maliciously (in popular opinion) gets around it in the following way: when you select a piece of text, it instantly modifies the document to insert the annoying tagline, in a hidden format, and expands your selection to cover the new text. Then when you copy the text, you copy everything. What we actually need is a way to prevent Javascript from modifying your selection. I’ve seen it used in a useful manner on a few sites (click in a text box to select the whole block, or a whole URL). But I’m willing to lose that slight convenience to stop Tynt and the inevitable copycats in their tracks.

    1. Huh.  A clever hack, but the way you describe it sounds relatively straightforward.  Presumably they bought the company because they are interested in their client list (and aggregated data?) rather than for the technology itself.

      I wonder what other, more nefarious uses this technique could have, beyond just adding a plain text link.  An embedded 1 pixel image that phones home every time the word document or PDF document you pasted into is opened?  An embedded script or VBA macro or OLE object or …

      I knew there was a reason I always copy and paste to a text editor first.

Comments are closed.