Browser History Manipulation in Chrome has Ended Browser History Manipulation in Chrome has Ended


No more conversion boosting using the back button

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Hiren Shah


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What is browser history manipulation?

When you click on the browser back button, you are supposed to go to the previous page that you were browsing...correct?

Well, not always. Many marketers use a known HTML5 feature to change your back button history by pushing additional URL(s). You can do this simply by inserting a small javascript code (as shown below) into your page that gets executed when the user arrives at your page.

                    function clickHandler(e) {
  /* Snip... */

  // Add an item to the history log
  history.pushState(data,, url);

  return event.preventDefault();

Marketers use this technique to add another URL which may contain an additional hook, lead-gen magnet, or a complementary product to entice the user to take an action in an effort to boost the conversion rate. However, as you can see in the code above, one can push any number of new URLs thereby making it impossible for the user to go back to the original page from where he/she arrived from leading to a very poor user experience.

This was bound to get noticed by the browser developers and the loophole was going to get addressed. Chrome has already taken an action according to this announcement posted a couple of months ago. There have been many reports of this already being implemented on the newer version of chrome browser.

When is it happening?

It has already been implemented in all new Chrome releases.

Which platforms/OS are going to be impacted?

Almost all the major platforms are going to see this change. According to the announcement, following platforms are included:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Chrome OS
  • Android
  • Android WebView (aka Android Apps)

Are there going to be any exceptions?

Yes. There is one exception. If the page has a user gesture such as a click, scroll etc. this event will not be fired and the user will indeed go to the URL that was injected using pushstate method. This will, of course, not be applicable to the discussion here since we are talking about adding URL(s) which were never visited by the user in the first place.

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