The ethics and laws on <iframes>

Hi Bubblers,

I’m working on a site and want to use an iframe window to another site. I’ve got the technical bits sorted, but was wondering about the ethics and laws on doing this?

The site I want to iframe does have advertising on it, but the way I understand it is that my site just provides a window to the iframed site, so if anyone sees or clicks an advert on the iframed site, the revenue still goes to the iframed site. And the user can still open any link on the iframed site without affecting their click or view metrics. Please correct me if I’m wrong here.

I don’t want to be accused of clickfraud or anything like that; the site has a legitimate usecase for iframes so I’d just like to be aware of the issues with it before launching.

Thanks so much Bubblers!

Asking permission to the legitimate site using iFrame on them?

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Don’t use iFrame, especially when you are not the owner of the site. And yes, an iframe is basically like like opening another chrome tab within your site.

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I would like the iFrame to be dynamic, so that would be very difficult/impossible to do.

Is there any monetary loss or brand/click damage that is being done to the site?

As you don’t change any elements on it, no. But for legal aspect, maybe is vital to mention ‘you are redirect to …’. Just an idea. Again, asking stay my best option :wink:

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You are correct: from a technical (not legal, I have no idea) point of view - an IFrame is isolated (you can’t change the contents of the page, or react to user events on that page), so any clicks inside the iframe will still be attributed to the server that served the advertisements (the original site) and you aren’t stealing any ad revenue.

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Yes, there could be monetary loss or brand/click damage that’s done (and there could be monetary value that’s created as well).

By iframing their site, you’re putting portions of their content onto yours. So, users will see their brand on your site and associate the two.

Additionally, every time your page loads their analytics will see that as another user to their site, even if the user don’t even get to the part of your page with an iframe. So, their analytics could be off which could cause them to make bad decisions.

If the ads are being priced based on number of page views, then that could be a problem too. Plus, if someone clicked the ad from within the iframe it’s likely to just change the frame to the new URL and not your website to a new URL, so advertisers might get shorted a bit.

All of this being said, these are all potentially small things and there could be some upside to it for the company whose content you want to iFrame into your site, such as SEO benefit, increased attention to their content, etc. So, it’s not inherently a net negative - just lots of seemingly minor impacts for and against.

I’m not sure what the norm is for this - maybe someone else knows. Without knowing that, i’d recommend asking for permission if you want to take the high-road.


Hi @sridharan.s

Just hoping you might be able to help out jump starting a conversation on ideas of the use of iframes, “money sites”, affiliate sites and SEO.

Any thoughts or comments on the subject in the linked post would be much appreciated.