In my crusade against online tracking and advertising, I have noticed something troubling on the City of Titans website today. I can't verify for certain whether or not it's been around for a while, but this is the first I've seen it. I'll explain in greater detail, but let this intro be a sort of full disclosure that I have a strong bias in favor of privacy on the Web.
Also, this post is gonna be a doozy. Now then...
First, I noticed an image coming from the domain www.ascendantonline.com on every page of this site. The image's URL suggests that it's coming from a Piwik installation which is software used to gather website analytics. The image is a 1x1 pixel GIF which indicates that it's a simple tracking beacon. It doesn't seem to come with any traditional cookies.
But all of this avoids the big question: who runs ascendantonline.com? Obvious cues on the site point to Missing Worlds Media. A WHOIS lookup would confirm this. Interestingly, DNS shows that the email server for missingworldsmedia.com (MX record) points to the email server for ascendantonline.com (MX and A records). Given all of the above information, I'd say they've made a significant investment in this site, reasons for which are probably not public.
I posted this in the FAQ section as a question because I'd like a little transparency here. My question to Missing Worlds Media stands: how are you tracking us?