I’m ashamed of this Indian Startup hijacking browser history!

Why this post:

A couple of weeks back I was browsing on Chrome (latest version) looking for some good offers on a Home Loan. I landed on a famous VC funded Indian website. Browsing for a while, I decided to look at other results which Google had shown. Then, the browser glitched – or so I thought!

Here is how you can replay the above: 

  1. Open a new chrome tab
  2. Search for the following: “bankbazaar best loan offer”
  3. Click on the first result from BankBazaar
  4. Wait for the page to load completely
  5. Click Back
  6. Saw, Shocked!!
  7. Looking at this behaviour, I clicked back once again.
  8. Guess what happened – it took me to Google.com

And this is not where the buck stopped, as long as you wait for each page to load completely, you will keep cycling between BB pages and Google Homepage for eternity. i.e. you cannot look at BB’s competitors’ pages without having to type the query again.

This looks like a devious Product Managers idea of upgrading their title to a Growth Hacker!

I saw their tricks, felt disgusted & left their website for good.

Okay, why is this a big deal?

Partly because these kinds of activities (called black-hat marketing techniques) becoming mainstream is a bad omen! I don’t like where some companies/teams are headed.

Tech analysis:

These days, I am a frontend engineer and wanted to identify how they were doing this – figures out they are playing with the following constructs:

window.addEventListener("popstate", ()=>{})

Responsible Disclosure: I have, in the past, booked a personal loan from BankBazaar and had a positive experience with their process.

About Me:

I’ve been developing websites for a while, started out in my teens – building WYSIWYG web pages on Geocities, then graduated to hand-coding HTML/CSS and finally decided to pursue a career in web development. These days I’m working on the frontend experience at ThoughtSpot. All views are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my current or past employers.