Latest Version of Joomap Has Hidden Advertising

Joomap LogoA word of caution about the latest versions of Joomap. They contain hidden advertising with a link back to the developer’s site. Fortunately, there is an easy way to turn if off.

What and Where is the Advertising? 

The advertising is inside joomap.html.php. It creates a rotating series of text links combining of one the words in $keywords with one of the words in $location. So one day your site might link back to with the keyphrase "Webdesign Ruhrgebiet" and the next day it might be "Programmierung Hagen":

//BEGIN: Advertisement

            if( $config->includelink ) {

                $keywords = array(‘Webdesign’, ‘Software Anpassung’, ‘Software Entwicklung’, ‘Programmierung’);

                $location = array(‘Iserlohn’, ‘Hagen’, ‘Dortmund’, ‘Ruhrgebiet’, ‘NRW’);

                $advert = $keywords[mt_rand() % count($keywords)].’ ‘.$location[mt_rand() % count($location)];

                echo "<a href="" style="font-size:1px;display:none;">$advert</a>";


            //END: Advertisement

 How Many Sites Have These Links?

Google always underestimates link quantity and even Yahoo rarely find a majority of incoming links. I think we can safely say the quantity is well over 100,000.

Removing This Link from Your Site

Go to Components >> Joomap >> Display and set "Invisible link to author" to No.

What’s Wrong with the Hidden Links

  1. Its Against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. A link is simply an HTML tool to send people from one site to another. Therefore a hidden link has absolutely no purpose, except being an attempt to trick the search engines?
  2. Originally it wasn’t disclosed. If you have versions of Joomap between 2.0 and 2.3 you may well have this hidden advertising. It wasn’t present in 1.0 versions of Joomap and since 2.4 the option to switch it off has been added. The only mention I could find of this advertising was in the changelog.
  3. It is still very, very easy to miss. There’s no mention of it on the author’s site and only a small easy-to-miss check box to turn if off.

What’s the Solution?

We’ve been through the hidden advertising problem before with several other components and templates. Perhaps the solution is to include a program like Joomla Credits in the Joomla core with a link to it from the Main Menu. People who don’t want it displayed can simply unpublish the menu link.


This would make it easy for everyone to understand who they are linking to. It would also mean that Joomla developers could give away their products and perhaps get even more links than they do now, without needing to be deceptive.

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