One of our data analysts witnessed a programmatic nuclear explosion today, with a scan of a single page revealing 1,665 tags and pixels from 114 different vendors. This is three times worse than the high-water mark (low-water?) that we had seen previously.

Attached is a visualization of this trainwreck, with the name of the site redacted. Each colored dot represents a different tag, with the lines showing which tag loads which tag. These tag chains represent one of the most insidious aspects of the online world, as the companies involved in tag chains often have no relationship with the site operator. In the case of this site, the deepest chain was 14 links long (meaning that a tag loaded another tag, which loaded another tag, 14 times over). Read more>

Beyond the data implications of this, such poor management of third-party vendors represents horrible user experience, as more tags cause pages and bloat (and even calls for small pixels have browser overhead). As average ad blocking rates in the US now rise in the low double digits and are two to three times that in Europe, users are voting with their plug-ins. Simply put, poorly managed sites are both driving away users and limiting their monetization options.

While we’re withholding the site’s name to protect the not-so-innocent, we can say that it serves more than 10 million uniques per month and 100+ million pageviews. This is a publicly available view, as we scanned the site from the outside.

Coincidentally, one Internet reported last week that the size of the average web page is now equal to the size of the installer for the game Doom.

If you want to see a similar analysis on your site, give us a yell (or sign up for our Instant Scan tool that let you do it yourself).

worst site ever