In Which I Discover Greyhound's Lack Of Respect For Its Customers

I ride buses a lot. One of the more modern conveniences on buses is onboard Wi-Fi, which can be sluggish if a lot of people are using it but generally makes the trip much more enjoyable. Today, however, on a Greyhound from Philadelphia to New York, I was greeted by an unpleasant surprise.

Greyhound's annoying ad frame.

A big honkin' ad for Greyhound that was definitely not served by Wikipedia, and a nice reminder of how little Greyhound respects me as a customer. This happened on almost every page I visited.

How does this benefit anybody? It certainly doesn't help me—I already know what bus I'm on—but I can't imagine it benefits Greyhound, either. One of the slides on the ad has a little shout-out to 7/11, but is the money they get from that and whatever extra ticket sales they make really worth the goodwill they're burning by doing this?

A quick peek in the page's source reveals the offender is a snippet of JavaScript injected at the top of the page. The script is by iComera—the same company which provides the onboard W-Fi in the first place. "The large print giveth and the small print taketh away", as they say.

Unfortunately for Greyhound, not only will I be actively avoiding their buses in the future, but I happen to know a thing or two about computers. With a little inspiration from Daring Fireball, I've blocked their annoying webpage-framing script. I'm not aware of any browser extensions that will make the process easy, but if you feel comfortable editing system files then you'll be okay.

The fix lies in your hosts file. (Wikipedia has a good list of where to find it on various operating systems.) Open up the file, then add the following line at the bottom:

127.0.0.1 proxy.moovbox.icomera.com

Bam! You may have to restart your browser, but the ad frame will be gone, system-wide, for all iComera Wi-Fi networks. (I've actually created a "Don't Be Evil" section at the bottom of my hosts file specifically for blocking annoying things like this.)

And of course, if you travel or expect to travel on Greyhound, you should pester them on Twitter so that maybe they'll stop this altogether.

Jake Lazaroff

Welcome! I'm a designer, developer and musician. During the day I work as a frontend developer at Livestream, and by night I work on secret projects. Stay tuned!

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