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On Mozilla's Add-ons site (known as AMO), all external links are directed through:
https://outgoing.mozilla.org/v1/[UUID]/[destination URL]

As a random example, see the link in the Description section of this page:
https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/fastest-weather-forecast/
(Similar links are found for the Add-on home page and Support site links on that same page, as well as the link to http://weather.com in the Features section.)

What is the purpose of this redirection?

Is it intended to increase security? If so, how?

Or is it a tracking mechanism?

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The use of redirection pages can be for multiple reasons.

  1. Issue a warning to the user that the pages is leading outside the original site network (legal requirements sometime)
  2. Counting the usage of outgoing links
  3. Filtering of addresses
  4. Data scrapping

(this list is not exhaustive)

The first could be seen as a security measure, which makes the user aware of potential deceptions. Three can also be a security measure, but I don't thing that is usually done.

  • Thank you for your answer. I'm interested in knowing, in this particular case, why the links are going through redirection pages. Is a security check of the destination URL taking place? Are clicks being tracked? – RockPaperLizard May 9 '16 at 11:14
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    This is impossible to know without insider intel. – M'vy May 9 '16 at 11:26
  • Yes, someone from Mozilla can help, or someone who has found published documents describing the redirects, or someone who has found published source code for that server. – RockPaperLizard May 9 '16 at 20:02
  • @M'vy Here is some background on the feature: bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=347759. It seems that the current handling was initially introduced to prevent misuse of the addons.mozilla.org domain by malicious add-on descriptions. And more sources: github.com/mozilla/zamboni/commit/… (referencing bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=550485). – Rob W May 10 '16 at 20:29

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