Lest you think I'm single out CBSNews.com (the latest site to get stuck in the Questionmarket mud while I was browsing it), I'm not. But it was my visit last night to CBSNews.com (during my final sweep of the new sites before hitting the hay) that made me want to punch a hole through the LCD panel on my notebook. Anyway, Questionmarket.com routinely hangs up my experience in accessing ZDNet as well and I've written about a thousand internal memos about it. OK, that's an exaggeration.
I have no idea what the problem is, but there are pages out there on the Internet (at CBSNews.com, ZDNet, and I'm sure other places) that have advertisements that are tied to something called amch.questionmarket.com. In just about any case where a page doesn't seem to want to load but keeps trying and trying, I'm beginning to see the same status message in the lower left hand corner of my browser (see above left). I even tried going directly to questionmarket.com to see if I could contact someone to find out what the deal was, but its site was inaccessible (directly) as well.
For me, this problem also falls into the same category as Web sites that automatically load and automatically start resource hogging interactive elements like video onto their Web pages (here at ZDNet, you have to press play when the video appears on a page that isn't just for the video). I looked in Firefox (my browser of choice) for an opportunity to bypass calls to specific domains (sort of like ad blocking) in hopes of getting certain pages to load faster. But I couldn't find that specific functionality, not even in Mozilla's AddOn area for Firefox. I haven't yet test IE7 for this functionality. I was running it for a while until I had some compatibility issues with Wordpress and then I uninstalled it. Those issues may have since been resolved but I haven't had time to give IE7 another go. Comment below if you can answer the question.
Anyway, these sorts of problems make me wonder about the next steps when it comes to how complex today's Web pages are. How do you program Web pages so they don't get hung up by some "call" to a third party site? What if your site is calling an advertisement that in turn makes a call to another site and that hangs the works up? Is there some underlying reliablity protocol that can accept the timeout information as feedback that allows the Web page or the "call" to continue as best as it possibly can with the "failed" link. This same issue, of course, comes up in the area of mashups which is why standard APIs for certain functionality makes sense. For example, with one API, if I can call any of the major mappers (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, or AOL), and the one I call first isn't available or not responding in a timely fashion, as a developer, I should be able to roll to a backup provider without having to have service-specific code weigh my applicatoins down.