MOSS Audience Targeting with Domain Users

Using the Domain Users group for audience targeting can be problematic. Specifically, if you go into edit mode for a page, and select edit à modify shared web part à advanced à target audiences à browse, you will have the following choices:

If you specify a domain group, SharePoint is not at that moment (or at runtime) querying active directory to determine the membership of that group. It is instead relying on the profile service for that info. So, if you create a new group, it will not appear in the audience dialog until the profile import is run again. Now, normally, a filter is configured in the profile import to just grab user accounts. No worries, after the main profile import is run, a secondary process is run to get the group membership info. If you check your import log, you will see some entries that say People_import, and others that specify people_dl_import:

People_import is the main import, people_dl_import represents the entries from that secondary process. Specifically, that secondary process is running a memborof method in AD (http://blogs.msdn.com/gyorgyh/archive/2009/02/07/how-does-it-work-moss-2007-user-profile-import.aspx). The memberof method returns all of the group that a user is a member of…except one: their primary group.

Here’s a vbscript you can use to test this yourself:
http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/vbscript/vbscript_group_user_memberof.htm

This means that the SharePoint profile service knows about all of the groups for a given user, except for domain users.

Here are two ways of working around this issue:

  1. Create another global group, and add domain users to it. Use that new group for audience targeting.
  2. Create an audience that specifies a rule of: accountname contains domainname.

Hope this helps.

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