Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hotlink Hijacking

I hate parasites.

Like the incompetent boob boss at work who relies on your skills and intelligence to stay in power and collect a bigger paycheck. You do the grunt work, he takes the credit. And don't get me on the topic of volunteering your time and talent for a non-profit organization that doesn't recognize your efforts.

And there are plagiarists or thieves who just take your work and use it any way they want, especially to make money.

Some bloggers who have been "hotlinked" have created an online uproar. Usually hotlinking refers to one site linking to an image on another site. Because the image is still on the other site's server, the linking site doesn't have to worry about increased bandwidth costs. Sorta like hopping on the back of the bus and not paying for a ticket. Everyone else pays but not you.

But hotlinking can also involve taking entire posts and other material from another site. Other bloggers do the work, the hotlinker just aggregates the material. You go to the hotlinking site and think that it is the one sponsoring such blogs as The Debris Field. One example is a site called X News Now. Here's a screencap of a page from that site (click on image to magnify it if too small):

As you can see, you get the impression that X News Now has a subsection called Phantoms & Monsters created by Lon Strickler. Wrong. All they've done is take Lon's work at his own blog and reproduce it on their site through hotlinking. And if you click on the Phantoms & Monsters link on X News Now, it doesn't taken you to Lon's blog, you just stay at XNN. Lon remains completely out of the loop.

Another offender has been Theresa J. Thurmond Morris (who I profiled some time ago). Yesterday her site was hotlinking but apparently the uproar has had an effect: today all you see when you go there is 404: Nobody Home.

Besides using some else's bandwidth, the hotlinkers use the free material to make some money through ads on their site -- even though the scraped blogger offers his material completely free, no ads on his site. And sometime the ads on a hotlinking site open you up to viruses, trogans, and adware.

Here are some of the sites that have been hotlinked:
(Alien, UFO, & Paranormal Times)
(The Debris Field)
(The Orange Orb)
(Phantoms & Monsters)

This is far from a complete list. Go direct to these URLs and bypass the lazy hotlinking thieves. Support the original creator, not a no-talent thief. And spread the word about parasite hotlinkers.


Atrueoriginall said...

I like your article. I Twittered it for you.

You might want to ad that anyone in Blog Catalog is being hotlinked to a frame as well. This is an easy one to get out of though, you simply delete your blog(s) in Blog Catalog and then remove your Blog Catalog code that's in your own blog.

I got rid of them as well. I always hated it that they were in second position right below me in Google Search with my address. That simply means that they were getting my hits and my visitors.

That only helps and feeds them. It doesn't help me whatsoever.

Doug said...

This is why I'm happy nobody besides Ray and one other person actually reads my blog; there's no interest on some other site's part to hijack my crap.

Atrueoriginall said...

wow Doug, those photos are beautiful. I bookmarked it to go back later when I have more time. Got a full days work ahead of me. Your photos sure were pleasant to look at early in the morning.

DickWhyte said...


I was doing some research on the net about hotlinking and came across your post. Very interesting - I hadn't yet thought about the idea of 'scraping' (in terms of a a whole site or page being used as false content for an ad-scam). Thanks for the great article. I may use it in my research (and will let you know if I do). Thought you might be interested in this: where people are using hotlinking to make art.

All the best,
Dick Whyte

X. Dell said...

Fascinating article. Great comments.

I decided against AdSense because I wanted the widest possible lattitude for fair usage claims. I'm wondering now if any of these ad-selling scrapers are running into any copyright issues.