Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

23 Jul 2005
July 23, 2005

Stealing Bandwidth: when someone links directly to internet files from another Web site without the owner’s permission. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) often limit the amount of monthly “traffic” to or from your Web site. So, often victims of bandwidth stealing are charged whenever other people use their files in this manner.

Every morning I do a quick check of my referral log to see who is linking to what on my Web site.

Last week I noticed that one blog had linked to an image I had posted here on Life Outtacontext a couple years ago on the occasion of my tenth wedding anniversary. I went to check it out and found this guy had used a photo of our wedding chuppa (a ceremonial canopy over the bride and groom) as an illustration for a story about his friend’s wedding:

John Does original Web page.

A detail from his original blog post showing my photograph.

Going a bit deeper, I looked at his code and lo and behold, he hadn’t lifted the image he was linking directly to it on my server! The image was coming directly from my server and I was paying every time a viewer looked at his page. Stealing bandwidth.

To add insult to injury he referred to our chuppa as “typical.” The nerve. There was nothing typical about our wedding canopy. In fact, it was handpainted by a friend of ours who was a set designer for the Seattle Opera.

What does one do when confronted with such a double effrontery? I looked for an email address on his site but found none. When faced with such a travesty I remembered Ivana Trump’s response to Donald’s divorce papers: “Don’t get mad, get even.” And so I set about informing this man in the only way I could.

Since he was linking directly to my image I had control over that image. And with a little bit of Photoshop magic I simply changed my image file from a photograph of our wedding to a little missive for Mr. John Doe (I’ve changed his name because I don’t want to crucify but merely instruct):

My alteration of John Does Web page.

A detail of my alteration of his “original” page. It was the only way to communicate with him but I chose a color scheme for the font that fit his site design.

Mr. Doe received my message. A few hours later he was linking to someone else’s “typical” chuppa. Some people just will not learn.

Ivana, you would be proud of me.

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9 replies
  1. Carolyn says:

    I had a similar problem a couple of years ago when I was doing the Web site for our high school reunion. It’s frustrating, to say the least, not to mention expensive! I finally passworded the pages. Made a big difference.

  2. Nina says:

    Actually, I believe that “don’t get mad, get even” belongs to JFK. Good job!!

  3. Donna says:

    Clever way of handling it.

  4. Jish says:

    My favorite example of getting back at people who link to your files is this: http://phonophunk.phreakin.com/news/?p=40

  5. gb says:

    I had a similar experience a year or two ago when I discovered someone was hotlinking a picture of my (then) new powermac and (borrowed) Cinema Display. The offending site was actually a forum, so I wasn’t too chuffed about it, until I got curious and translated the post containing my photo (the site was in Portugese, I believe).
    Apparently, it was one of those “post a pic of your computer setup” type of threads, and this genius had decided to lay claim to my computer. So not only was he stealing my bandwidth, but also (in a fashion) my mac. So I followed a similar course of action: I had a friend who spoke the language translate “I steal bandwidth. And I don’t really have this computer!” for me, and bam… he was suddenly making an interesting statement to all his forum peers. I checked back in a day or so later, to see many posts ridiculing the user.
    Three days later, my server was hacked.

  6. Geoff says:

    Ivana said “Don’t get mad, get half…” :)

  7. Katti says:

    I think Ivana said “Don’t get mad – get everything!”

  8. Beerzie Boy says:

    Haw! Good One!

  9. wayan says:

    Same thing happened to me, but even more brazen. Some guy on Match.com swiped a photo I took of my cousin and said it was him.
    Sad to think how low this guy was that he had to swipe others photos to hide his own ugly/cheating self. Especially when the photo was all pixelated to begin with.

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