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Bandwidth stealing - what should I do?

Someone is using my hosted image... how should I punish them?

     
2:05 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am not overly creative so need some ideas on what to do about this...

I have someone using one of the images hosted on my site in items they are posting for sale online. It's pretty easy to hack together a mod_rewrite rule and script to serve the image in question to users of my site and a different image to users of any other site, I've done this part already. Now I am looking for creative thoughts of what I can do with this ability.

The person in question is selling razors and in general the sort of things you find in a pharmacy. I am not looking for anything crude but I'd be keen for any other ideas.

They have stolen 5Gb of bandwidth already this month from my little UK hosting company which won't push me over any limits on my account but is frustrating.

2:45 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A red box with the words "All products sold AS IS, no returns no warranties"
2:59 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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perhaps brand your images with an overlay of your logo, just play with the opacity of the layer the brand is on in photoshop to insure it is visible enough that no matter where it is displayed, the end user sees it.
3:21 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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i would replace the filename on my own pages to point to a new image (same as old but with new filename).
Then i would create an image that says something like BETTER PRICING IS AVAILABLE ON #*$!xx.COM, and save it as the original filename. This way your web address is plastered on his site hopefully driving traffic to you. Think of it as free banner advertising :-)
4:35 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I truly like that one vincevincevince and unfortunately he's using my logo Lynque. But there's definitely mileage in plastering my URL on his site. Anyone with any more cheeky ideas... nothing too rude though!
7:26 am on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I used to solve the problem by renaming the image on my site and by keeping the hotlinked name for an image that was plain bright red with black hotlinking = theft and a much larger size, low resolution so it threw their lay-out all over the place. The red image was never requested more than a few times.
9:07 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I just redirect the daily 20,000+ hotlink requests from MySpace eejits (etc) to a simple small low-res vivid pink and yellow image containing my URL as text.

If you do this, PUT LONG EXPIRES / CACHE-TIME HEADERS ON THE IMAGE SO THAT EACH USER ONLY REQUESTS THE IMAGE ABOUT ONCE EVER so that your replacement image does not add to your bandwidth woes!

No porn, no whingeing about theft (although it did count for maybe 5% of my total bandwidth bill), nothing that anyone could complain about except the bright colours!

I now do regard the hotlinkers as carrying free banner ads for me.

Rgds

Damon

[edited by: DamonHD at 9:34 pm (utc) on Aug. 15, 2006]

9:12 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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nothing too rude though!

Bah. That takes all the fun out of it!

I wish I had some hotlinkers. I know where there is some great Barbie bondage porn.

9:52 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have changed some images that people were hotlinking to things like "free shipping" and "was $7, now free!". It was funny how quickly the 'new' images were dropped! :)
10:50 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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i agree
lets run a "50% OFF" sale on this guys site
Good through december of course
5:46 am on Aug 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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now I really really like the last one... if only he doesn't notice when I change it. Am travelling in UK until next week then will try something, shall let you know if anything fun happens!
7:49 pm on Aug 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have changed some images that people were hotlinking to things like "free shipping" and "was $7, now free!". It was funny how quickly the 'new' images were dropped! :)

If you can creatively figure out the IP address that the webmaster / competitor surfs from, you can keep serving him the image he wanted to steal, while serving the sale to everyone else. That would sound like extra fun. I can just see someone arguing with a customer about what the image actually says.

8:18 pm on Aug 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Oh, man. I used to love switching hijacked pictures.

The best thing to do is what somebody said, turn the tables on them and use it as a free banner ad for your site.

5:48 pm on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I had a competitor using my picture on his Ebay listing, so I modified the picure to have my website all across it... he never did update his listing, so I got a 7day banner ad.
 

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