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Flash file stolen, but linked from my site: How to deal with it?

     
6:47 am on Jul 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ok - I'm looking through my competitors websites, and I run across a website that is using a flash graphic that I created. The beauty of it is that he didn't bother downloading the graphic and putting it on his own host. It is still linked to my website.

This is where the fun comes in. I know that there are a lot of things that a flash program can do. I'm looking for some fun ideas to teach this guy a lesson.

6:50 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Switch it out with a clickable ad to your site that says...
"this Guy steals, come over here to my site and get a 10% discount"
7:06 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"This site has closed, please visit yoursite if you would like to place an order"

How stupid can they be?:)

7:19 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Venrooy,

That's hilarious! The only thing that would make me laugh harder is if you modified the graphic then forgot to use a new name for the real one on your site ;)

Israel

7:25 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Put up a new ad, saying:

This weeks special offer: 75% discount on all prices as listed in our shop!
(A non-clickable banner of course)

7:50 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Those are some good ones - but I was thinking of something more sinister.

I know that you can set flash banners to automatically forward the browser to any URL you program it to.

You can also turn videos into flash - so I could set him up with a great video.

Or - Have you ever been emailed one of those flash screens where you're staring into the picture and the Alien or some creature jumps out and screams? I'm sure that a good way to loose a customer is to cause him to stain his skivies.

7:55 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"The only thing that would make me laugh harder is if you modified the graphic then forgot to use a new name for the real one on your site ;)"

Actually I have done that before. But it was for a jpg. Someone used my picture on ebay in one of their auctions. I changed out the picture, and forgot that I was still selling the same product using the same picture link. I ended up losing bidders by calling myself a thief - LOL.

8:05 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Can you do an onmouseover for the file and simply set the action to go to your site?
8:35 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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in the first frame put this action

_root.getURL(http://mysite.com, "_self");

8:36 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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May I interject one serious thought I had?

If you're both Adwords advertisers, what if the jerk says he created the original graphic and complains to Google that you hacked his site?

----

In my earliest days, I used to mail myself a diskette with my source code and not open it, thinking this would function as a copyright protection. Layman's thinking of course. I knew I could manipulate timestamps programmatically so that didn't mean much, but I couldn't alter a postmark.

----

Any merit to either of these ideas from those who know more?

Israel

8:53 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ok - for now I have his page forwarding to my page.

And I think that google keeps a cache of old pages, so they'd be able to see that he was linking to my graphic. I may be wrong though. Either way, I have the original flash script to prove that I created it, and I don't think that he'd be able to reverse engineer it.

9:01 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just thought of another one. I could have that flash forward to another flash I could make that takes up the entire sreen, and make it look like the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death". And put a small affiliate link to an antivirus software or something like that.
9:13 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Venrooy,

Forgive me, I'm just playing mind games with you now. However s/he could say they had the graphic before you (or they) were indexed by Google. Theoretically, of course ;)

Israel

9:22 am on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I had someone from ebay start hotlinking images to one of my sites and then put a link to my site for "see other prices, WE'RE LOWER!"

I redirected the image request to a new image that said in big red letters "DANGER! DO NOT BUY!" and any referring link from eBay gets shot to a hardcore porn site page with some nasty offensive images so people will be ticked off from the start and not bid on his/her stuff.

This month, the links from eBay stopped.

Amazing.

3:08 pm on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well this is not bad so far - I've had a couple of sales already that were redirected from that page. I wish more people would steal my content :)
5:47 pm on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Wow!

Want to hurt someone like that, take their business and leave the ad looking the same. Go for the money not the sensationalism, an eye for an eye sort of speak.

5:56 pm on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm hoping that he's smart enough to figure this one out and learn his lesson. But if not - I'll gladly take the free money.
6:08 pm on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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He is hosting it and the other guy is hotlinking so ownership is pretty obvious.

I love the idea of saying his site is closed. not horrible but sounds really effective.

6:28 pm on July 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good point! Should have been obvious to me before I started proposing the "paranoid" scenarios".

Sorry Venrooy, it was late.... But I was just trying to make sure you didn't end up get burned by this by Google!

That "Google can suspend any account at any time without giving a reason" thread nearby got me nervous!

Israel

5:20 pm on July 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I redirected the image request to a new image that said in big red letters "DANGER! DO NOT BUY!" and any referring link from eBay gets shot to a hardcore porn site page with some nasty offensive images so people will be ticked off from the start and not bid on his/her stuff.

Sounds like a Jake Baillie move = Classic!

Why not just edit the HTAccess and deny hot linking images and be done already?

Off Topic: I have had dozens of idiots steal my content ... including my affiliate links. The problem is, they are idiots and get little traffic, so my "free money" is change. :-(

Cabo

5:46 pm on July 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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add a very loud MIDI file [pre 1999] music to the flash.. people will turn off the site immidiately!
8:41 am on July 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you want to be really funny, you can only do these things at odd hours of the night. (odd for the offending website.) That way, this could go on for a long time without them figuring it out.
11:41 am on July 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, some time ago, I also was upset when seeing hotlinks to some of my pictures and graphics.
And I thought about sinistre revenge strategies, cloaking and offering targeted alternate offending stuff to the hotlinker's users.

I have stopped in doing so after looking at it differently.
Yes, the direct linking may somehow lift off your intellectual property and steel bandwidth. If it is very unique and very valuable intellectual property, then you probably definitely don't want allow a usage like this.

On the other hand, the linking is a one way inbound link. Many site owners are desperately searching and paying for back links for SEO -- and here you get a free one.

Furthermore, in your case, it is some sort of a web-bug where you may see from your own web server's log how many hits your competitor gets. A nice feature, too.

So in conclusion, this linking may be better for you than he would have copied your flash graphics to his own local web space. This way you have some control, an inbound link, and further insight into the business of your competitor you otherwise wouldn't have.
Sending C&D letters to take down local copies is trouble and hassle.

HAND and kind regards,
R.