OK, this is my weekend for seeking enlightenment. If it's not a robot who does a flawless impersonation of a human, it's an office wastebasket impersonating a web page.
It's not the mere fact
of hotlinking that riles me. It's that the sites are so utterly and incomprehensibly awful. Who goes there? What are they looking for? What search string could conceivably send them there?
They come and go. Almost all have these features in common:
-- the page is gigantic, as if someone covered a whole wall with random pictures and then photographed it at life-size
-- at least half of them seem to emanate from the same WYSIWYG editor
-- there is no link from the domain's front page to the offending page, though there might be a link going back out again
-- I can't for the life of me figure out what product is being sold, what information is being imparted, or even what the entertainment value is
-- everything on the page is hotlinked, so you're looking at up to 20-30 seconds before anything becomes visible at all, and anywhere from 45 seconds to over a minute for the whole thing to load
-- the other pictures come from people who use a different log-wrangling routine than I do. I can tell, because otherwise the hotlink's first appearance would be followed within a few days by a flurry of others as each individual hotlinkee went over to see who the ### is linking to their picture.
-- there are a lot of people out there who don't give a ### about hotlinking. You would expect to see 30 different variations on a "No Hotlinks!" image, wouldn't you?
I know there are Rules about posting links to your own site, either directly or obliquely. I don't remember a rule against posting links to sites that are, to all appearances, a load of ###.
The current leader is this:
Page title leads you to expect something rated Adults Only, but it ain't so. More words than usual, which may explain the traffic. It goes without saying that the site owner does not answer e-mail. What is all that ### at the bottom? Is it supposed to be readable? What has it got to do with the pictures?
And then there's this, which has been around since last summer:
The domain itself belongs to-- as far as I can make out-- a popular Portuguese singer. There's even a contact address for the site designer. I got hold of someone I know in Portugal and asked him to translate a letter beginning "Please remove your ### hotlinks from your ### site". (He handed off the translation to his niece, who is A Nice Girl and left the ### as written.) Haven't sent it yet, but the time may come.
hotlinked to an image in a directory I long ago roboted-out, precisely because its contents were so popular with hotlinkers. I looked up this one too. It's a private school in Tamil Nadu. I guess they let students put up their own pages, unsupervised.
You get the idea. After a while they all look the same. I'm just pulling the most recent ones out of logs.
I won't mention the newest arrival, because my browser and g### both said strongly that the site might harm my computer. Everyone else must have believed it too, because nobody has visited the site. Count your blessings.
I just had a thought. Is it possible for any kind of bug to hide in an image file and go back to infect the site stealing the image? Would almost serve them right, if so. As long as they don't crawl back in the other direction and mess with my
[edited by: martinibuster at 6:49 pm (utc) on Mar 5, 2012]
[edit reason] Removed specific URLs [/edit]