I haven’t really looked at my website’s raw logs in a while. Google helps me keep track of my traffic since they’re serving up the ads. They do a good job.
I’m not sure why, but tonight I pulled some logs. When I looked closely, I was very surprised to see this website is providing bandwidth to MySpace.com in a big way (at least for me it’s a big way).
The month is half over and I’ve already served up 16,604 images to MySpace! That’s about as many images as I’ve had legitimate page reads. It comes to 69.5% of all the inbound links to geofffox.com.
It is called ‘hotlinking’ and it’s especially prevalent from sites like MySpace, where you get an address for text, but no storage space for graphics. The MySpace user finds an image on my site, enters the address on my server, and it appears on their page.
I end up providing the bandwidth and taxing my server – slowing it down. MySpace and its user get all the benefit and none of the cost.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there was a courtesy line and link back to my site. I’m willing to trade bandwidth for traffic. But, of all the pages I’ve checked so far, none had a link back.
There is a way to stop it, and I’ve done just that tonight. I’ve added a really ugly yellow image (so they’ll see it) saying hotlinking isn’t allowed and created an .htaccess file on my server to send it instead of what’s linked.
I know I’ve made some of the pages pretty ugly in the short term. That’s not my intention. There’s not much else I can do.
Oh – because of this I’ve spent a good part of the evening looking at my images on MySpace pages. The look of most pages is…. eclectic.