Surviving Website Identity TheftWritten by Greg Scowen
Every now and then you read about identity theft. I am not talking about theft of you personal identity, sure that happens too, I am talking about theft of a website’s identity. The big question is: What should you do if somebody with deeper pockets and more push creates a website similar to yours, stealing your limelight, and your hard earned visitors? Let me answer your question from my own experience.
Firstly, it is important to note that actions I took when one of my sites identities was stolen worked for me, but may not be best solution in your case. Please, always consult a professional for a second opinion before making ‘wallet bulge changing decisions!
In October 2004 a new tourism information website called ‘New Zealand Focus’ was launched and a reasonably sized effort was made to market new site online. The results were surprisingly good, and very quickly new site proved to be useful to New Zealand tourists and businesses in New Zealand tourism industry alike. Within two short months visitor numbers had dramatically increased and over 300 businesses had registered in a free directory on website. Many an hour was dedicated to development of site and translators were called in and started to translate site into German to reach out to a secondary audience. The overwhelming success of New Zealand Focus led me do broaden my original idea and in early 2005 work was started on development of an Australian Tourism Guide which would be a sister site to original. Intentions were to create a site for as many countries as possible… but then disaster struck.
A very powerful, influential, and deep-pocketed organization started making press-releases about their upcoming project. A huge centre was wo be developed in a major Asian city, promoting New Zealand products. The centre would be accompanied by a website and it was quickly made obvious that no expense would be spared. The whole project was to be called ‘New Zealand Focus’! As I watched domain names with one character difference being reserved, and press-releases flying around me left, right and centre, I also started making contact with lawyers. I had to protect my hard work… or at least I though I did.
Unfortunately, in this crazy world of Internet-Ideas and Internet-Failures, I had not registered a Trademark for ‘New Zealand Focus’. Granted, law still protected me to same extent without Trademark because I had an established history. What had to be weighed up in my mind was: Can I possibly fight such a powerful, rich group? Even if I do fight, is it worth it? And what would consequences be if I won, or lost? The effort I had made to successfully establish a site in a very competitive field was flashing before my eyes. As questions whirled around my head I considered decisions I had earlier made regarding SEO, keywords in domain names rather than branding, colour schemes, carrying same designs into other tourism sites, all of work I had done was now in question. So what did I do? Did I fight? Well… Yes, and No!
Message Board Security ProblemsWritten by T Frady
Security leaks can be a big problem for any site using a message board. Hackers can actually use your message board to go in and change things on your site. This has happened to me at least four times. Once an iframe was added to every single page of one of my very large sites. Thankfully, I had it completely backed up, so all I had to do was send pages back up to server. Twice, front page of one of my sites was hijacked. The entire content of front page was replaced by some note from a hacker stating he had been there.
The last time one of my sites had to be taken down to prevent server from crashing. After calling my web host they were able to tell me my message board was cause of problem. I used, and still do on some sites, phpbb message board. It is one of most popular boards on internet, and it's free. The web host tech told me that problem was that a virus of sorts had been placed onto server, through message board, in message board folder, and was calling out to other servers causing a major load on my web host's server. To fix problem web host tech found file and deleted it. After that, all I had to do was update to latest version of phpbb and so far so good.