Web Legalities: Bandwidth Stealing

Written by Richard Lowe

Information (files) loaded to or from servers is called bandwidth. Every time you upload a file to your ISP, surfrepparttar web or download a video, you are using bandwidth.

Bandwidth is limited. Why? Because it actually is a bunch of wires or fibers connecting servers torepparttar 132106 global network. And wires can only carry so much data. When someone attempts to get more data than can be handled byrepparttar 132107 wire,repparttar 132108 transmission ofrepparttar 132109 data is slowed down.

Some ISPs limitrepparttar 132110 amount of data that a site can use during a particular time period. As an example, an ISP might limit you to 1gb of data per month for your flat fee, then charge you an extra $10 for each additional gigabyte. Some ofrepparttar 132111 more obnoxious ISPs actually just block transmissions whenrepparttar 132112 bandwidth is exceeded (effectively putting that site out of business for a time).

It's common practice to load most ofrepparttar 132113 images, sound files, videos and documents in your web on your own site. This excludes, of course, advertising banners which are rotated and some specific documents and images which are supposed to be loaded from a central location.

It's common among amateurs and beginners to link to images and other files directly to some other server instead of putting them on their local server. Sometimes they just don't know better, sometimes they are just lazy, and sometimes they've just run out of space at their free host.


Written by Richard Lowe

ethical: conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct -- Merriam-Webster OnLine: Collegiate Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary.htm 2001. (17 August 2001).

I swear, internet marketing companies are getting more obnoxious and unethical every day. I guess it was just naive to thingrepparttar banner ad risen to it's highest heights of stupidity withrepparttar 132104 "punchrepparttar 132105 money" banner. And I don't know about you, but I didn't really believerepparttar 132106 marketers could get any lower onrepparttar 132107 scum scale thanrepparttar 132108 exit windows that run away fromrepparttar 132109 cursor so they are more difficult to close.

Well, I was wrong and I admit I was incredibly naive.

The marketers have come up with some incredibly unethical, horribly annoying gimmicks. The dirty tricks they are pulling now make exit windows look like child's play. In fact,repparttar 132110 games these boys are playing makesrepparttar 132111 marketing methods ofrepparttar 132112 scummiest adult web sites look downright professional in comparison.

The trend seems to have started a few years ago with a handy little utility called Gator. This "tool" professed to offer a great benefit to surfers -repparttar 132113 ability to rememberrepparttar 132114 contents of forms and password entry screens. Further, since Gator is actually pretty good at recognizing that a page contains a known form or password entry field, it is indeed very useful. I installedrepparttar 132115 program for a while and found it to be a wonderful complement to my surfing.

True, it did have this annoying habit of throwing a "coupon" up on my screen occasionally. I didn't think much about it at all - I just closedrepparttar 132116 coupon as quick as I could. This phenomenon didn't happen very often - in fact, at first I had difficulty figuring out what was actually causing it to occur. I naturally assumed this was a feature ofrepparttar 132117 web site that I was visiting.

However,repparttar 132118 coupons slowly became more and more common, and they began appearing atrepparttar 132119 worst possible times. They interfered with my shopping and surfing habits by breaking my train of concentration and thought.

I began to try and understand this strange phenomenon. I quickly realized this was a byproduct of Gator - and I soon understood thatrepparttar 132120 utility was simply "bait" to get people to install an insidious, almost evil, advertising machine on their systems. In fact,repparttar 132121 program is so obnoxious and so unethical that I truly believe no sane person would install it, no matter whatrepparttar 132122 benefit, if they completely understood what was going on.

Gator (and other similar, but less popular products) is something called a "Browser Helper Object". What this means is it is a small program which makes itself known to Internet Explorer, telling IE that to send information to Gator aboutrepparttar 132123 web pages that are being loaded intorepparttar 132124 browser. It'srepparttar 132125 job of a Browser Helper Object to extendrepparttar 132126 capabilities ofrepparttar 132127 browser in a useful way. Inrepparttar 132128 case of Gator,repparttar 132129 usefulness is to recognize forms and password entry fields so default values can be inserted.

In addition, Gator wants to know what kinds of advertisements are appearing onrepparttar 132130 pages that are being loaded. It also wants to see ifrepparttar 132131 page's subject is related to a product which one of it's paid advertisers is hawking. This is it's real purpose. The convenience is just a smoke screen.

Let's say you are surfing to your favorite shopping site and you want to order some flowers. You proceed torepparttar 132132 flower shop and suddenly a "coupon" magically appears in front of you, offering you flowers elsewhere, presumably better or at a lower cost.

Okay, let's put this in real world terms so you can understand what's really going on. Let's pretend you are atrepparttar 132133 mall, going from shop to shop. There is this guy (let's call him Benedict) standing behind you with a notebook and pen in his hand. He has a bag of flyers hanging from one shoulder and a money counting machine onrepparttar 132134 other.

As you go from store to store Benedict watches your every move (byrepparttar 132135 way, he has a radio and reports everything you do back to his home office where it is permanently recorded). You go into a clothing store and pick up a pair of jeans. Suddenly a flyer appears under your nose, informing you there are cheaper, better jeans in a shop downrepparttar 132136 road. You look Benedict and he smiles nicely at you. You pushrepparttar 132137 flyer out ofrepparttar 132138 way and keep shopping.

Now you go into a candy store and walk up torepparttar 132139 counter to order some chocolate. Again, a flyer appears in front of your face offering you chocolate at discount prices in a competing store. You pushrepparttar 132140 flyer out ofrepparttar 132141 way and pick out some chocolate that you want to purchase. Benedict pulls out his money counting machine, takes your wallet, countsrepparttar 132142 money, hands it torepparttar 132143 cashier, and returns your wallet. This, byrepparttar 132144 way, isrepparttar 132145 "benefit" that makes it useful to have Benedict around.

I'll bet it wouldn't take long before you either calledrepparttar 132146 cops or punched Benedict inrepparttar 132147 nose! And, of course,repparttar 132148 store operators would make sure Benedict was arrested and thrown in jail, and they would suerepparttar 132149 company for sure.

Well, guess what, it's gotten worse and more unethical, as hard as that is to believe.

According to reports, Gator is now working on a version which not only throws coupons in front of your face, it actually finds banners ads and covers them up with other advertisements so carefully and precisely that you would never knowrepparttar 132150 original ad was there.

Now Benedict runs ahead of you as you shop and replaces all ofrepparttar 132151 signs with advertisements for other stores. If you walked through our hypothetical mall and peaked under that ad for a movie, you might find there is actually an ad for an entirely different movie there. The billboard might actually be advertising something totally different. In fact,repparttar 132152 signs inrepparttar 132153 stores themselves could be replaced with signs directing you to other stores.

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