Saturday, August 21, 2010

This, I Do Not "Get"

I use StumbleUpon, quite frequently, to help stave off boredom. Many other stumblers will suggest stand-alone images that they found within the larger context of a full web page. As such, they will create a direct-link to the image rather than the containing page.

More than a few sites put "hotlink protection" in place to prevent other people embedding the images hosted on their sites from being embedded in other sites. Most cite "bandwidth protection". Now, I'm not going to bother with pointing out that the whole point of the world wide web was to help conserve disk space (etc.) by making it so that any given object only live in one cardinal location and be referenced elsewhere. I'm not even going to bother pointing out that, if you've a copyright to a given piece of work, it's a lot easier to track its usage if you host the work rather than necessitating that people download it and then host their own copy of it.

At any rate, I was Stumbling, once again, today. I hit the Stumble button and was taken to the following page: 

Now, the link seems to indicate that the intended image was a 1600x1220px JPEG. Depending on the image in question, that could be a fairly decent chunk of bandwidth or it could be only a few 10s of kilobytes. Yet, the "blocked" page kicks back a few kilobytes worth of data, as well. So, it begs the question: if your goal is bandwidth protection, why not set your hotlink protection to something that chews up FAR less bandwidth. I mean, as it stands, these guys just come across as utter tools. They might want to reconsider their protection scheme. I mean, every URL that StumbleUpon sends to my browser comes with a StumbleUpon referer. The site owners could put an exception in place for StumbleUpon referers that either displayed the picture or just redirected them to their home page. I mean, at least that way, they can take the free publicity as a means of getting site traffic.

Whatever. I mean, if you're so hard up for bandwidth that a popular 1600x1220 JPEG's going to put you over the top, maybe you should send back something a bit more terse and bandwidth efficient.


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