29 August 2012

I am tired of sucking at the internet.

iStock

So, if you read yesterday's post (was it really only yesterday?) I'm trying to do the right thing with the images on this site (removing, attributing, resubmitting) and I'm adding plain and simple copyright notices on the artwork I've featured on the site to try and prevent the images from being distributed illegally...

And it turns out, I'm still doing things wrong. I was trying to remove images that don't belong to me from my Picasa Web Album. When you upload a pic from your hard drive to Blogger, a copy of it automatically goes to your Picasa album.

I did not feel comfortable having images that I don't personally own ending up in my Picasa album, even if they were free images from Wikimedia Commons or similar. I thought that removing those pictures, then reposting the images from the URL, was another way of showing additional proper attributions. Nope. I've got it all wrong. 

Turns out I've been hotlinking. I didn't even know what that meant until I came across this article. But basically, when you upload an image into your post and choose Blogger's option submit from a URL, you are using that other site's bandwidth to house the image on your blogger page.

So yeah. It's another form of stealing. Didn't know that, so I get to go back and redo all those posts over again that have images I resubmitted via URL, and then download and upload them to Blogger properly.

Another dumb lesson I learned today? I've been getting referrer spam in Blogger. You can read about it here and here. Basically, if you keep an eye on your Stats, you'll see a section that lists Referring URLS and then the website address, and to the right, the number of referrals. This interests me because I like to see where my traffic comes from and get a rough idea of who's dropping by.

But there were a few links that were showing up for referrals, and it really freaked me out. You know, like porn sites, or "normal websites" that really had nothing to do with my site at all. Completely random stuff.

There are two causes for this:
  1. Referral spam--the web addresses listed as starts are spam, and you're redirected to the spammer site, which then adds more bogus links and stats to your Blogger.
  2. Other people are hotlinking to my site--Yes, if there are sites that don't seem to be spammy, but still seem completely irrelevant to your own website, they could be hotlinking images from your site and driving traffic that way. Usually through research you can find out if they are embedding your stuff into their site. In other words, stealing. See previous info for lesson learned.
The moral of the story: DO NOT CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS IN THE BLOGGER STATS PAGE FOR "REFERRING URLS."  

I'd been clicking on them, trying to figure out why the hell porn sites and healthcare sites would be drawing traffic here. They're not. It's all fake, the stats, and the URLThey're relying on me to be a dumbass, click on the link, and then generate more spammy whammy so the circle continues evermore.

If you want legitimate site info, work with Google Analystics (I do notice that they have different referring URL info that what Blogger shows me); or special third-party stat counter programs.

Please learn from these mistakes. They are time-consuming, aggravating, and annoying to fix...so Bloggers, beware, and get it right the first time you blog!

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