A few days ago, the site was down for an hour or two. I got in touch with my friendly webmaster, who explained that a major news site* had hotlinked a picture of Michael Hiltzik on my server. In other words, instead of grabbing the picture and putting it on the server of the major news site, the site had simply embedded the URL of the picture, and used my server’s resources to show their audience the picture.
My server was being accessed about 1000 times a minute, he said. It knocked me off line in no time flat.
He sent them a polite note asking them to stop. No response. He replaced the image at the URL in question with a blank image. Still no response.
Finally, he suggested that he could replace the picture with another one . . . which would cause the picture of Hiltzik to be replaced with the one he had in mind.
He showed me what he was talking about. “Do it,” I said. (As soon as I had stopped laughing.)
Very quickly, the site resolved the problem, and my site was back up.
But not before my webmaster got a screenshot:
*My webmaster has revealed the name of the site: allthingsd.com. I’d never heard of it before, but it’s apparently a Dow Jones site, capable of generating 1000 hits to my server in a minute with a picture of Michael Hiltzik. So it’s not like ABC News or anything like that, but big enough to know better.