Archive for December 20th, 2007

Dec 20, '07

I’ve written before about “made for adware” (MFA) websites — those parts of the web that are created solely to host lots of (mainly Google) ads, and thereby make their creators loads of money.

Well, this one “hallwebhosting.com” is a little different. I first came across it a few months back when it was clearly still under development, but it seems to have settled down now — so that it’s worth looking at exactly what they’re doing.

The problem that such sites have is that they need to create lots of content really quickly, get indexed by Google so that people can find them, and then wait for the clicks (and the money) to roll in. The people behind hallwebhosting have had a cute idea for this — they take existing content from other sites and do word substitutions on sentences to produce what they clearly intend to be identical in meaning (so the site will figure in web search results), but different enough that the indexing spider won’t treat it as identical text.

So, for example, this section from Wikipedia’s page on Windows Server 2003:

Released on April 24, 2003, Windows Server 2003 (which carries the version number 5.2) is the follow-up to Windows 2000 Server, incorporating compatibility and other features from Windows XP. Unlike Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003’s default installation has none of the server components enabled, to reduce the attack surface of new machines. Windows Server 2003 includes compatibility modes to allow older applications to run with greater stability.

becomes:

Released on April 24, 2003, Windows Server 2003 (which carries the form quantity 5.2) is the follow-up to Windows 2000 Server, incorporating compatibility and other skin from Windows XP. Unlike Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003’s evasion installation has none of the attendant workings enabled, to cut the molest outward of new machines. Windows Server 2003 includes compatibility modes to allow big applications to gush with larger stability.

I first noticed this site because they rendered a Wikipedia article about my NTP DDoS work, entitled “NTP server misuse and abuse” into “NTP wine waiter knock about and abuse” … the contents of which almost makes sense:

“In October 2002, one of the first known hand baggage of phase wine waiter knock about resulted in troubles for a mess wine waiter at Trinity College, Dublin”

for doubtless a fine old university has wine waiters to spare, and a mess for them to work in.

Opinions around here differ as to whether this is machine translation (as in all those old stories about “Out of sight, out of mind” being translated to Russian and then back as “Invisible idiot”) or imaginative use of a thesaurus where “wine waiter” is a hyponym of “server”.

So fas as I can see, this is all potentially lawful — Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License so if there was an acknowledgement of the original article’s authors then all would be fine. But there isn’t — so in fact, all is not fine!

However, even if this (perhaps) oversight was corrected, some articles are clearly copyright infringements.

For example, this article from shellaccounts.biz entitled Professional Web Site Hosting Checklist appears to be entirely covered by copyright, yet it has been rendered into this amusement:

In harmony to create sure you get what you’ve been looking for from a qualified confusion put hosting server, here are a few stuff you should take into tally before deciding on a confusion hosting provider.

where you’ll see that “site” has become “put”, “web” has become “confusion” (!) and later on “requirements” becomes “food” which leads to further hilarity.

However, beyond the laughter, this is pretty clearly yet another ham-fisted attempt to clutter up the web with dross in the hopes of making money. This time it’s not Google adwords, but banner ads, and other franchised links, but it’s still essentially “MFA”. These types of site will continue until advertisers get more savvy about the websites that they don’t wish to be associated with — at which point the flow of money will cease and the sites will disappear.

To finish by being lighthearted again, the funniest page (so far) is the reworking of the Wikipedia article on “Terminal Servers” … since servers once again becomes “wine waiters”, but “terminal” naturally enough, becomes “fatal”. The image is clear.


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