Ihnatko.com going offline

(Sigh) Looks like I didn’t fix the problem after all. More of those spam links started showing up in served pages.

Yeah, I’m pretty furious.

Oh, right: “Ihnatko.com will be going up and down over the next day or three as I nuke the whole installation and reinstall the original content.”

There.

Moving on.

What pisses me off is the fact that this is just a cold and mechanical system for gaming Google’s pagerank system and driving traffic to sites that have subscribed to some sort of service powered by hacked sites. The sites being linked to “look” more important by virtue of the fact that so many sites are linking to them, which means that they’ll appear higher in search results. The site owners might even possibly be naive enough not to know that the “consultant” promising to get them higher rankings is actually responsible for infecting hundreds of thousands of sites with spamlinks.

I hate that I have to take my site offline and that I now have a BIG project on my hands. But what pisses me off is the statement that these people are making about their relationship with the rest of Humanity.

I’m suddenly thinking of an old SNL sketch. It was a talk show in which all three of the day’s guests had “ruined things for everyone.” In possibly the last funny thing he ever did, Jim Belushi played the guy who had ruined hitchhiking.

“For those of you who don’t know what ‘hitchhiking’ was,” the host explained, “for the first five or six decades of this century, if you needed a ride and didn’t have a car, you could just stand by the side of the road and hold your arm out with your thumb pointing up, like this. Drivers would actually stop, pick you up, and let you ride along with them for free.”

“Yeah, it was pretty sweet,” the guest said. “Well, so one day I’ve just been picked up — nice guy and everything — and I don’t know why, but it suddenly occurred to me: ‘I could kill him right now, and nobody would ever know it was me’. You know? There was nobody around, I was a complete stranger…it was awesome! I’d always wanted to kill people, but I never could figure out how to do it and get away with it.”

“So you killed him.”

“Right, stabbed him to death with my pocket knife. Anyway, so I dumped the body and now I’m driving around in his car. And I see a hitchhiker up ahead in the road. I realized that the same thing could work for the people who get picked up, too! No witnesses, no connection between you and the victim…I couldn’t believe nobody had thought of it! It was great; I bet I killed maybe 200, 300 people over the next five years. At some point, though, I couldn’t get any more rides. Even when I switched roles, I couldn’t find any people to pick up and kill.”

“Because word had spread that hitchhikers and people who picked up hitchhikers were getting brutally murdered.”

“Right.”

“You ruined hitchhiking for everybody.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Well, what are you up to these days?”

“You know that thing where every day, a man walks right up to your house and hand-delivers your mail? Don’t get too attached to it.”

You know what I’m saying here? I swatted my first mosquito of the season today. Mosquitoes are a colossal nuisance. But what can you do about them? It’s just Nature.

Spam and these kinds of hacks get me pissed because they’re a completely man-made nuisance. We could live in a world in which email and blogs and all kinds of other services just plain work. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough for many people, I guess.

I was having dinner with a friend when we started talking about that recent movie in which a mysterious man with half a face offers a Big Red Button to a couple in dire financial straits. “Push this button, and you will receive one million dollars,” he says, through an open cheek. “But somewhere in the world, a complete stranger will die.”

I said that under no circumstances could any moral person press the button.

My friend is way smarter than I am. She said “I’d accept the deal…only so I could grab the button away from him and make sure he couldn’t give it to anybody else.”

There are so many people out there who wouldn’t think twice about hitting that button. The larger lesson is that the Button exists in so many shapes and forms and it’s being slid towards us every day.

The shady contractor who charges a homeowner $50 for appliance removal and just dumps the old fridge or stove in an unguarded vacant lot on his way home. The financier who willfully dismantles the foundations of his own bank so he can clean up on a bet he made that its investments would fail; the idiot at the public library last week who decided that the Quiet Room — yes, even within the context of a library, a room with a big sign that says “QUIET ROOM” — was the perfect place to rip open, process, and crumple up a pile of 100 cellophane-windowed envelopes…these people need to be nailed up inside wooden boxes and shipped off to an island populated solely with like-minded individuals. Then they’ll know the true definition of Hell.

Hell isn’t a place where you’re tormented by the Devil. Hell isn’t even (as the Catholic Church defines it, I think) the simple absence of God. Hell is a closed community in which everybody thinks selfishly 100% of the time. And I can’t imagine a worse curse than to be unable to empathize with other people’s needs, or appreciate the effects your behavior can have — positively and negatively — on others.

At least the idiot with the envelopes responded to a quiet, but firm, “you can’t do that in here.” He can stay, I suppose. I’m going to yak-yak-yak about the need to be thoughtful and sensitive, I suppose it’s all meaningless if I don’t put it into actual practice.

But I really wanted to take him outside and smash a dozen raw eggs over his head, one at a time. What can I say. I am but an imperfect vessel for the Universe’s perfection.

17 thoughts on “Ihnatko.com going offline”

  1. Have you considered using a third-party service like Disqus? I’m sure you have, but it’s a fairly solid service and I know there are WordPress plugins that allow for easy implementation.

    I’m a developer myself, and even someone like myself would rather have them (Disqus) deal with the trouble than rely on WordPress’ often problematic software.

    Good luck with the nuke.

  2. It’s discouraging to find how little has changed since kindergarten. All it takes is one knucklehead to ruin everything for everyone. I try to turn it inside out & marvel at how much actually does work – considering that civilization essentially works on the honor system. If you think about the random nature of the universe, and the very narrow range of possibilities that we consider remotely acceptable, the fact that anything goes as expected could be defined as a miracle. I TRY to see things from that perspective, though the astounding persistence of dumbassery does make it a challenge.
    Sorry to hear about all your troubles with the spam vermin. Thanks for taking the extraordinary measures to fix the mess rather than just giving up & shutting it down.

  3. You should see if Leo can hook you up with a free squarespace account. This is the second time you’ve been hacked. In the words of our former president, fool me once … Can’t get fooled again.

  4. That truly does suck. However, it seems like a really good opportunity to give SquareSpace a try, since Leo and Merlin speak so highly of it…

  5. @Charlie, @Jeff – I’ve been avoiding Squarespace (and WordPress.com) because it’s yet another service that’s going to cost me $20 a month…those things pile up. And I couldn’t accept an ongoing freebie account for my personal blog.

  6. I’m pretty sure WordPress.com is free for most features. If they charge, it’s something trivial like $25/year, not per month.

    There’s also Blogger.com, Tumblr, and others. Neither of those two charge fees though; they don’t even require ads. Tumblr offers built in comments, pages, and a healthy dose of professionally designed, creative themes that don’t look like Every Other WordPress Site on The Planet too.

  7. My favorite comment system is the one John Gruber uses. Free, too. :)

    Seriously, though, my next blog is totally going to leverage the tumblr backend. WordPress has become more of a liability than an asset, I’m afraid.

  8. Fair enough. I did not realize it was that expensive. I certainly can understand not wanting to add another monthly cost, I’ve been trying to cut my monthly costs as well. Good luck with everything. It’s unfortunate this kind of thing happens.

  9. Squarespace us a $2 water gun, compared to the fire hose wordpress.org is. This is not even an CMS issue, it’s networksolutions and they that should get beaten with a barbed wire, not wordpress!

  10. Yep, this sort of thing is disappointing to say the least. I put up a little forum to support (and promote) my software products. One day I discovered hundreds of bogus accounts that were created a few at a time and left active to perhaps be used for link spam later (there was some PM spam). These far outnumbered the real accounts. It had been going on for months. Re-captcha didn’t stop it. Now I have manual approval of every new account, most of which I just ignore (there’s a pattern). But if anybody wants to report a bug or just a leave a comment, they can’t without a fair amount of hassle. Just what neither of us need.

  11. “…these people need to be nailed up inside wooden boxes and shipped off to an island populated solely with like-minded individuals. Then they’ll know the true definition of Hell.”

    John Paul Sartre covered this idea in “No Exit,” as did Rod Serling in an episode of “Night Gallery.” Sartre’s version takes 90 minutes to discuss what could be done in 40 or less.

    Your friend is indeed moral, much like the convict in the Batman movie who tosses the detonator button into the harbor rather than blow up the other ferry.

    The danger, as I see it, is that merely having the button will change one’s behavior.

    Good luck on the nuke. Pity one can’t nuke the vermin themselves.

    g.

  12. I agree that the .1% of ne’er-do-wells can ruin the fun for the 99.9% of people just trying to get by day-to-day.

    What if the ninety-nine-point-nine-percenters could gang up on the good-for-nothings? That’d be the WordPress Spammer Blocker plugin.

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