Well, you can’t keep a good blog down — or defective yeti either, apparently. Despite my attempts to put the site out to pasture for a week and save on bandwidth costs, the homepage kept lurching from the grave like a villain from an 80’s era slasher film and reinstalling itself at /index.html, repeatedly clobbering the “Gone Fishing” message I had put there.
It took me the weekend to figure out how it was pulling off this Lazarus routine, but now I think it can be attributed to the same force that is responsible for, like, 94% of everything that happens on the Internet: spammers. Comment spammers, specifically.
Comment spammers don’t visit blogs, click on the “comment” link, and then carefully type in their pitch for “Viagra, Cialis, Zyban, Prozac, Xenical, and many many more!” Instead, they have scripts that cycle through a database full of mt-comment.cgi URLs and pass the text of their spam directly to the script as the “text” parameter, thereby bypassing the webpage entirely*. So while I had dy shut down to real users, the comment spammers were still merrily pinging the mt-comment.cgi script on a regular basis — and incidentally rebuilding index.html every time they did. Several times over the weekend I drifted over to defectiveyeti.com and saw that the homepage had once again broken out of the back yard and was running loose in the neighborhood.
Well, hell. I guess I could just disable the mt-comment.cgi script, but, seriously, at this point it’s becoming more work to abandon the site than to maintain it. So I guess I’ll just keep posting for the rest of the month, bandwidth bill be damned.
A big thanks to everyone who offered to chip in funds to cover costs. I really appreciate the offers, although I’m not prepared to go the PayPal route just yet. Taking people’s money means that this blog becomes a job (at least in my mind), and I think we’ll all be happier if I continue to approach it as a hobby. I like knowing that I can take a week off or blather on about my my personal obsessions without feeling like I’m letting down my stockholders. Besides, what if you kicked in $10 to keep dy up for the rest of March and then the next seven days worth of entries were lame? (Which, judging from my “yeti to-do” list, is going to be the case. Just you watch.)
Some good things came out of the shutdown, by the way. I found a slew of bandwidth thieves who had been hotlinking to jpgs in my images directory and shut them all down, so that should cut by throughput by a quarter right there. And I’ve arranged to have the site hosted elsewhere starting in April, so we shouldn’t see this again.
For the remainder of this week I plan to keep my bandwidth overrun costs to a minimum by keeping the images shut off, limiting the homepage posts to five, and only writing dull and uninspired entires to ensure that no one links to them.
* It occurs to me that there may be an easy way to foil automated comment spammers, based on the fact that they don’t actually go through an individual page to post. You could put a hidden field in you Movable Type template — <input type=”hidden” name=”commentspammerssuck” value=”1″ />, say — and then put a line in mt-comments.cgi that tells it to exit immediately if that parameter isn’t present. Shit, that might actually work. I’ll try it and report my findings.