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yep, I'm still here

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hardartist
I get some stats by virtue of the KeenSpace thingie, so I thought I'd share with you some of the more important stats I get.:

Summary by Month
Month Daily Avg Monthly Totals
Hits Files Pages Visits Sites KBytes Visits Pages Files Hits
Apr 2003 225134 177879 95445 18645 221998 285834658 559351 2863360 5336392 6754035
Mar 2003 229412 187066 95927 17614 218394 309890200 546061 2973749 5799067 7111772
Feb 2003 216471 178371 90741 15132 185733 266761792 423697 2540762 4994409 6061208


I hope this gives an idea of the popularity of a typical popular comic site. There are certainly more popular out there, but this is the #1 on KeenSpace. Of particular interest is that between March and April Visits went up, but everything else went *down*. There's an interesting story why.

In late March, I discovered a major drain on bandwidth -- some guy decided to hotlink 10 strips in a thread of a very popular incest forum. Hotlinking in this case means that they directly linked the comic image itself and placed it on the page. Whenever somone opened up that thread, well over a MEG worth of images were downloaded from sexylosers.com. On a popular forum, that added up quickly. Looking at the logs, I get the feeling it was responsible for about 30-50GIGs worth of drain. I noticed that site because it made it into the top 10 referrers, above Yahoo, and Google.

I did read that thread, and the guy at the end of posting the 10 strips, promised more. I E-mailed the admin and asked him/her to remove the thread, and they did.

WHen I talk to other 'space artists, they don't really seem to have this problem. A look through my logs show that my images get put right into quite a number of threads on BBSes, and are often put into people's blogs. I can't tell for sure, but hotlinking probably accounts for 20% of the bandwidth. That means 20% of the comics read have no advertising to balance out the cost of the bandwidth.

This is serious. When I was on Stileproject, I had the ability to protect the images. On KeenSpace, I do not -- I don't have access to CGI or PHP or anything that would allow me to stop people. I tried splitting up the images, but beyond that meaning more work for me, people got around that by just copying the HTML that reassembled the image.

Anyways, if you own a blog and hotlink an image, I am asking to please stop this practice. If you want to link to a strip, please link to the HTML page it is found.

I am looking into other ways (besides renaming the images constantly, or using Javascript) to protect the images. In the meantime, please help me reduce bandwidth and keep KeenSpace viable.

(I have contacted various people on KeenSpace about this problem, but so far, no response. I am not sure why -- one would think they'd be interested in keeping their bandwidth managable).

gah, i really agree with you. i hate goddamn bandwidth leeches. i like how it is with SA, you hotlink, you feel the pain.

are you allowed to setup an .htaccess for your site's different directores? or does keenspace suport that

I know with the proper configuration you can setitup so that ONLY referals from your page can load a directory (like a sctrip directory)

this keeps people from hot linking... and even makes it so that people can't simply enter the comic url from the address bar

OK... this is from Appache's documentation...
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/env.html (at the bottom)
--------------------
Prevent "Image Theft"
This example shows how to keep people not on your server from using images on your server as inline-images on their pages. This is not a recommended configuration, but it can work in limited circumstances. We assume that all your images are in a directory called /web/images.

SetEnvIf Referer "^http://www.example.com/" local_referal
# Allow browsers that do not send Referer info
SetEnvIf Referer "^$" local_referal
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<directory /web/images>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

OK... this is from Appache's documentation...
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/env.html (at the bottom)
--------------------
Prevent "Image Theft"
This example shows how to keep people not on your server from using images on your server as inline-images on their pages. This is not a recommended configuration, but it can work in limited circumstances. We assume that all your images are in a directory called /web/images.

SetEnvIf Referer "^http://www.example.com/" local_referal
# Allow browsers that do not send Referer info
SetEnvIf Referer "^$" local_referal
<Directory /web/images>
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
Allow from env=local_referal
</Directory>
Note: spelling of 'referer' and 'referal' is intentional.
------------------------------------------------


you should be able to create a document in your root directory called ".htaccess" which would have the code snippet in there...

edit to fit your needs...

but if keenspace is not using apache i don't know what would fix it... hell... even if it is using apache... they might not be allowing overides (which is what .htaccess is)

At the even bottmer (is that a word?) of that link is a better one

http://www.serverwatch.com/tutorials/article.php/1132731

How to keep your images from adorning other sites

Are there any viable alternatives to KeenSpace that would allow you to use their site, give you full control over PHP/CGI functions/scripts? I would think that with the popularity of the strips, anyone would be willing to spare bandwidth if it gives them some name recognition. I think if I had the bandwidth, I could host you, and let you have access to everything so you can prevent the hotlinking and secure your images down proper.

Best wishes, and looking forward to more strips,

Michael D. Garcia

Re: A simple, stupid question...

hardartist

2003-05-02 06:11 pm (UTC)

At nearly 300 GIGs of bandwidth a month, nobody will step up to the plate.

I've got the same problem to a lesser degree. Every month I find a few of my more topical comics directly posted (the video game style comic above all, and now some of the job comics). On the other hand, my comic's not even a tenth as popular as yours, so it doesn't suck up enough bandwidth for anyone to care ;)

I'll let you know if I see any SL comics where they don't belong.

Please don't use javascript!

(Anonymous)

2003-05-02 04:33 pm (UTC)

It would be very nice if you would not use Javascript to protect
the comics.

I personally made very good experience with looking at the referrer
when someone loads a picture from my page: When the referer is
on a black list (where ebay.de and various forums are listed), the
picture is replaced with a "stolen by" picture.

I use Apache's Rewrite-rules to do that with an automatically
regenerated httpd.conf

If the user uses firewalls or privacy tools to obsfuscate the
referer then he can see the picture anyway.
But the majority of users who send correct referrers and
watch an ebay-page where the picture is abused see some
'nice' comment

And daily a script generates a list sorted by hits with the
referers. Legitimate referes are sorted out already. So I can constanty
update the blacklist and see who's stealing bandwith

Well too sad that you write you don't have PHP or CGI. But
if you would have that, I think what I described would be
very friendly to people who just want to see the comic
with ANY browser and privacy tools installed.


Has Keenspace ever written to you because of the huge
amount of bandwith? Did they ever complain?
They should care for that and create a solution
for all comics hosted by them!


I personally go to your page daily (and whenever I'm
bored) to see whether there's a new strip. Maybe
a mailing-list or a RSS-feed or so that will be
immediately updated when there's a new comic could
be a way to keep your VERY REGULAR visitors away
from the page and save lots of bandwith??

I bet lots of us view your page hourly ;-)

Good luck with the bandwith problem! And thanks
for this great comic!

Please feel free to keep this screened, or delete after reading.

The reason CERN Web was invented was to allow information to be easily referenced via links. Eventually more than text could be linked but images (with the invention of the IMG tag). My reason for mentioning this is that linking is the nature of the Web and trying to fight that is always going to be akin to an arms race.

Short of a server-side solution, I'd like to proffer extending the strip jpeg to include one advertisement. A reusable image map could be applied to link just that section. Then if your intellectual property is misappropriated, at least the supporter's advert will remain visible. Removing said ad would be a multi-step process for those that will take the time to save the image, open it, crop it, and post it elsewhere (thereby using their bandwidth).

So there's one idea. There are, as you know, a million ways to skin this particular cat. However, I wanted to take time to share this idea with you not because I'm an opinionated fuck, but rather that I truly love your work and want more.

Thank you for your time, and your art.

Re: A simple, stupid question...

hardartist

2003-05-02 05:09 pm (UTC)

The unfortunate part of this solution is:

1) including an advertisement would increase the size of the file.
2) There is just no way for me to do that. The advertisements that pay for the bandwidth are handled and selected by Keenspace, not me. So not only is it techincally difficult, putting ads in the comic would not affect KeenSpace's income. Keenspace would receive the same amount of income from their sponsors, no matter what I did.

Thanks anyway for the idea.

You're right- this doesn't seem to happen to many people- I KNOW it doesn't really happen to me. And I've even seen somewhat responsible keenspacers (those with comics who should know better) hotlinking to keenspace/spot comics in their journals. And all the little offenders can add up.

The problem with changing the name of the image files is that they show up as "x"s and generate a 404 log, which can create in itself a large file. I got yelled at for that on keenspace when i mistakenly hosted a "what character are you?" quiz and after a while took it down because it was starting to get too big. So I went back and made little one by one pixel images and named them as those files.

And you'd think keenspace would be interested in keeping their bandwidth managable.. they don't really police sites to see if people are keeping within the supposed 100k and under per page limit. And that limit isn't a rule at all, just a suggestion. You're averaging 99k per page, which is really good for full color and that size and that many readers.

I still think the best way to combat this problem is peer pressure. Make people feel bad, and get their buddies to tell them.

That's a whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooole lotta megs!!!!!!!!!!!! o.0; Have you tried one of those javascript no right click things? It might slow 'em down a little...

Keenspace can be lazy, it's nothing personal Hard, they're not ignoring you, they ignore pretty much everybody

~Aragorn
One Hour Axis
kectug.keenspace.com

Re: A simple, stupid question...

hardartist

2003-05-02 05:13 pm (UTC)

The problem is not with them saving the files locally, but them hotlinking the image. Disabling right click does not stop people from hotlinking the image.

I don't know if this will help or not, but I saw this one site where the guy protected his images in a different way... Rather than using javascript or anything like that, he simply placed a transparent gif over every jpeg. Trying to save the pic would get you nothing but the transparent gif...

Re: A simple, stupid question...

hardartist

2003-05-02 05:42 pm (UTC)

Read the just-above comment by me, it applies here as well.

Try making a .htaccess file in your www or public_html directory with the following:

#####
RewriteEngine On
# prevent hotlinking
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://sexylosers.keenspace.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(gif|GIF|jpg|JPG|png|PNG)$ - [F]
#####

This will only work with the apache http server, but keenspace is probably using it. It's near-ubiquitous. :)

^^^
Sorry, I forgot to mention that you'd need to throw one of those .htaccess files in every directory on your server with images you want to protect.

Sexy Losers and free comics

(Anonymous)

2003-05-02 06:55 pm (UTC)

I noticed that Keen Space has two comics out for the "Free Comic Book Day" on May 3rd. Is SL in either of those? Know anything about them

Re: A simple, stupid question...

hardartist

2003-05-03 12:21 am (UTC)

If KeenSpace has two free comic books coming out on Free Comic Book day, that's news to me. If KeenSpace has ANY comic books coming out at ALL, that's news to me. You might be thinking of KeenSpot.

Here’s my go.

I can see that it would be next to impossible to rename all your old strips. What about keeping the old strips in a single folder (or having a single folder at one point in your file hierarchy) and renaming that on a semi-regular basis. That would cut out the hotlinks whenever you got around the handy renaming and all you’d have to do is edit your archive code once per rename.

Re: A simple, stupid question...

hardartist

2003-05-03 12:48 am (UTC)

It would be a good idea if I was more sure about how my account worked. The directory I use to put the images in was created for that particular use when they created my account. I'm not sure how renaming that folder would affect things. If I was more confident about knowing how KeenSpace worked, I would do it.

I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the intent of the message. With a KeenSpace account, I understand my hands are tied in a lot of ways which wouldn't be if I had a normal account. I guess what I'm saying is I don't want your suggestions, as I'd spend all my time explaining why a particular idea wouldn't work with an account as finicky as KeenSpace. Instead, what I am asking is that you please take care in what you link to in the site.

I am not sure why, but all my responses have "Re: A simple, stupid question..." as the subject matter. I don't know why Mozilla puts it in by default. It's not what I think of people's responses here.

You probably set mozilla to automatically fill out the form for you (probably for the password entry). You can check in Tools -> Password Manager -> Manage Stored Passwords.

I don't understand somethings

(Anonymous)

2003-05-03 06:55 am (UTC)

I don't really understand how all this web stuff works, so I'm begging forgiveness for my ignorance in advance.
When you put up the warning page, you told us how to bookmark so we skip past it. Doesn't that hurt your revenue because we're not seeing the ad on the first page.
Also, what is the difference between a hit and a visit? It sounds like the same thing to me.
Lastly, I'm assuming the numbers you gave us are all yours. Do you have numbers for all of KS so we can compare and better understand what you're talking about.
Thanks.

Re: I don't understand somethings

hardartist

2003-05-03 03:56 pm (UTC)

When you put up the warning page, you told us how to bookmark so we skip past it. Doesn't that hurt your revenue because we're not seeing the ad on the first page.

No, because the ads are on EVERY PAGE.

Also, what is the difference between a hit and a visit? It sounds like the same thing to me.

It took me exactly 3 seconds to find this on a search engine:

hit:

(1) Also called a page hit. The retrieval of any item, like a page or a graphic, from a Web server. For example, when a visitor calls up a Web page with four graphics, that's five hits, one for the page and four for the graphics. For this reason, hits often aren't a good indication of Web traffic. Compare with page view.

visit:
When tracking the amount of traffic on a Web site, it refers to a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time. Software that tracks and counts Web site traffic can distinguish between visitors who only visit the site once and unique visitors who return to the site. Different from a site's hits or page views -- which are measured by the number of files that are requested from a site -- unique visitors are measured according to their unique IP addresses, which are like online fingerprints, and unique visitors are counted only once no matter how many times they visit the site. There are some ISPs that use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, such as AOL and cable modem providers, which use different IPs for every file requested, making one visitor look like many. In this case, a single IP address does not indicate a unique visitor.

You know, it wouldn't to look these things up for youself. Three seconds with a search engine.

Lastly, I'm assuming the numbers you gave us are all yours.

Why would you assume otherwise?

Do you have numbers for all of KS so we can compare and better understand what you're talking about.

What the numbers are for keenspace has nothing to do with the current topic of bandwidth theft. You don't even know what the difference is between a hit and a visit is. I really doubt giving you any more stats would help you out, I get the impression you don't really understand much about the web, and giving you more numbers you don't understand would just confuse you.

Error with .htaccess

(Anonymous)

2003-05-03 04:10 pm (UTC)

No dice. The KeenSpace server will not allow me to upload .htaccess for some reason.

What error is it giving you when you try to upload? Most public-type webservers are set to hide the file as soon as its uploaded so you can't change it once its on the server, but it is still there, and in effect.

-dil

Re: Error with .htaccess

nrgspoon

2003-05-03 11:04 pm (UTC)

My home webspace doesn't allow this either. It's likely an option the server has set to prevent uploading files with no filename. (htaccess would be the extension)

Re: Error with .htaccess (Anonymous) Expand

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